The other day I was dropping the twins off at the bus stop like I do four days a week on my way to work and Maggie said before getting out of the car, "Mommy, I'm glad you and Daddy have jobs and all, but sometimes it's hard when all the other parents are at the bus stop and you're not there."
Okay, I know the working mom's out there just did a collective sigh in sympathy for me while I try to dislodge the knife from my heart. Mind you I leave the bus stop approximately 5 minutes before their bus comes (and yes they are very well attended with the most parents per capita of any bus stop I've ever heard of, let alone seen). Plus, on Mondays when I'm off and I wait at the bus stop until the bus actually picks them up and drives away, they don't stand anywhere near me or talk to me - they go off with their friends and only give me a hug (or in Ryan's case, a quick shoulder bump) right as the bus pulls up.
Watch. I'll arrange to get to work a few minutes late and wait at the bus stop with them and by March they'll be telling me to go to work already, because they aren't babies anymore and I'm embarrassing them at the bus stop.
Or maybe not. Because they are still pretty young, and unlike a lot of kids at their school, not so eager to speed up the aging process. A rare virtue for which I am extremely grateful.
So this has had me thinking. If Maggie wants me there even though she never talks much to me when I am, there must be something about my visible presence that she finds deeply comforting. Especially when the effects of my absence are heightened by the physical presence of so many other parents. She sees the other Mom's (and Dad's) many of whom also work outside the home, but apparently have really flexible schedules, waiting around with their kids.
I know this is something that causes her to struggle in her faith, too. She can't see God or touch Him or hear Him audibly and there are so many other adults around who she can see and hear. How can she possibly experience God's presence when there are so few tangible signs of Him?
How can she know He's there and more aware of every single thing she is doing than all the parents combined who are having their morning coffee together on a corner? How do I assure her she is never alone, even when I'm not there? That she is always thought of, even when I'm not doing it? That she is always completely in her heavenly Father's care whether her mother is close by or somewhere else?
And so far my only conclusion is that I won't be able to assure her of this at all. So I'll pray that the Father does it Himself. And trust that He will give her a stronger faith that helps her see and hear and know and understand how high and how deep and how long is His love for her. And by His grace, I hope she'll know how much I love her too.