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

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


This morning got off to a rocky start.  The baby was fussy and the toddler was troublesome - not a great time for my six-year-old to start his new reader.  But he finished his other one last week, and was so, so (so!) excited to move up a level.  I tried my best to struggle through with him and be encouraging, but it's so hard for a six-year-old to concentrate on challenging words while the baby is crying and Mom keeps interrupting to yell at the three-year-old.  He trucked along anyway, God bless him, and didn't seem to be too bothered by all of it.  Not nearly as bothered as I was.

My kindergartener, a girl, started the day off by launching into full-on tears when I asked her to get some clothes for her little brother.  My patience wears thin with this little girl, who tends to be dramatic and at times will turn on tears whenever something doesn't go her way. She has been really good about that lately but this morning I guess something set her off.  We had a bit of a showdown before the day started (because I'll be honest that she gets this trait from her mother, and that it takes work not to clash with her when her emotions rub up against mine).  We sorted it out, but that little incident put me out of sorts and starting the school day already mentally drained.

After a chaotic reading time with my first grader, we finally made it through his book and I set him down to work out of his workbook.  We worked through the first item together and I left him with instructions on how to proceed.  No sooner did I step away from him than a, "Mom, I need hellllllp!" was added to the chorus of noise and misbehaviour from the two littlest ones. I stepped back only to find that he had been perfectly capable of working through it, and that with me standing next to him was able to finish it all on his own.  I encouraged him and told him he needed to do the rest on his own.  I walked away to prepare a snack, and no sooner did I start washing apples than, you guessed it - "Mooooom!"

I went back again, frustrated, and this time my Kindergarten followed it. She swooped right in and hovered over his books, curious to see what he was doing.  With a crying baby on my hip and an already unmotivated worker, I asked her to please go away from his desk so he could concentrate.  She refused, and I sternly said, "Go away!"  She sulked over to the couch and layed down, whining.  When I sorted him out for the third time and walked back to the kitchen counter, I called my girl over to me, but she refused.  As I was scolding her for not answering me, my toddler started bouncing on the couch.  I told him to stop, and he didn't.  Then he bumped into his sister, not enough to hurt her badly, but just enough to give her the excuse she needed.  She started full-on bawling.  And that was it for me.

I couldn't take one more crying child, especially knowing that it was more as a clash of wills than out of being hurt.  I started yelling again, then stopped myself and retreated to my room for a few minutes to breathe deep and clear my head.  When I had collected myself a little, I walked out to the living room where everyone was playing, oblivious, except my daughter, who was still laying on the couch (likely taking a moment herself).  I called her in, and she followed behind me. I calmly told her how I needed for her to stop crying so much, that it was okay for her to cry if she was hurt or sad, but not because she was angry at me or one of the boys.  I told her I needed her to listen better to me, even when she didn't want to. And then I asked, "What do you need from me?"  She paused for a brief minute, looked me square in the eyes.  A smile crept across her little face and she shouted, "YOU!", and flung her little arms tight around my neck.

Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we start a day off wrong.  But my sweet daughter reminded me that she doesn't need me to be perfect, she just needs me.  I'm as much of a work in progress as she is, and I beat myself up about how quick tempered or distracted I can be.  It's not necessary.  When your five-year-old daughter doesn't give a laundry list of ways she wishes you'd be, but instead responds that she just needs you, it's humbling.  And it's truth.  It's truth for her as well.  I need her so very, very much.

Thank you so much Lord for the innocence of children, that brings our sins to light in a way that is not condemning, but honest.  May I do my best to remember that the best I can do is to be here, present, with them.  And in so doing, may I be a gentle guide, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

No comments :

Post a Comment