“Boys, I bought new summer shirts for you. You can choose which one you’d like to wear to school today.”
There comes a time when their search for seasonal clothing isn’t about tidiness. Although it might be about laundry. Meh. That’s not what this post is about.
“Oh, I love these. Thank you, Mommy.”
“And look at mine! Angry Birds and Perry Platypus… dude! These are awesome!”
“What?! I didn’t get anything like that!”
“But you have skateboards and robots and drums on yours.”
“I don’t care! You know I like Angry Birds! You know that! Why did you buy me stupid shirts?”
Shouting, pouting tantrum.
Well, you ungrateful, entitled little snit.
“You may go to your room. You are very ungrateful, and that is not okay with me.”
“But you KNOW what I like!”
“And I did my best, young man. I had to buy what was in your size. There were no Angry Birds in your size. Upstairs. Go.”
I choose not to connect my children’s behavior to my identity or worth. (This is a daily choice.) As long as this attitude of unappreciation continues, I will withdraw the favors I do for you. There are certain things I am required to do, and those basic needs are met. So you can find your own breakfast in the pantry. Pack your own lunch. Gather your own backpack. I’ll meet you in the car.
There are moments in childhood when you realize you’ve pushed your mother too far, and the only way to reconcile this situation is to form a sibling team. In solidarity, they gathered themselves for the morning. They completed every task on their own. And not only did they meet me in the car, but we pulled out of the driveway ten minutes ahead of schedule.
There are moments in parenting when you realize you’ve been doing too much for your children. (Ding! Ding! Ding!) Turns out, I’ve been the one running around like a wild, crazy woman, grabbing shoes and coats and backpacks and lunch bags and homework, all while they simply lifted a foot so I may tie their shoes.
How did this happen? I’ve read books about this! I’ve taken measures to prevent this! When I was a teacher, I coached parents on how to break this pattern! And here I am.
Well, there I was. I shall be there no more.
There was a brief exchange of apology and forgiveness before they walked up the sidewalk and into school – oddly, they didn’t have to run to beat the second bell. We hardly knew what to do with our timely selves. In fact, Tucker actually did go in the wrong door and was gently penalized. Sorry. We don’t know the protocol for families who are on time.
I came home. Poured my coffee. Sat on my deck, which is maybe one of the best things about this house. Sure, I had a deck in the previous home, but it backed up to a four lane road, which only came in handy when I was locked in that blasted bedroom.
Anyway, I have declared this my spring and summer writing space.
I read from Galatians. “Let us not grow weary from doing good. For at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
I sat back in my chair and heaved a giant exhale of maternal exhaustion. I am weary. I am weary from doing good. I am raising leaders. Kingdom makers. By God’s grace, I am raising men who will be faithful husbands and loyal dads.
And at the proper time, together we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. In this field, I envision and pray for a harvest of integrity. Dignity. Respect. Responsibility. Leadership.
I am weary from doing good. Or even from doing not so good.
I’m waiting for that proper time. Bring on the harvest.