“Didn’t you miss me just a little, teeny, tiny bit?” I asked Micah when he first woke up. “Nope,” he replied, “I was having too much fun.” “Just a little?!?!?” I tried consoling myself that this was good. Clearly he wasn’t miserable that I was gone for 3 days. Clearly he had a good time with grandma and Aunt Kathy, but seriously, can’t you miss me just a tad.
Well, I missed the boys. I was away for 3 days at the Prevent Child Abuse – America national conference and can’t even remember the last time I was away, not even for a day, much less three. It was the first time for Seth who is almost 18 months, so he had quite a lot to say about it in his body language. Noah, however, gave me the sweetest tightest hug when I woke him up in the morning after returning home late Sunday night.
I confess, it was nice to have some time away – without noise, without 68 pounds of deadweight in the bed beside me, without the demands of feeding hungry mouths or giving baths or getting them to bed “on time.” I also had a visceral reaction to seeing families in the airport carrying babies in front packs and remember getting back from Disney World last year and being so thankful not to have the weight of a baby constantly strapped to my body almost 24/7.
But I missed them and I missed having a physical presence in their day and knowing what they were doing. It’s not the same to listen to them on the phone (the 6 year old doesn’t really want to talk, the 3 year old just repeats himself, and the one-yr-old just stares at the phone). I missed sharing in all their activities and joys (like winning the soccer game again – still undefeated!). I missed interpreting their world for them as they moved through it. I missed being their voice.
I’ve been contemplating that concept today – being a voice. My kids clearly have a “voice” but they really don’t know how, much less when, to use it. And often they use it at decibels I wish they wouldn’t or to talk about subjects I really wish they wouldn’t. But they don’t really have a voice in their world and in their community. For the most part, that is funneled through me – their mother and protector.
Yet, as I think about the project I am working on – to develop a crisis nursery (a safe place for temporary care of young children when their families hit crisis) – I realize that the real reason we need this is because the very little children in our world and in our city do not have a voice.
My safe, secure, fun-loving boys do not have a voice….and so too the child who has been hurt at some time in his life or has seen one of his parents hurt. And the child laying in the hospital bed being treated for multiple injuries has no voice. And the little boy hungry and dirty and cold….alone in his house…. has no voice. And the teen “graduating” from the foster care system and moving into a world all on her own where she might one day get married and have no one to walk her down the aisle has no voice. And the four-year-old who has moved from one house to another and one apartment to another until he ends up in a cold dark homeless shelter has no voice. And the girl taken from her family and ravaged by the human trafficking nightmare that is upon us has no voice.
It is we who give voice to our children. It is we who need to speak up and speak out for them. It is we who need to demand a change for the sake of our children’s hearts.
Be the voice. Be the change. As often as you can speak.