1 11 2007

      I think children were specifically designed by God to distill our character.  I know mine have brought me to the breaking point several times today.  I snapped at one point and smacked Donal across the back of the head.  I was trying to put the couch cushions back on the couch for the thirteenth time. (Oh, the joys of toddlers!)  And I noticed some trash stuffed in the back crack.  I started pulling it out, and it’s cheese stick wrappers… and unopened cheese sticks spoiling, and a HALF-EATEN rotten cheese stick!  Eww!  Double EWWW!  And it was all over my hand!
       So I walked toward the kitchen breathing deeply and thinking of how I was going to correct him constructively and not yell and not damage his delicate psyche with abusive language.  And when I walk in the kitchen, he’s standing there guzzling water with his mouth on the tap of our water dispenser and bleeding on the rug.  I think I blew a spark plug in my brain or something, and when I came back to conciousness, it was too late.  I’d already smacked him.
       I remember when Donal was a chubby, affectionate baby and I felt so protective of him.  I cut the tags out of all his clothing, fed him organic baby food, bathed him in herbal shampoos and kept him fresh and clean.  I dressed him in cute little ducky pajamas and put Winnie-the-Pooh stickers on his bedroom wall and read him “Good Night Moon” so often I had it memorized.
        Now he stinks.  His feet stink, his hair stinks, his room stinks.  He tips his chair so much he ruined an entire suite of kitchen chairs.  He picks the paint off the walls, the scabs off his arms, and the icing off of unattended cakes.  He leaves his underclothing lying in my living room, stuffs his trash under my bed (or in the couch), slouches, acts surly to his friends and sasses his father.  He glares at me, occasionally says rude things about me behind my back, and just generally spends his week ASKING FOR IT. 
      I suppose I shouldn’t be so suprised that I occasionally lose my temper and GIVE IT TO HIM!
      And then on other occasions he is sweetly helpful, affectionate, spiritual, and large-hearted.  Sometimes he exceeds my expectations by so much I actually thank God for giving me the priveledge of raising such a son.  Other times I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom, burst into tears and cry aloud, “Why Lord?  Why?  What WERE you thinking?”
       I need to keep remembering that he’s only half grown.  He’s ten.  We have eight more years to try and civilize him before he can vote.  (Oh Lord!  I’m having chills at the thought…)  But seriously, it’s no wonder he doesn’t know, from one minute to the next, whether to be a blessing or a curse.  He’s half child, half grown.  He’s in-between everything, not really anything.  He’s half ape-man and half gentleman, half scholar and half brainless nose-picker, half Contender for Christ and half sister-annoying pest.
        And it is my grave and concientious duty to percieve those moments, those terrifying peaks and valleys, where one shove from me can push him one way or the other.  Do I praise or do I punish?  Do I discipline or do I forgive?  Do I teach him that rules are rules, or do I show mercy?  And how much?  Time out, fine, grounding, or whack on the back of the head?   Sometimes I feel like Hannibal trying to shove an elephant up the Himalayas. 
           And it doesn’t help that I’m only about half-baked myself.  God isn’t finished with me yet.  And he’s not done with Donal either.  Many times Neal and I have told him, “We’re only responsible for disciplining you while you’re young!  Just wait till you grow up.  Then you’ll have GOD after you.”
          Telling you not to whack your son on the back of the head.  Yes, Lord.  I hear you.




2 responses

1 11 2007

Today I have been wrestling with the fact that to my children, I am the judge. But the truth is, I don’t want to be the judge or empire or referee. I do not like settling disputes all day long and having to be the judge in the matter. Today I settled the umpteenth dispute by siding with the son, and the daughter breaks out in tears. I was so frustrated with being the 80 hour a week referee that when she began to object, I just ran down the stairs and then I put two shut doors between us. I fell on my face and begged God to help me do a job I am not qualified to do. I did not go to school to become a trained arbitrator or judge. How do I know whose side to choose this time? I put a third door between us (and went into my secret chamber, the bathroom) and tried to call you. Now I know why you didn’t answer! I got Brian on the phone, fortunately, and after a while I had the courage to open one, two, no three doors so that I could face them again with a smile. We talked and we cried and then we prayed, and then we all made up. The M&Ms helped, too. I can relate to your daily struggles.

2 11 2007
carolyn mejia

[gasp]; [giggle]; [sigh]; [relate}. 😀

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