One of my kids had surgery recently. It wasn’t what is categorized as major surgery. It was done in an outpatient surgical center. The whole procedure from check in to wake up took less than two hours. Door to door in less than three hours. A nice dinner out with friends can last that long. Or a bike ride. Or a walk in the woods. Or a movie. Here’s the thing though: That three hours was a looooong, panic-inducing, nail biting, cold sweats, please God don’t hurt my baby year-long come to Jesus moment. For me.
When it’s your kid, there’s no such thing as ‘minor’. I know kids are devastated that their schools are closed, that their graduations are all but cancelled, that prom is a distant promise, and final sports’ seasons are put on hold. Weddings are being postponed and downsized. Kids who’ve finally gotten into a groove are being derailed. Plans big and small are changing. And in the whole big picture of life, these things are small. They’ll either be forgotten or incorporated into life stories. Kids will build resilience. Families will cope. Lives will move on. But for today, for our kids, these are big. They are life events. Our kids are learning the hard lesson that we can’t always control what happens. We can do all of the right things and still have everything fall apart. And we’ll be ok. And we’ll learn to adjust our expectations and make things work.
When it’s your kid, you want things to work out. You want the success, the win, the wonderful night, the perfect wedding. You want happiness, love, and joy for them. We all do. But I’ve also always wanted failure and sorrow for my kids, enough so that they appreciate the good, the successes, and they empathize with those who struggle, those whose lives are less simple. Our kids are learning some tough lessons right now. They’re learning to handle disappointment, to put things into perspective, and to think of others before themselves. Big lessons, not minor. Because there’s no such thing as ‘minor’ when it’s your kid.