If you ask my dad, he’ll tell you my little sister had three parents: himself, our mom…and me. Catherine was born when I was almost six years old and, although I was still very young, I took great responsibility for her. I remember changing her diapers, rocking her, and carrying her through our house. I also remember slipping on our hardwood floors in my sock feet and cradling her on my chest as I fell backwards to keep her from touching the ground. She says, “You nearly dropped me.” I say, “But I protected you.”
Catherine is 21 now, and I’m still protecting her…when I can. A junior in college, she’s had her share of boy troubles (which I advised her against), credit card troubles (which I lectured her about), and friend troubles (in which I always take her side). She’s incredibly mature and has her head on much, much straighter than I did at her age; I spent most of my junior year waiting around for some lame boy who obviously didn’t like me to call me back.
But it’s still hard, watching her make her own mistakes and suffer her own heartaches – I can only imagine how many times this will be multiplied when I’m a mother. I want to save her, and God, if worrying and lecturing could save her, she’d be completely unscathed. But she, like us all, has to do it on her own. Because sometimes the only way to learn is to fall flat on your face and let God pick you up and tell you He still thinks you’re the best thing going.
I won’t always be able to cradle her on my chest as we plummet, but I know Someone who will.