Just wanted to write about a little lesson or experience I had this morning. So last night the boys were pretty hyper, as they often are, and a couple of times, I found myself saying out loud, "God, let me me love them the way You love me." It sort of became my mantra throughout the evening whenever I felt that one of them was pushing me to the end of my patience.
So I said it a few times last night, made it through the evening without losing my cool, and didn't give it much thought after that.
This morning I got up with my alarm and managed to get showered and dressed before the boys woke up. I had a chance to be calm and reflective and felt quite at peace when the boys finally came downstairs. First Taylor came down, sleepy and begging to watch television. Begging, begging, begging. Didn't matter that I said not until he had had breakfast and done his morning routine: he just kept right on asking.
Then Stephen came down, and I could tell right away he was still waking up and was upset. He was tearful and emotional as he told me that his leg hurt, and he had wanted to cuddle with me, and could we just lay down on the couch.
And I'm thinking to myself, I've got to get us all fed and ready and out the door. I've got to get Taylor on the bus and Stephen ready and to pre-school all in time to make it to my 9am meeting. I do not have time for dramatics!! Plus, how am I going to turn this around? An emotional Stephen in the morning can tend to last all day long.
But something inside of me just said that I needed to love them. I just felt an incredible urge to lavish love upon them. I was tender with Stephen. When he told me he was cold, I got his favorite blanket and wrapped it around him as he sat on his chair. When he said he wanted pancakes (frozen, mind you), I scrapped my plan of Cheerios and said, Sure. Taylor then let it be known that he would like waffles. Sure. I offered Stephen chamomile tea or milk or water. He said he would really like hot chocolate, and I said, Sure, why not! They asked for whip cream, and I said Sure! They started to bicker about who would get what mug. And that's when I told them, "Boys, I want to shower you with love. I want you to know how dear and precious you are and am happy to give you hot chocolate and whipped cream. All I ask in return is that you accept my love. Just accept the love I give you; don't argue about the form it takes." They started asking about marshmallows, and I replied, "I want to shower you with love. What do you need to do?" Immediately they replied, "Thank you for the hot chocolate, Mom!" They were even thankful for the mug I gave each of them. I don't think it was so important that I gave them the hot chocolate. I think something special happened in that moment when I told them that I wanted to shower them with my love and that all I asked was that they accept it. How often is a kid told that? How often are they given something and purposefully asked to accept it.
After breakfast we were walking upstairs to finish dressing and do morning routines and Taylor was just singing and smiling. He remarked, "I'm so happy and it's all because of this one special mother."
Both kids ended up being super happy this morning, and I felt very happy and lighthearted too. Stephen was precious going into pre-school and just took his time carrying his little backpack in and going down the stairs. He had so many things he wanted to tell me. I felt a little bit rushed, knowing that I was on the edge of being late to my meeting, but I kept telling myself to take time to be in the presence of God. Because of that, I was able to enjoy and cherish the time with my little one.
And now I'm just reflecting on my morning. I keep thinking about how I have a million things on my plate. I'm sure I won't get them all done or will drop something and feel bad about it later, but for now, I just feel at peace. I had this moment this morning where I could have gone in one of two directions. I could have chosen to be frantic and stressed and just push the boys in the direction I wanted them to go. But instead, I chose love. I think God spoke to me in that moment and directed me to love on them every way I knew how. Maybe because I asked Him the night before, let me love them the way You love me.
Would it have been faster if they could have gone upstairs by themselves and gotten themselves dressed? Yes. But I knew when I asked Stephen to go upstairs and change out of his pajamas, I just knew that he would not do it on his own. And I knew that I would end up asking repeatedly and finally getting upset with him for not listening and doing as I asked. So instead of going down that road, I said, "How about I go upstairs with you and help you get ready?" It was on the walk upstairs that Taylor told me how happy he was.
At the end of the day, this is sort of small thing: surviving a morning without yelling at my kids. And I'm sort of patting myself on my back, which is probably not good. But I think it is also so important to reflect and process my journey with faith right now, and it's also so important to pause when things go right with parenting and ask yourself, why did that work? What worked well and what would I change? What can I do to have these experiences become the norm in our household? I wouldn't say that I spend all of my time being upset with my kids, but I'm not sure I'm showering them with love 24/7 either. And most importantly, am I being present with God as much as possible?
For sure, tomorrow morning I could do the exact same thing and have everybody crying when we leave the house. I've been around the parenting block enough to know about the wild variations in moods and situations and everything else. But for one glorious moment, I feel like, I'm on to something. And I think the most important thing is actually about asking God and then really being present to His response. Maybe I didn't know in that exact moment that God was telling me to give the kids hot chocolate (or whatever else I did), but looking back, I know that He was moving me, and I'm thankful that I was present and embraced that conviction to shower them with love.