My husband went out of town a few days ago, and he’s supposed to be gone for a couple weeks. This busy summer is pulling me like I’m a Gumby figurine fought over by a bunch of selfish toddlers, and with him now gone, this week all that pressure came to a miserable, explosive head. In the midst of taxiing my kids to soccer camp, juggling my pre-teen’s drama, and trying to make healthy choices (another stressor), I LOST. IT.
I won’t go into the details, but I suffice it to say that my 11 yr. old either made a mistake or purposefully disobeyed me (I can’t know which…the dreadful reality of parenting), but either way, she caused me stress, and I didn’t respond well. After a day filled with other childish shenanigans, in the middle of Joann’s Fabric, I angrily lashed out at her and said things NO ONE should hear. I’m guilty of the common sin of saying something permanently hurtful because I was temporarily frustrated. My poor, poor girl!
Very quickly, I tried to make up for my terrible words. I apologized. We group hugged. I asked for forgiveness. I tried to make amends. My kids were gracious and forgiving, but even so, by the time bedtime rolled around, I was 1000% ready for a BREAK!
But did my kids want to go to bed? Do kids EVER want to go to bed?? After I tucked them in, I hugged them, but they wanted more. Looking back, I can see that after our difficult day, they actually NEEDED more! But at that time, REST was all I really wanted! As I desperately desired to close their doors and collapse in my own bed, my youngest made a request:
Mommy, sing me my baby song.
(I have a “baby song” for each of my kids; it’s a little thing I do for each of my newborns, and something I occasionally sing for them.)
Now, as you can probably surmise, I absolutely did NOT want to sing. I wanted silence. I wanted pillows. I wanted isolation, but Sylva wanted a reminder that I love her, so in my tiniest, softest voice—about all I could really muster—I gave her that song:
When I think of you, I think wind through the trees
Crisp autumn days, and bright swirling leaves
Sweet baby Sylva, your momma loves you
She thinks you’re wonderful….
(Credit: “Windy Autumn Day” by Lilia D.)
I felt better as the song ended, and I still wanted to go to bed.
BUT SYLVA WASN’T FINISHED….
Mommy, sing Rosie her baby song.
In my pitiful, self-absorbed state, I whispered back that I didn’t think Rosie wanted her baby song. I didn’t think Rosie wanted anything from me. Honestly, I think she just wanted me to leave her alone. Because my two girls share a room, Rose probably overheard my whispers, and being the girl she is, she didn’t contradict me. Still, Sylva persisted.
Mommy, sing Rosie her baby song. Don’t return evil for evil.
In that moment, my eyes welled up, and my hard, tired heart swelled. I’m not the best at teaching my children scripture—that’s a whole other subject—but here was my 6-year-old, encouraging me in the exactly right way. She perfectly ministered scripture to me, and our family desperately needed it!
I sat down on Rose’s lower bunk and stroked her beautiful hair and whisper-sang
I love you more than sunshine on a bright summer’s day
I love you more than Christmas or going out to play
I love you so much Rosie, my heart just overflows
I’ve got to give you kisses from your toes up to your nose!
Like a broken colt, my strong-willed tweenager accepted my love in a way she’d bucked all week, and when I finally did close her bedroom door, I did it with a clean heart.
Although I eventually did collapse on my bed in sweet, introverted, isolated oblivion, before I did so, I made my way into my son’s room where I also sang him his “baby song.”
….You were my little baby
But now you’re my big boy
You’re the apple of your momma’s eye
And daddy’s pride and joy!
And after that, my family slept under our roof, glad to make it together through our imperfect, sad day and hoping to again never see a day like it.
Moral of the story: Pour scripture into your children, and it will overflow into your own life! Also, say NO to stuff so you can say YES to your kids!