Monday, August 19, 2013

The Day I Didn't Yell

I feel like something has happened to me. Today feels like a turning point in my life. All day I felt in control when I usually feel like the days control me. I woke up with a clearer focus. I not only had ‘things to do’ but little people to invest in. I didn’t feel tortured by my indecisiveness or my perpetual to-do lists.

I didn’t consciously prepare for today to be different, but it was. I had plenty of opportunities to yell at my ‘littles’, yet I just didn’t. It was almost as though I simply didn’t have it in me anymore. It wasn’t because I didn’t get mad enough. It was like I was able to see past the moment. Before, all I could see was red and nothing else. There has been some kind of switch that has turned on in my life. I feel the Light, the energy.

I can sense that my current reality is shifting. I’m a first-hand spectator on the journey my little itty-bitty babies are on… how now they’re big enough to not need Band-Aids or kisses from Mama to make it all better. I’ve always known that they’ll get older, bigger, hairier. But today, that ‘knowing’ went from my head and sank deep into my heart. I heard whispers all day saying ‘This is the last day you’ll get to have them at this exact age, tomorrow they’ll be a little older.” I sensed that today, even though from an outside view looked a lot like yesterday and the day before that- it somehow wasn’t. I sensed that I was running out of time, because I was, and I am.

Maybe this shift in my thinking is because Silas is starting kindergarten and he won’t be home every single moment, like he is now. Maybe it’s because I’m beginning to work outside the house here and there and the days are going to look totally different.  I’m realizing these seemingly boring days are somehow extremely valuable. I really don’t think I can pin point just one reason for this paradigm shift. All I know is today I was the eye of the storm. I was kinder and spoke sweeter words. I was calmer and got a few hard tasks accomplished.

I glanced at Silas and instantly saw myself as a little kid just wanting to love my mom and have fun, just like him.

I identified with him.

I saw how Cannon responded to a composed mom in a tense situation. He didn’t fight back. He submitted. He respected me more when I could control myself- I could see it in his eyes.

I earned his respect.

I looked at Reeve ripping up important papers and throwing food across the room and I quickly dealt with it instead of losing my mind with an emotional outburst.

I responded instead of reacted.

I’m starting to realize if I cannot manage myself, I can’t be effective at managing others.  

Today, I didn’t yell.

It takes a lot of energy to yell. I think yelling is not just spewing forceful words, it’s spewing angst, regrets and more turmoil than what’s already there. Not yelling is going in the other direction. It’s refocusing everyone on the positive, on what they should be doing, making a way where they can thrive. It’s not taking their sin personally. It’s identifying with them and coming alongside of them and guiding them with the wisdom of someone who’s been there, done that. Yelling is shaming and guilting in hopes they’ll hate that so much they will decide to turn around and go in the right direction. Yelling is verbal chaos. It’s like a bullhorn. It’s just loud noise that no one wants to hear- agitating, aggressive, confrontational, assertion of self. Keeping your wits about you and lovingly teaching them the right way is like a song. It’s an immediate shift in a new direction within the appropriate boundaries. It’s a lovely place where everybody wants to be and feels free to dance and be themselves.

Here at the end of the day I’m tired but it’s a different tired. I’m tired because I have a lively life filled with activity every moment of my day, but I’m not emotionally drained like I usually am. I didn’t realize how different it feels to be emotionally drained vs. physically tired. I’ll take physically tired any day.

I hope this sticks, I hope somewhere in the heavens God declared August 19th the day that I finally grow up and start taking charge of my life instead of playing catch up and grasping at the coat tails of the hurricane of life. I hope it’s not just today. I hope that tomorrow and all my tomorrows after that will stem from the changes of today. I am impressed with today, with this peace I mysteriously acquired for no apparent reason. It’s probably not so mysterious after all. It’s a good thing and all good things come from God, right? I’m going to go ahead and give credit where credit is due. Maybe there is an unforeseen reason as well. I’m sure there is.

I’m so thankful for the subtle surprises that lighten my load and fill me with gratitude. Thank you Lord for love poured out and unmerited peace. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this day. It was yet another chance to learn, to reflect and to make adjustments for the benefit of my entire household but especially my little legacies. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

I Like You

I have three boys who are very young. I have not mastered home organization or using my time wisely. I seem to pick the wrong times to clean and get frustrated when the tornado trio come and destroy my attempts at putting things in their place. I try to keep them tame but they are so wild. So wild that I fall apart sometimes just thinking about putting the little house pieces back together again, after again and then again after that. I don’t have the stamina or the real desire to win that battle every moment of everyday. Between the clothes, the food, the random bits of paper and the ‘what is this thing?!’ I could spend all day everyday bent over picking up ‘debris'.

This particular day my four year old, Cannon, went into my drawers and pulled out my craft supplies. He peeled the backing off my magnet roll and jumbled up all my stuff. I have a thing with anyone touching the few things that I actually have organized and messing it up. I admit I went a little over-the-top crazy-eyed monster teeth at him. He got thrown in time out after a ridiculous mommy-hissy fit. While he’s bawling in the tiny chair all I could think was, “I need to get myself together here. I’m ruining my children’s lives.” Melodramatic much? After several minutes, when the tempers and emotions calmed down, I called him over to me. I crouched down and we said our ‘I’m sorrys’ and ‘I forgive yous’ and off he ran. The weight got lifted off our shoulders and we were back to being mama and boy. Not three minutes went by when he stops a few feet away from me and announces, “I like you.” I wanted to make sure I was hearing him right, so I said, “What did you say?” He said it again even louder, “I like you!” I couldn’t help the enormous smile that came over me as I said, “I like you too!” We just gazed lovingly into each others eyes, then he ran off to play again.

I stood there wondering, ‘Why does he like me?” I literally just exploded with anger and frustration at him. As I sat there thinking about it I realized he likes me not because I blew up at him but because I asked him for forgiveness. I admitted I was wrong then made it right again. He likes me because maybe he realizes I’m human, I don’t pretend to have it all together. Maybe he likes me because he knows he can’t do anything that is so bad that I won’t keep on immensely loving him, unconditionally. Maybe after all these four years he’s coming to grips that I’m not perfect, but I’m genuine. I’m not organized, but I try. I’m not rich, but I’m giving them all I have. Maybe he said that because he sensed I needed to hear that today. It made me feel like perhaps I’m not ruining their lives after all. Maybe I’m teaching them what it looks like to struggle well, to fall apart then get back up again. Maybe he was trying to tell me in so many words, “Everyone loves their mom but not everyone likes them.” He was choosing to like me, not out of obligation, but of choice. Or maybe he just wanted to tell me that he likes me because he simply does. J