Parenting Through Trembling Lips

A lot of parents worry about their kids.  Worry comes with the job description.  But, honestly, I haven’t consistently worried about my kids in quite a while.  Both are old enough to express their wants and needs to me, both have been doing really well in school and at home recently, and family life has seemed easy for the past few months.

But this week, parenting has defeated me and I have lived in a world of worry over my kids.  I find myself stopping to pray for them all day long, anytime the worry creeps in, I try to remember to turn it over in prayer: “Lord, bless my children.  Keep them happy and healthy and safe.  Show me how to parent them.”  But this week, those prayers have been more along the lines of, “Father, what do I do now?”

Last week after Michael was punched in the face, Chris and I originally said that we either wanted the other child removed from the class or Bean removed.  But that night as we talked more about it, we came to realize that we really wanted Bean moved.  We have not been happy with his class for a while, and this was just the thing that pushed us over the edge.  I met last Friday with the director of the daycare and told her that we would like Michael moved over to the other pre-k class.  She was hesitant, but not argumentative.  And I insisted because, as Chris put it, “Are we going to wait until he gets pushed off the top of the playground equipment?”


The director gave us the option of doing a transition week, where Bean would spend mornings with his old class and afternoons with his new class.  But Bean has some trouble with things like that, and so we said we would rather just jump right in to the new class this week instead.  So, Monday morning, Bean headed bravely into his new class.

Now, Michael is my tried, true, brave little guy.  He is flexible and easy going, which makes him adapt to change relatively quickly.  But even with all the preparation in the world, even the bravest kid is going to have a hard time in a new classroom on the first day.  And Michael was no exception.  His teachers said he cried for a little bit that morning, and then spent much of the day hanging off to the sides and not wanting to go play with anyone.  He was very interested in what was going on, but didn’t want to run up to new friends just yet.  He was very observant, and seemed to enjoy watching for a while.  All things considered, I though that was a pretty successful good day.

But when we got home, things were a little different.  At first, whenever we asked him about his day, he would just recite back all the things we’d pepped him up with this weekend: “There are lots of fun games and the kids are very nice,” kind of thing.  But I could tell that he wasn’t feeling as positive as he sounded.  Later that night, when things quieted down a bit, I asked him how his day had been.  He got these huge crocodile tears in his eyes and that sweet bottom lip started to tremble.

“It was really not a good day,” he whispered to me.


There are no words to describe what it feels like to see your baby struggle through something.  It does more than just break my heart.  It breaks my heart and then reaches down into that deep part of my soul where peace resides.  As a mother – as HIS mother – I want to take all of that away from him.  I’d do anything in this world to keep that little lip from trembling.  But we all say that, don’t we?  That’s the easiest line of motherhood to utter.

The part that creates the challenge is when WE are the ones forcing them to go through a situation that makes their lips tremble.  I know it is the right thing for him to be in a different class.  And I know that in a week or two, this will seem like a small little blip of an adjustment period.  But in this moment, with that lip trembling, I want to say, “Just put him back!  Let’s not do this to him!  Let’s just go back to the way it was!”

And therein lies the greatest challenge of parenthood I’ve faced thus far.  To hold my baby while he cries, knowing that there is a solution, but choosing, in his best interest, not to act upon it.

Tonight, after Chris and I showered Bean Man with encouragement and love and kisses, I sat quietly in my office for a while, and I prayed a new prayer.

Lord God, you sent your only Son into this world knowing he would die for others.  Deliberately putting him in harms way.  How great is your love for me, but how greatly your heart must have broken.  Keep breaking my heart for my children, Lord.  Guide my steps as I guide theirs.”

I find so much joy in my children.  True, lasting joy that echoes through the chambers of my heart and deep into the center of who I am.  Their joy radiates out of me.  But the price of that kind of joy – the true cost of parenting – is the breaking of our hearts, piece by piece by piece.

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22 Thoughts to “Parenting Through Trembling Lips”

  1. God Bless You, Katie, and may He continue to bless your family. Beanman – and all of you – will be in my thoughts and prayers this week!

  2. Amber K

    This post resonates so loudly with me right now. While my “baby” is almost *gasp* 14, the last few days he has had to go through some extremely tough situations for anyone at any age, and I have wanted so badly to wrap him up like a mama bear and protect him from it all. However, I know that he will come out at the end of this with clarity, strength, and wisdom. Until that time comes and as difficult as it may be, I will remember this post and your prayer and use them to guide us all down this road. Thank you.

  3. JenniferLO

    WOW! What a beautiful post! A well-written reminder that the things we do for our kids is for their good, whether we enjoy going through it or not! Keep praying. Keep fighting for your kids and family!

