Out of my three children, I clash the most with my oldest. He’s sensitive, emotional, strong willed, determined, and always right. Oh and how I love him.
The last two days have been crazy. Late nights, early mornings, plane rides, cousins, special lunches and nothing that resembles normal life. He’s a little off track and thus bringing out his personality ten fold. Today we stood at opposite sides of every issue and had words regarding everything.
Tonight at bedtime what I just really needed was him sleeping. I needed to be done with him today. I was frustrated and hurt by him. I was tired of fighting with him. I was done.
Then laying down is when we had the conversation about hurting each other. We talked about why we were frustrated with one another. How we could love each other better the next day. We talked about what I said that hurt him and what he said that hurt me. There was forgiveness and awareness that not every day is a great day, but we still love one another in the end.
It was amazing to have this very adult conversation with my 5yr old child. I kept thinking about how often I don’t do this with my kids. I just yell, or I get mad and/or frustrated. I tell him I want him to behave different but I don’t tell him why. It’s amazing how communicating the why changes the situation. It just wasn’t mom being mad at him anymore. It was feeling like her son didn’t trust her to tell him the truth. That my son wouldn’t question me on everything I say and challenge my integrity. There was honesty behind the frustration and not just unknown or unspoken feelings. He didn’t have to assume or guess what he did or what was wrong and come to the wrong conclusion. We had this great moment together.
Then he started crying. He was sad. He was scared. He missed dad. There were monsters. Etc. I couldn’t tell what was real and what was just an excuse. I was still done though. I needed this to end. It was a long day, and even though we had our moment, I needed my kids sleeping and I needed a break. I knew he was over tired and couldn’t find control of himself. I wanted to consol him, but mainly I just wanted him to stop. I was growing frustrated by the moment. I told him God was bigger than any monsters and he didn’t need to be scared. I told him he would be fine. I said it in a very frustrated, “I think you’re being childish” kind of way. I communicated all of my frustration in my non-verbal’s. He got my message and he was still very sad.
As I walked into the living room and I could still hear my son crying, I thought to myself; “What kind of parent am I being right now? When my son looks back on this evening will he remember a mother who comforted him when he was truly scared, or a mother who was disappointed that he wasn’t tougher? That he didn’t have enough faith to believe that God could take away the monsters? Where was the mother who was supposed to comfort you when monsters seemed so real? When you hadn’t seen your dad in weeks and you truly, deeply missed him? That mother wasn’t there. I was just annoyed, ticked off, and wanting my kids to stop needing me for a little bit.
I downed a swig of wine. I was ashamed of my behavior and I deeply prayed that God would help me be the person I dreamed of being. The person I challenge others to be. I then had peace. I went back into the room. I sat on the side of my son’s bed. His face was wet with tears as he laid in a bed that was not his own, in a room that he isn’t used to, in a place he has only been a few times. I started to play with his hair and I prayed over him. I had peace and felt like I couldn’t offer him myself, but I could help usher God into that place. So I sat and I prayed. When I was done praying, I sang to him. When I was done singing, I continued to play with his hair. (its very soothing to me. The stress leaving your head as your hair is pulled so slightly away from your scalp. My favorite thing my mother has ever done for me hands down.) He was calm when I left. His face was peaceful, and I knew that it was the right choice to go back.
I’m not sure if I got played. (I’m sure I did a little.) But when push comes to shove, I want my kids to know that at the end of the day, when they are scared and really tired and have no control over themselves, I will lift up in prayer. I will give them over to the one who can help them when I can’t. That if they can't trust me, they can trust in God's presence in their life.
I get that on paper, this sounds very spiritual and that I have my act together. The truth is, I don’t. I struggle with almost all my decisions. I pray hard and try to be the person God knows I can be. I fail more times than I succeed. My kid has woken up at least two more times since starting this blog, and my peace has gone. I am back to being frustrated and still trying to be the mom I want to be. No one is perfect. Most of the time I need a do over minutes after I’ve acted. We’re all a work in progress right?
Now for the rest of that wine.