Monday’s article reminded me of my first plane trip with my oldest daughter. She was nine months old and I was a blissfully naive new mommy. We were flying from Virginia to Montana to see my family.
I was so excited to get there that I booked the earliest flight they had (mistake number one). This meant that I had the baby up, fed, bathed, in her cutest outfit, with a bow in her hair by 5:30 a.m. I was enthusiastic and not in the least deterred by the early hour.
It was a little embarrassing when she had a complete blow out on the flight from Virginia to Cincinnati where we had a short layover. But not even the sound of the passengers gagging was going to deflate my enthusiasm. Being the great new mom that I was, I pulled out her one extra outfit (mistake number two) that I had packed and she was once again smelling good and looking darling.
As we were landing, I noticed my sweet baby was looking kind of green. About five seconds before the wheels hit the ground, she threw up all over me. I hadn’t packed any clean clothes for myself (mistake number three) and didn’t have anything else for her to wear. The smell was awful. People were gagging for real this time. I still had a short layover and a six-hour flight to go.
I am no longer smiling. We ran through the airport and tried to find clothes quickly before we had to get on another plane. I purchased a Cincinnati Reds T-shirt that was too big and put it on my beautiful baby. She looked pitiful.
She ended up with a stomach bug and cried or threw up the rest of the way. Our flights were delayed, my baby was sick, and I was exhausted. At this point I was close to tears.
I had envisioned walking off of the plane with my beautifully dressed baby and showing her off to family and friends. Instead we landed after midnight, and I walked off the plane, handed the baby to my mom, went to their house and crashed.
What I learned from this experience and many other parenting experiences just like it has taught me one valuable lesson.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is endure.
Now, that might seem passive and wimpy, but there have been many times in my life when the strongest thing I can do is endure.
By endure I mean take a deep breath, pull from an inner strength, and calmly respond to my child and everyone else around me. By endure I mean slowly and steadily do the next right thing. By endure I mean quit worrying about what everyone else is thinking and just do what I can to care for those I love the most.
When I say endure I mean remember that I’m not alone. In the hardest times, God is with me. He’s with you. He’ll give you the strength that you need. He holds us in His hand.
Do not fear, for I am with you; . . . I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my right hand, (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
As a parent, you are so much stronger than you know. And there will be times when you will need that great inner strength to get your whole family through a tough time. Little adventures like plane trips are just opportunities for you to exercise your much needed muscle of endurance.
When you’re tired, sad, sick, brokenhearted, embarrassed and ready to give up, blow up, or walk away, just take a deep breath and endure.
You’re not alone and your faithfulness to do the next right thing is building the strength that you need for tomorrow.