Over the past two weeks as I stood next to my tiny grandson in NICU and gazed into his eyes, I remembered another baby, another little boy so long ago and yet it seems like yesterday. A baby that I cuddled and rocked as I softly sang him lullabies and prayed. He would gaze steadily into my eyes and wrap his tiny fingers around mine.
He was the boy who would find comfort by climbing into my lap and resting his head on my shoulder. My hugs and kisses were magical once upon a time, conquering every problem, hurt and fear but little boys grow up into men with problems that can't be cured by a kiss and a hug.
I prayed for my grandson, knowing that kisses and hugs were not enough for him either. However, I immediately learned something that every grandparent learns in NICU. We not only hurt for our grandchild... we hurt for our child.
In all honesty, it is one of the most delicate of all situations. Your child has a raw and ugly wound and instinctively we want to fix it. We do dumb things like attempt to tell them "There, there... it will be all right". Truthfully, that is probably the last thing they need to hear at the moment when their tiny child is fighting for their life and can scarcely been seen through all of the tubes. They do not want platitudes... what they want is for you to simply be there.
Remember how things simply seemed "better" if your mom and/or dad were there? The situation might not have changed one single bit but when one or better yet both of them were there you felt safer and more secure. It was okay if you weren't big enough or strong enough because mom and dad were there. They were in your corner, they were your advocates, they would help you, you could count of them to be with you every step of the way. That's what parents do or at least, that is what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to "show up" and when they do, they are the first to arrive and the last to leave.
I couldn't "fix things" in NICU but there were things I could do. I could stand next to my son. I could pray and I could listen. I could lend him my shoulder to lean on or even cry on if need be. I could lend him my hands and feet, doing what he needed someone to do and going where he needed someone to go.
My son and his wife weren't looking for me to be a savior. There is only one Savior and that is Jesus Christ. Nor did they want pretty, fluffy little words dripping from my lips. My son wanted and needed me to simply show up and be there... just like I always have and when you think about it, isn't that really what being a parent is all about no matter how grown-up your child may be?
What a great story, a great lesson, and a difficult lesson. My children are young yet and there are times I have a difficult time helping them face their childhood and teenage struggles I can't imagine what you are going through as a mother and grandma, but you my friend are a true testimony if there ever has been one. Lots of prayers to you, your son, and his family. Thanks for sharing you heart with us!