I can still pick her up. She is tall and willowy and almost nine. But I can still carry her.
And that’s why I’m here. To carry her.
She keeps getting picked on at school. So sometimes I carry her backpack from the classroom to the car for her.
She is sleepy because she’s staying up reading in bed too late at night, so I offer a piggy-back from her bed to the bathroom to brush her teeth in the morning. I carry her.
And when she’s sad, and she is sad quite a bit lately, I pick her up with her skinny little legs wrapped around my waist and her bony arms around my neck. I carry her and I’m tall so I can walk around the house like this for a minute until I find a sofa for us both to settle into.
And then I hold her.
Should she walk on her own to the bathroom for her teeth? Absolutely. Should she pull her own backpack? She usually does. Should I indulge her by carrying her once in awhile at nine years old? But is it even indulging when she simply needs a safe
place to land?
A safe place to be. A safe place to know that she is in the middle of those who love her. She needs a safe place to hear her mother’s heart for her and that we in this home are FOR her. That we will fight for her.
She needs to know that she matters more than the rest of it. More than the boys who bug her at school, more than the crazy feelings in her head, more than the difficulty of being nine. More than her frustration. She matters more than all of it.
And we parents, when did we become grown up enough to be in charge of any of this? Sometimes we need a safe place too.
But maybe we are too busy doing all of the things we need to do to carry a family, we forget to be carried ourselves. We forget that sometimes we break, sometimes we really can’t do it all.
And we try. We stay up all the hours it takes to make that deadline, to plan the event, to do the dishes and put all the toys where they go, only to be dragged out again and again.
And then once in awhile we really can’t push forward. It’s not bullies at school at our age, but it is life pressures, marriage pressures, relationship pressures, and professional pressures that put us from time to time in that place where our feet don’t move.
Sometimes we all need a safe place. We need to be carried.
I’ve found myself at a place in the last few months when I’ve needed to be carried, and when I’m finally there, I realize what a hard place that is. It’s humbling, it’s painful, and it’s true.
Sometimes I need someone to say, “Stand up for yourself,” and “You can do this; you have this.”
But sometimes I need someone to gently lift me and carry me because there is nothing left.
Let us be a people who are carriers of one another. Let us look with intention around us to find those who need to be lifted and held rather than scolded, and then Lord give us the strength to carry. And when it is we who need to be carried, let us have those around us who can do it.
When she was little, long before she grew limbs long and strong, she raised chubby arms to me and said, “Hold you, Mama?”
She meant, “Hold ME.” She wanted to be held, but she couldn’t form the thought right. Maybe we can be those Hold You types, the ones who carry others even when they can’t find the words.
Will you carry me? Can we carry one another? Because I don’t know a better way to live this life than this.