As a Momma I have discovered that there are elements of parenting that can be likened to war.
There are daily challenges to be met, obstacles to overcome, and bullets to dodge.
As parents we are driven to make sure our entire unit, our family, makes it through the daily battles in one piece.
There are seasons of life that are more challenging than others as we work to make sure “No man gets left behind.”
This requires us to make hard decisions daily as we work to make sure everyone is being protected and directed toward the safety found on the other side of the combat zone.
To be blunt:
Parenting requires a certain degree of battlefield triage.
Triage (/ˈtriːɑːʒ/ or /triːˈɑːʒ/) is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately.
Like a medic working his way through a sea of fallen soldiers, we as parents are constantly scanning and assessing. We know that the reality of parenting is that all needs, of all family members, can’t be met at all times.
That is simply the truth of it.
So like a seasoned doctor we look for the most severe symptoms, the most dire situations and put our energy and resources into treating the most life threatening cases. The gushing head wound takes priority over the sprained ankle. That is not to say you don’t care about the sprain, or that you don’t worry about the sprain…You just can’t focus on the sprain today.
As we have opened our home to our two adoption treasures I have found myself focused on the dire case that lays before me. There are two fallen fighters that lay before me with so many gushing wounds in need of cauterization that my parenting focus has been heavily focused on those two little boys.
I continue to lift my head, scan, assess and rush over to the others when I see hurts that need bandaged, but the majority of my time and resources have been rationed out to the most pressing needs- Ozzie and Tyler.
I thought I had effectively triaged the day when I discovered I had blindly missed one child’s injury. At 9:00 at night this sweet girl approached me and revealed a gushing flesh wound…
It was Miss Molly.
Molly is my tender heart. She is a caretaker by nature and has been blessed with a servant’s heart. She is always looking to lift, encourage, and bless others. She lives to lighten another’s load and fears burdening or hurting others. She is my worker. She never has to be asked…she simply does. She sees a need and meets that need. She never asks for accolades in return. She can be selfless to the point of her own personal detriment… as I discovered last evening.
I took one look at her and saw the struggle in her eyes. She needed to talk but hated to burden. Her heart was hurting but she didn’t want to add one more worry to my plate. It was nothing big, just a pile of small hurts and worries that had grown into a big hurt. Molly stood before me, with her heart hurting, and told me that she didn’t want to say anything because she knew I had already had a hard day.
My heart broke.
And the guilt came crashing over me.
I thought everyone’s condition was stable. I hadn’t even noticed the pool of blood.
We all have those children who we spend more time mending than others. (Sometimes because of injuries inflicted upon them, and sometimes because of self-inflicted wounds.) I have a few “soldiers” that I find myself treating and retreating because they continue to tear open the same wound that I keep restitching. Then there are those children who hold a tissue to a pulsing aortic cut because they don’t want to be a burden. All while we, as Heavenly Father’s medics, try to keep everyone alive and fighting, in this battle we call mortal life.
It is hard. It is mentally draining. It is a guilt-ridden, often discouraging mission. There are so many needs and so little we feel we have to give. This is when we must turn to the Master Doctor, the one who gives life, the one who heals hurts…The Ultimate Physician…and ask for help.
Ask Him to help us see the hidden wounds and the internal bleeding.
Ask Him to help us be patient with the ones who continue to tear off their bandages.
Ask him to perform a miracle, like the loaves and fishes, and multiply our offering…
to take our minutes and multiply their effect,
to take our patience and double it with His own,
to take our scant talents and limited resources and turn them into enough.
Our place as parents is on the battlefield
and part of war is triage,
but we are promised that if we listen to the guidance of the Head Physician,
we can lift the fallen and be sure that no man is left behind.