Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'I Need Courage'

I periodically hear older Moms talk about the times they blew it with their kids. Times when they were so intent on making a point that they kind of missed the point themselves. Tonight I had one of those experiences.

Because K, P & R start Kindergarten at a new school Monday, tonight we were invited to attend a new student 'ice cream social.' My husband had a long-scheduled work conflict, but it seemed this would be a breeze to attend alone. There was no formal program, no speeches--just ice cream and introductions. How hard could that be?

I failed to consider the energy level and silliness of excited 6 year olds feeding off of one another.
I failed to consider that most of the conversation would be happening at adult eye level while my children were stuck waist high with only one another to talk to (egg on).
I failed to consider the pre-bedtime timeframe when second wind silliness really hits its peak.
I failed to consider what adding huge ice cream sundaes to that combination may yield.
I failed to consider how my own pride and need to have it together and not be the 'poor, haggard, stressed out Mom of triplets' would add unnecessary stress-inducing expectations.
In short, I failed. 

My kids were climbing all over me--hugging my legs, pulling my clothes, poking me, interrupting and trying to get me to hold them--simultaneously. I tried several times to take a break and step over to the side with them to reel their energy back in, but it was to no avail. Twice as I squatted down to chat with them I was pushed over onto my fanny as a result of becoming their jungle gym. 

After an hour, I threw in the towel and left. As soon as we returned to the car, I had my fairly well-behaved children back. My attitude was sour. My ego was bruised. I was worn out. What just happened?

As we got home and started going through the bedtime routine, I thought back through the evening. Suddenly the factors contributing to all that emotional energy started becoming clearer. 

My heart was softened. I regretted my prideful frustration that ranked appearances of 'togetherness' and good behavior over being able to tend to my little people's hearts. My insecurity and fear about 'big moments' having to be split three ways reared their ugly head.

During our devotion before bed I said, "Guys, what was all that craziness about tonight? What is going on?"
I gave each of them a chance to answer. 
"I was excited," K said.
"Me too," R echoed.
"I need courage, Mommy," P offered.

As I tucked each of the children in I silently prayed God would make me especially attentive to their hearts. K, my little butterfly, seemed genuinely excited and positive. P seemed a bit more affectionate and clingy. R was almost asleep by the time I made it to his bed. His fingers were 'in the position' in his mouth that signal he is on the edge of slumber. 

Just as I was finishing up with R, I heard P talking softly to himself (I thought) on the other side of the room. I listened attentively.
"I want to know you forever. I just wanna know you forever."
"What, sweetie?"
"I want to know you forever, Mommy." I leaned over him and saw tears on his face.
"Baby, you WILL know me forever. I am your Mom."
"How do you know?" he whimpered.
"Well, just like Bee Bee is my Mom and we see her a lot and Grandmother is Daddy's Mommy and we see her."
"But, Mommy," he said as his tear filled eyes looked right into mine, "I just wanna stay with you. Please can I just stay with you?"
I hugged him tight. My heart was broken and yet so in love with that little guy all at the same time. We talked about all of the exciting things he would learn and do this year. I explained that the hours would be just like last year and his brother would be in his class...K would be next door. They will have lunch together and see each other at recess. 
He listened then said, "I just love YOU."

So, tonight I am just praying for all the hearts in my home--big and small. May we handle this transition with courage and grace. I don't want to overly dramatize this or come across as overly emotional. I am just being honest. This is harder than I thought it would be. I want to handle this transition well--and I can honestly say that God is bringing my motive into focus. 

In writing this and confessing some of my mixed up motives I am able to really focus on what matters--making sure each of my children can reach this milestone in their own way--feeling individually loved, celebrated and supported. Indeed there is only one Mommy to do this simultaneously for three of them--but God knew that when He entrusted them to our care. That knowledge is enough for me. I will trust Him to lead us in how to love them best. 


Traci said...

"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16

You are a GREAT mom. You have GREAT kids. Have a GREAT school year.

Prairie Rose said...

As a former teacher, I am here to tell you that nearly ALL CHILDREN act horrible at school when their parents show up. Every teachers knows it -- if there's a class activity where parent volunteers are going to be there, it's a given that the children of those volunteers are going to be WILD. It's just what kids do, even the most well-behaved children. It seems like having both authority figures in the same place overwhelms them or something and they just go wild. So don't worry. Everyone else there was probably too busy dealing with their own excited children to have noticed your struggles, just as you were too busy with your crew to notice theirs. And the teacher -- trust me, she's used to it. :o)

lindley said...

I must admit I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years now. I don't think I have ever commented, but so many times I have wanted to! However, I could not NOT comment tonight. I am in tears--how precious and sweet and heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. "P" reminds me of my oldest (almost 5) and I think I have a good idea how you are feeling! I am so thankful for all of your past posts and thoughts on how you handle situations with the Lord's strength. You are so eloquent and such a witness for our Lord! Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

Work In Progress said...

I have to remind myself all too often that my kid's school experience is not about me, but about my children. I get caught up with the impressions that I want to make on other parents, teachers or staff. My need for them to "think" that I have my act together can supercede and get in the way of the obligation that I have toward my first priority--my kids and their walk with Christ.
You have nothing to prove to anyone...you are an awesome Mom with her priorities in the right order! My kids are 8 & 11 and still pull at me, hold onto me, try to talk to me, etc...while I try to carry on adult conversation. One day soon, too soon, I'll be wishing they were hugging around my leg and wanting to talk to me...Bless you...I'll be praying for you next week!

twiceasnice said...


Peter and Nancy said...

I have felt so many of the same things you're describing. My husband is one of the pastors at our church, so I often do parent duty on my own if classes, etc. require him in the evenings -- and I feel the pressure of thinking my children have to behave well! (Though our church is wonderfully accepting, and has a relaxed feel, so thank the Lord for that!) I have noticed how I let myself feel like a "bad" parent after we have a rambunctious outing -- and I am learning to tell myself that I'm still the same person and mama, loved by God, whether my kids are badly behaved or angels. I don't want to ever make my kids feel bad because my pride is bruised -- then they'll never learn to hear the Holy Spirit pricking their conscience (because my voice will be in the way!).

You're doing well to ask them what was happening -- that opens them up and reveals their hearts. Good job, mama!