Lessons from my children

DSC_1377It was a Saturday morning after a late Friday night. Husband out of town. Schedule packed with kids’ activities and cleaning my messy house (I don’t mind laundry or dishes, but whole-house cleaning brings out my nasty).

I was still in bed but mentally working through my to-do list when I heard my younger three coming down the stairs. I hopped out of bed… and discovered I’d gotten up on the wrong side.

I was grumpy—from the get-go!

They came in with iPad in hand, a Youtube Disney music video blaring.

More grumpy. “Can’t you guys start off the day with a book or a game? Why do you have to go straight to screen time?”

“We’ll just watch this one video, and then we’ll be done, Mom.”

I grunted my assent and went upstairs to begin de-cluttering so I could then clean.

Five minutes.

iPad still going.

Ten minutes.

iPad still going.

Deeper grumpiness, and the homework-and-craft-covered dining room table wasn’t improving my mood.

I stomped downstairs. “I told you guys to stop watching videos after that first one.”

Wide, innocent eyes. “It’s the same video, Mom.”

I looked at the screen, and, yes, it was the same 36-minute long Youtube video.

“You knew I didn’t mean you could watch a video that’s more than a half hour long!”

Still wide-eyed.

“Seriously!”

Suddenly one of my sons was right in front of me. He put his arms around my neck and held his face up for a kiss.

And, honest to goodness, this is what came out of my mouth. “I don’t want a kiss right now. I’m trying to fuss at you and your brother and sister.”

Seriously!

More encouragement from one of my kids. Em hung these creations of hers on the fridge yesterday. Such good reminders.

More encouragement from one of my kids. Em hung these creations of hers on the fridge yesterday. Such good reminders.

That was when the Holy Spirit smacked me upside the head.

What I’d said sunk in, and I looked down into the face of the son who is getting a lot better at reading my moods—and who wants to fix me when I clearly display my brokenness.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. You’re right. I do want a kiss.”*

I said my “sorry”s for my grumpiness, got my kids doing something more productive than watching videos (though they would certainly disagree with my evaluation), and went back to straightening.

But though I was more aware and cautious of my mood, I was still in it.

When I went upstairs to check on how Maddie was doing at cleaning her room, she asked me, “Mom, would you want to have devotions with me?”**

Another Holy Spirit moment: I answered, “Mads, that’s a great idea.”

We read it together on her bed.

Then we looked at each other. “That was exactly what I needed to hear,” I told her. “Thank you.”

She nodded wisely. “That happens a lot for me, too.”

In one morning I received the kiss of forgiveness and the olive branch of restoration.

Oh, the lessons I learn from my children.

 

*The reason I didn’t use a name for this child is that he is at the age when he doesn’t want too much affection in public (“Only side hugs, please, Mom.) and doesn’t want to be called “honey,” “sweetheart,” or “baby” unless it’s inside the walls of our home. So if you’re reading this and you actually know my family, don’t mention this story to any of my kids and please don’t repeat it to any kids they know. If you do, my days of hugging my son may be over for a really long time. 

**We gave Maddie the kids’ version of Jesus Calling for Easter. I highly recommend it for kids aged about 8 and up. I used it a couple years ago with high school students, and many of them still preferred the kid version over the adult one.

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