As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learning to Love

This morning was a rough one.  It seems like we haven't fully recovered from Christmas, and we've been too busy to get anything done.  We've been swamped with extra outings and appointments on top of our usually busy schedule.  My house is upside down.  Everything is behind.  And to top it off, getting out with the kids has been less than smooth.

To elaborate, on outing days every ounce of energy I have from the moment I get up goes towards having us all ready to get out the door by whatever time we have to be out. There is no wiggle room.  But the past few times we've had to be out, one of my students has dug his feet into the ground.  Not outright, of course, but subtly.  So that I don't realize he's not done most of his school work until it's too late to make it up.  And when this happens, I am faced with one of three options: 1) Cancel the outing, and make him work until he's done.  2) Make him sit down and do his work as soon as he gets home. 3) Leave the work until the next day, and do double the work.

The problem is that each of these options means triple the work (and thus, triple the anxiety) for me.  Sometimes I can't cancel, and even if I can then I'm the one missing out - little twiddle-my-thumbs gets to just keep trucking along at his own, delightfully snailish pace.  And if I leave the work for when we get home, I am faced with arriving home with all six children (two of whom have probably fallen asleep on the drive and are guaranteed to be cranky for at least an hour after) at supper time, scrounging to prepare a meal and look after my infant, who likely did not eat while we were out and will need to be nursed, and looking after all the other evening getting-the-house-in-order chores with the kids.  Not exactly the easiest time to homeschool.  But, if I leave it for the next day, then the little one who already didn't make it through yesterday's workload now has double the mountain to climb - how's that for motivation? 

Now that I've presented my case, you can probably guess my reaction.  Not good.  The first two times it happened, I absolutely lost it with this boy.  Repeatedly.  And had several serious, sit-down talks with him. And got his father to do the same.  So today is a gym day, and I thought I had the upper hand.  I thought, "Aha!  I don't need to go to this, this is for them.  If they don't have their work done by the time I need to go, we just won't go.  No stress, no freaking out, problem solved." boy worked extra hard, like rock star hard, and even did double the work.  "Know why I'm working so hard Mommy?" he says, "So I can go to gym class."  Well...I can't really keep the whole clan home now.  

As I watched my little knuckle-dragger deliberately stare at the ceiling, defiantly twiddling his thumbs and ignoring my warnings (the last of which I gave him around 10:00 am, and went something like, "Make sure you know what you're choosing by doing this, you will not go to gym class if you don't finish all of your work by lunch time.  I'm not going to keep nagging you, it's up to you.") my blood boiled.  I texted my husband at work and asked him for prayers, and it took everything in me not to snap at my darling little boy.  I knew I just couldn't go there again.  But I didn't know what else to do.

Love is the answer, he texted back.  I'm not a big text messager, but I am so grateful for it in moments like this.  When I am thick in despair, it's so good to know my husband is not so far away.  Sometimes love looks a lot like a crucifix.  I mean for you.  I'm not saying you should crucify him.  I mean it would be helpful for you to lovingly accept your cross. 

How many times am I confronted with this demanding love, the kind that doesn't have an easy answer, that makes things a million times harder for me (if I do it the right way) - do I crucify my children?  Do I lash out in anger, lamenting my lot in life that these children seem to be choosing to make my life harder?  When I read those words my heart broke, because as a mother the last thing you ever want to do is string your child out.  But I do.  I get desperate.  I snap.  And instead of taking their place and accepting my cross, I heave it onto their little shoulders.  Of course they don't know the pressure I'm under, why should they?  Instead of trying to make them understand the load I am carrying, I need to be more willing to carry that load and more if required, to deal with these little upsets that are natural for the ages they are at (not to say anything of what's coming as they get older).  Instead of looking for every opportunity to rid myself of some of that weight I need to get good at carrying it, so that when my burden becomes heavier, I'm not looking to toss it on the next poor soul who walks within catching distance. 

Most importantly, I need to remember that I don't carry this cross alone.  And rather than looking to little ones to understand what they can't possibly, I instead need to look to the One who knows far better than me.  The One who gives me this cross and allows me to bear it as gift, pure gift, for me alone.  For my good, and the greater glory of His kingdom.  Where someday I hope I, my husband, and all our little ones will join Him after a life lived loving Him.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

May Jesus help me bear whatever it takes to get these little ones to Heaven. 

We did go to town.  My little rock star went to the gym class he had worked so hard to earn.  And the rest of the kids and I went to the chapel in the school next door and poured our hearts out to Jesus (or at least I did).  It was beautiful.  It was peaceful.  It was healing.  Then we came home, and with a renewed sense of purpose and love for my little boy, set out to do the work that lay before us.  And he finished it - all of it - without me raising my voice to him, not once (even this morning).  

My husband was right.  I love him so much.

No comments :

Post a Comment