To give just one example, I will recount what happened last night. Kaylee had a rough day. She had many emotional struggles, and her facade of not caring was crumbling slowly, and that evening, close to bed time, she bit her cheek. That was the last straw for her, and she began to cry, real tears, and needed her mother's arms. She doesn't get to cuddle with mom much, because that spot seems always filled with the littlest one. Kendon was nursing at that moment. I was torn. I asked Kendon to let go, and we would nurse later, but he was determined not to be unseated by his sister, who tried to climb on my lap, and was pushed off. I don't believe in pushing a young child away, so I didn't want to push Kendon away from me, but I unlatched him, and told him firmly and kindly, "I'm sorry, but you will have to nurse later. I have three kids, and right now, Kaylee needs a mommy too." Well, that worked like you'd imagine it would on a 2-yr-old. (Not at all.) And so I sat there, with two crying kids, each wanting to get on my lap, and each pushing the other away, and me, caught in the impossible position in the middle.
That's what my peacemaker intervened. Peter comes over, calmly and cheerfully and says, "Don't worry Mom. I'll take care of Kendon." He is not put off by Kendon ignoring him, continuing to fuss, and trying to get back on my lap. He just sweetly puts his arm around his brother's shoulders and says to him with a warm smile, "It's okay Kendon, It's okay little bro, I'll take care of you. What do you want to play together?" Kendon stops, looks at his big brother he has learned to trust, and puts his little head on his brother's chest. Peter slowly walks away with him. Kendon says quietly, "I want to play dinosaur." Peter says, "Do you want to be Tyrannosaurus Rex? The king dinosaur? You go like this..." And off they went, saying "Raaaarrr," and playing happily together. Meanwhile, my daughter climbed on my lap, and received some much needed comfort.
Kaylee and I were able to enjoy about 10 minutes of agenda-free time, reading scriptures together, and just enjoying the feel of one another's touch. I realized that I don't hold her anymore, and I have missed her. It felt good to hold my big girl, even though she is almost 7, and it felt good to listen to her, and enjoy her, instead of correcting her. All that was made possible, because my middle child had prepared himself to be okay, so he could reach out to others. It was not an accident, he works at it every day. He is striving harder than anyone I know, to be exactly like his idol, Jesus Christ. One way, is by strengthening himself, so he can be a strength to others.
I am humbled deeply today, and I have been on my knees all morning, asking my Father to help me to be more like my own son, who is more like His son, than I am. Can I, by turning to the Lord, become emotionally secure enough to be a strength to others, and not constantly be needing strength from others?
I don't like to be constantly giving updates on all the family news, because this blog is not supposed to be all about me. But there are some things that will be affecting my posts in the future, and need to be said.
First: I am currently pregnant with our fourth child. Due in late September.
Second: We have recently sold our house and are moving, we have no idea where yet, except for a little while we'll be moving to my husband's parents' home during the transition time. I have three weeks to pack our house and house-hunt, so I will not have much time to post for the next little while.
To Be Honest:
I have recently started listening again to Kirk Martin's, Celebrate Calm. That is because since I've been pregnant, I've been less calm, and less in control of my feelings. I find myself crying more, shouting more, and overall, giving up more on being the kind of mom I want to be. Then a few weeks ago, I lost it with my daughter. She is going through a transition age right now, and all sorts of problems with relationships and schooling are bubbling to the surface, issues I have feared, and all of us are on edge and faced with new issues we haven't dealt with before. I guess I started reverting back to what I know best, fear and intimidation, distracted, anxiety-ridden parenting, and that just made everything so much worse. Then one day, I snapped. I said things I'm so ashamed of, I can't believe left my lips. I hurt her so deeply, and I saw it happening, and didn't care. I didn't care until about 5 minutes later when I had a minute to process, and I thought I would throw up. I was so heartbroken at what I'd just done, I didn't even know how to apologize. I didn't say anything, I just cried, and cried, and cried. I felt intense, enormous grief and pain, I can't even describe. That was anguish! Truly, deep, heart-wrenching sorrow. How could I make it better? How could I come back from that low, low place? How could she heal from that? How could I?
We went to my mother's house who unwittingly said some things that helped both of us. My daughter looked at me, and I looked at her, and the words were unspoken, but she smiled and nodded, and I smiled back and nodded. We both resolved to try harder to be peacemakers. Later, she asked me why I hadn't apologized, and I said that I was so ashamed, I didn't know how to say it. But then I apologized, and I asked her if we could start over. I told her how precious she was to me, and how lucky I was to be given such a special girl to be my daughter. It was a new beginning, not a new arrival, meaning it was still a painful time, still we needed help.
The next few weeks I spent more time on my knees, crying, seeking, and asking for Christ's help, healing, and instruction. Wisely, He let me struggle awhile, and let me feel the full brunt of my shame, and see clearly the pain I have the power to cause before offering me solace. Eventually, when the time was right, that comfort came. It wasn't all at once, it was a little bit each day. As I showed willingness to change and grow myself, He offered a boost up each time. It is only through consistent effort and obedience that peace can be availed to us. If I were to repeat the offenses, I would negate the blessings. I would be unable to receive any comfort, only added anguish. So through obedience to God, I opened myself to receiving the blessings of my Father, and the love and healing of Christ.
Now I feel that healing love, and walk in it daily. I give thanks and do not take it for granted. Now that I am on firmer ground, it's time for me to reach out to my little girl, and show her once again where true growth, peace and healing can be found. In the arms of her loving Savior. She has the right and privilege to enjoy those blessings right now.
Our relationship is beginning to heal, and I can feel her longing for love and healing. I can see her reaching for any help, any hope she can find. She did nothing wrong--nothing she has to answer for, but she did get hurt. She is not responsible for her actions, she is still too young to be expected to be able to control herself completely. Before age 8, kids are still expected to be the result of their environment. While they begin to learn the principles of choice and accountability, it's not right to demand it of them until they are completely mentally and emotionally ready to be independent of their surroundings. (Which is yet another reason it's incredible to witness emotional and spiritual integrity in my 5-yr-old.) Before age 8, the responsibility for repentance (i.e. struggling to change and grow, praying for forgiveness and help to improve,) lies solely with the adult. This is a doctrine of my church, but also a universal truth I believe. Universal truths can be forgotten, or put on the back burner of our minds. It's time I remember this one, and realize that the fault is mine when there is a conflict with her. I have seen my own power to affect our relationship for the good in the past. Her actions do not hold merit against mine. That is the bad news, and that is the good news. As long as we have faith, there is still hope for us.