Mary Beth and Cathy are our two daughters: Snow White and Rose Red, the blonde and the brunette, the mellow girl with the clever wisecracks and the firebrand with flashing eyes and dramatic passion.
No matter how old they get, they will always be our little girls in our hearts. Two photos of them will stay forever in mind: Mary Beth, first born child, a round-faced toddler with an aurora of short sunny blonde hair framing her sweet smile. Cathy of the abundant, rich brown cork-screw curls gazing up, cute as a button, at Santa Claus.
Both girls went through surgery this Summer; Cathy has gone through two and Mary Beth one. Both have had to be patient with pain and recuperation. Mary still has more treatment ahead of her for many, many months.
It's been hard during this time of surgery to not live closer. Neither lives in town any more. Mary is a half hour away in South Wales. Cathy lives in Whitney Point, about three hours away. Both have husbands and children of their own. In this day of crazy schedules and busy lives, it's not easy to physically get together; families rely on phones, email, texts, and Facebook.
The hardest thing for me about being a parent is watching your children go through physical and emotional trials that you haven't gone through, and feeling helpless to alleviate the pain, helpless to even help them except to stand with them. It begins with small things, little hurts. But by the time they're older, they've been through a world of hurt, a world of relationships that are like yours in some ways and in other ways are different..
Just like we parents go through trials that our children can't comprehend, sometimes, until they are older.
It's hard to spiritually choose to put your children in a set of Hands far more capable than your own, to trust that God knows how and why people suffer. To trust that "He made us; we belong to Him." To cry over your child's pain and pray that she will be a wiser, stronger, more compassionate adult because of what she has suffered and is suffering, because that is the only good that can come from pain.
If we listen, we can hear God whisper "She was my little daughter first. Of course I love her!"
Mary C. Weisenburger