  4. No profound words of advice. Just know I understand and I sympathize.

  5. Tabs

    Wow, you about brought me to tears. Keep up the (hard but) good work mama!!

  6. Cassie A

    This moved me to tears. beautifully written. Your children are so blessed to have you as a mama.

  7. Jenna

    Oh goodness, I’m trying to type through the tears. You summed up so many of my feelings, and my guy isn’t even two yet! I can see the challenges and blessings that lie ahead. Saying a prayer for you all!

  8. HeatherM

    Praying that you, Chris, and Bean all find peace and comfort as you make these decisions that are hard, but that you know to be the right decision.

  9. Catherine

    As I only have a child on the way, I haven’t experienced this firsthand, but can imagine how heart wrenching it is. Saying prayers for better days ahead for Bean and strength for all of you.

  10. nez

    I feel the pain inside. May God show you the way. Bean Man is brave.

  11. Maureen

    My oldest “baby” is almost 21 and I am up really early this morning worrying about him because he is struggling through a tough situation. I loved this post and I am fighting back the tears.

  12. Maren

    Well said, as always.
    At every new stage, my heart breaks. It breaks as it’s filled with joy at the new.

  13. Suzanne

    Oh Katie, this breaks my heart but I know that you guys are choosing what is best for Bean. I remember that feeling of being the “new kid” and it’s not fun. I just know that he’ll make new friends soon since he seems to be such a sweet little dude. This post really resonates with me this morning because my daughter will be starting daycare on April 1st after being either home with me or with my Mom for the first almost 5 months of her life. While I know that it will be fine and eventually she’ll adjust and love daycare, it is absolutely breaking my heart. I want to be home with her or at the very least I want her grandmother to be able to watch her. I know that in the long run it will be best but the thought of her being with strangers (she’s already having stranger anxiety) breaks my heart. Well, I better stop writing because I’m starting to tear up again. I’ll be praying that Bean man adjusts quickly and makes new friends soon. Parenting is hard man! Thank God he hears our prayers.

  14. Rachel

    Thank you for this post. I needed it right now. I am going to keep this as a reminder, and probably pray that same prayer you wrote at the end of your post. Beautiful.

  15. Oh, Katie! That breaks my heart just to read that! Landon starts kindergarten soon and I have been trying to prepare myself for my son having issues with the transition. I feel like I will just fall apart if he has any trouble at all. But I know I have to be strong for him while he goes through this.

    I hope Bean’s days get better!

  16. donna

    Ohmygoodness…..I can relate! My daughter is in her kindergarten year and she has generally settled in well. But we had a few sticky points at the beginning of summer camp this past summer. I know, “Summer camp!”, right? It was a big deal to all of us because it is held at the school she attends now, and we wanted to use this 5 week summer camp as an opportunity for her to a) get used to the bus and b) attend a full-length day after last year’s 2 hours a day/3 days a week pre-K. On three separate occasions, we received feedback that the bus ride/day/field trip went well, only for me to go in after her nightly daddy-bedtime-routine to tuck her in one last time, to find her quietly crying in the dark and saying ‘I have to tell you something’. Let me tell you, to be blindsided at 9pm at night by your child crying in the dark is beyond heart-breaking. And it leaves you feeling utterly incapable of fixing it. You know it’s something that might/probably will happen, but it’s an entirely different ball of wax to have it happen. I would find myself cuddling her and speaking quietly to her, trying to console her and at the same time convince her (and myself) that something wouldn’t happen tomorrow, when I didn’t know if that was the truth or not. I would then do the only thing that I could do: pray, and put it into God’s hands.

    Whew, I am glad now that she had those challenges over the summer because it really did help with the transition to bus riding, full time status this year. But it’s a hard thing to go through while you’re going through it!

  17. Lindsay

    OH KATIE! I’m bawling my eyes out over here. Beautifully written and so true.

  18. “…the price of that kind of joy – the true cost of parenting – is the breaking of our hearts, piece by piece by piece.” Yes. Bean will be fine but you will never forget.

  19. Maggie

    WOW! So deep and insightful. I look up to you as a woman of Christ.

  20. Corinn

    I just cried and cried when I read this. Bean is the same age as my oldest and I have “known” you since we were both pregnant. I hate that he’s hurting. Praying for him and you. Hugs.

  21. Christy

    No wise words here. Been there, though, and I appreciate a real post from a real mom dealing with real challenges. And thank you for expressing those feelings so well.

  22. […] week, Bean moved over to his new preschool class. It was not without some sadness and tears, let me tell you. But Chris and I did the best we could to support Bean as he transitioned. We […]

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