The school holidays started off pretty badly for us. I’m juggling several commitments/projects at the moment. The hubs is sick. Daryl is teething his molars. David, thankfully, is perfectly healthy and well. It’s easy to say “just focus on family for now”, but the reality is, I care very much about the different things I am juggling, and I honestly feel that each is an integral part of this season of our lives. But I didn’t like the Mum I was on Monday morning – I was mean and snappish, I shouted way too much at the boys, I didn’t play with them or read as much to them as I should have, I burst into tears a couple of times, and I was consumed by mummy guilt all. day. long.
As the younger generation would call it, it was a cray cray day.
By nap time, I was almost at the end of my rope. The final straw for me was when David refused to lie down to sleep and kept trying to climb onto Daryl’s bed and play with him. Something in me snapped and I lost it. He was stunned by my outburst and burst into tears, but in my fury, I hardened my heart and just let him cry.
He cried and cried. Unconsolable. And my heart broke.
I wanted to say I was sorry. I wanted to hug him and never let him go. I wanted to take back everything I had said in my anger. But for so long, I kept a stony face, a fierce silence. Finally I mustered up my strength and explained to him all the things that I was angry with him about, and told him I just didn’t feel like trusting him anymore because he kept telling me he would not do certain things and then he did it.
“How can I trust you David? How?! You tell me.”
“Mummy… I want you to trust me. Mummy… I want to be good.”
And that was it. Finally, the last piece of hardened heart wall broke and I dissolved into tears and pulled him in for a hug.
My darling boy. He really does want to be good. He’s just a little kid who’s ruled by his emotions, and tends to act before he thinks, as all little kids do. He’s wilful sometimes, yes, and can drive me up the wall, but he isn’t trying to make life difficult for me. It isn’t personal like that.
Sometimes I forget these things. That on days like these, I am not in a war against my children. I am not fighting to keep them in their place. No, we are on the same side.
A little more patience, a little more gentleness. A little more grace, a little more forgiveness. A coming alongside to guide and coach and cheer and wait, not dictating from the sidelines or heaping up expectations on their plates. Growing up is never easy, but it should never be done alone. I don’t just want to be there for you, I want to be there with you.
On Tuesday, I was still tired. And we were going to the zoo with friends. But I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose, reminded that, at the end of the day, my relationship with my family is still more important than all the projects in the world. I remembered to focus on one thing at a time, and to be fully present. Play time is play time, work time is work time. For a while, I think I had forgotten that, and tried to do everything all at the same time – not a good idea.
I’m thankful that today was a really good day. We enjoyed each other so, so much. We cuddled and laughed and read and sang and marched and painted and baked and danced. And I got a fair chunk of work done during their nap and TV time too.
One bad day doesn’t make a bad life, neither does a good day make a good one. Every day is as unpredictable as the weather, really. But the main thing is to remember that we are in this together, this thing called “life”, and we are on the same side.
Best of all, He’s on our side.
“If the LORD had not been on our side
– let Israel say –
if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us,
they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us, t
he raging waters would have swept us away.
Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”
This is my #37 post for One Little Word.