Last night was one of those motherhood nights that make you want to hand in your minivan and find a new line of work.
The girls were sent upstairs to tidy their room, then the plan was to have ice cream, read bedtime stories and get to bed. Well, time went by, the room didn’t get clean and bedtime arrived.
I’ve just finished reading the book, “Have a New Kid by Friday” which is all about consequences. One of the major points is “A doesn’t happen until B does.” So, that meant that if the room tidy didn’t happen, neither did ice cream.
Now, it has been suggested that I am sometimes a bit of a pushover and I’m not going to deny it. But being a pushover has, in the case of some strong willed little ladies, taught my daughters how to manipulate me for their own agendas. We are, after all, born sinners in need of grace and a savior and in the case of children, in need of training up. I had to step up my training efforts.
You can imagine, I’m sure, what happened when I said no ice cream. I had thought to still do stories, since reading is important and it’s part of the routine but both of these girls came UNGLUED. UNHINGED.
Screaming the likes of which I’ve never heard. “You’re a mean mom! You’re supposed to feed your kids! You promised!”
My instinct was to also become unglued and unhinged but I bit it back, took some deep breaths and calmly said, “You had a choice. You chose to play instead of tidying your room,” which, for the record, was about ten minutes worth of mess, “And now you’re going to have to go to bed.”
I was proud of how I handled it. I got them to bed with no screaming from me, plenty of screaming from them and I was in my room watching Hulu Plus and eating crackers and cheese in no time. I patted myself on the back.
Approximately 2.5 minutes later, there was a knock on the door.
I opened it to find a sweet little paci face with a sheepish smile and the words, “I’m scared, Mommy. I need to sleep in your bed.”
I ushered her back to her bed.
Back to my room and back to tv.
Approximately 2.5 minutes later, there was a knock at the door and that same little lady was standing there.
I ushered her back to bed, Super Nanny style.
Approximately 2.5 minutes later, there was a knock at the door and I’ll bet you can guess who it was.
I ushered her back to bed, Super Nanny style and she went bananas.
I mean screaming the likes of which I hadn’t heard…well, since I’d first tried to put them to bed. Carrying on, thrashing around, ugly words, ear splitting shrieks.
Lila said, “It’s kind of hard to sleep when she’s making all that noise.”
I said, “Let’s pray.” And Lila agreed, probably as much for the chance to get out of bed as any other reason. She joined me on the bottom bunk and Claire screeched, “I don’t wanna pway!”
We ignored her and prayed for peace and calm and Lila curled into my lap like a little cat, already over the bedtime drama.
Lila went back up to her bed and I hugged Claire who did not want to be hugged. I began to sing over her and hold her tight, hoping that the Holy Spirit all intertwined in the words of the song would calm her down. I sang through “Beautiful Mercy” and “Like a Lion” and then “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and then back through all three again. Praying all the while that the Holy Spirit would descend and blanket her in peace.
And after a while, there was peace.
The bedtime drama began at 8:00 and was finally over at close to 10:00.
Claire has a fierceness. She is independent and stubborn and strong. She knows what she wants and gets very stuck on wanting what she wants. She is rebellious and short tempered. She is just like me.
I held her last night and sang over her and thought about God and how often He has to hold me down and sing over me until I calm. I thought about how I sometimes just don’t wanna pway. I just don’t want to do anything but rage.
I learn so much about God from my children. So much about love. So much about mercy. So much about God as Father.
I was having a grown up tantrum in the kitchen a couple of nights ago while John cooked tacos. Raging about things not going my way, crying about things not being fair, sulking and storming. He tried to reassure and I didn’t want to hear it.
I am so much like Claire.
And eventually, God held me and sang over me and quieted my soul.
And I felt better.
This morning, Claire wakes up with a smile on her face and a happy heart. I watch her talk to Nora. I see that she loves as fiercely as she rages. The baby laughs at her sister. I pray that the day is one filled with peace and in this moment there is only peace.
The morning goes on and the dog is stealing food from the table and this child hits another child and the tantrums go on (most likely because she didn’t get enough sleep) and Claire spits at me and the dog is in the trash and it’s another day in the life. But the strength of that moment of beauty carries me through. I will watch for these little moments as the day goes on because these are the moments that help us to survive.
These little moments where God sings over us.
Watch for your moments today.