I hate going to the doctor’s office. Even when the appointment isn’t for myself, the whole process makes me nervous. Right when I enter the waiting room and approach that annoying sliding glass window, my heart begins to race, my hands sweat, and my throat feels dry. I blame this on my dad. Growing up, I rarely had to go “in” to see the doctor. My dad brought the doctor’s office straight to my living room. When I did have to go in, I still hated it, but my relationship with my doctor (Daddy) allowed me to vocalize all of my fears. (And vocalize I did! My dad always said I was the worst patient ever. I still take that as a wonderful compliment. A “good” patient is someone who sits back and doesn’t ask questions and just blindly trusts. I’m afraid I will never be a “good” patient.)
The main reason I hate going to the doctor is the total lack of control I feel. By nature, I am mistrustful of strangers and hate to be prodded and poked by them, but more than anything I hate to feel out of control. Zephy clearly takes after his mommy in this regard. Yesterday was his 15 month check-up and from the moment he saw someone in a lab coat, he acted like a caged animal. Any of you with small children know how emotionally draining these appointments tend to be. You wait much too long in a crowded waiting room praying that your child doesn’t contract anything from the tired, germy toys…or the tired, germy kids coughing in your direction. You feel hopeful that it will all be over quickly when the nurse brings you back to a room and tells you to “strip him down to all but his diaper”. But prior experience will remind you that you could be in this freezing patient room for hours before the ordeal is finally over.
True to form, we sat in our freezing patient room for exactly 100 minutes from start to finish. I had talked to Zeph about the three pictures on the walls ad nauseum. I had performed every finger-play I knew at least three times. I had bounced, snuggled, kissed, and comforted my scared toddler until I was at the end of my rope. Finally, the nurse came in to perform the coup de grâce so we could end this miserable experience.
Now, as a mother of two I am not new to this whole mom thing. I have pinned down my share of screaming, writhing children to numerous exam tables for myriads of immunizations and procedures. I consider myself pretty tough and pragmatic when it comes to hearing my kiddos scream, so I’m not sure why today was different. Perhaps it was because of all the stress leading up to this moment, or the fact that my dad is having to endure so many invasive medical procedures, or maybe it’s because my locus of control is being challenged on all fronts, whatever the reason…this time I lost it. As I held Zephan in my arms speaking words of encouragement and pleading with him to be brave, my tears began to pool. He gave me that look. You know the one; the look of shock that turns to pain and then angry betrayal. The one that makes you feel like a total Judas Iscariot.
As the nurse repeatedly stabbed Zeph’s pudgy little arms with shot after shot, I had to bite my lip to stifle my cries. I wanted to scream, Stop it, stop stabbing him! Give me the shots instead. I would have gladly taken on his pain if I could. I wanted to say, Sweet Zephy, Mommy is doing this for your own good. I know you don’t understand any of this, but you have to trust me. I love you and I’m putting you through this pain now to protect you from pain and death later. And then it hit me. The realization that my Heavenly Father is holding me to His chest, writhing and screaming, as I flash him that same look. The realization that He is telling me, I love you and I know you don’t understand any of this but you have to trust Me. The realization that, as a parent, He too grieves when His children suffer. The realization that He watched His own son be crucified in order that I would be protected from pain and death later. The realization that although I am not in control, He is. The realization that I am loved.