In retrospect, the funniest thing about today is how good I felt about it upon waking up.
You see, today I was supposed to attend a social for my Women’s Group at Church. It was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Like many moms out there, planning for such an event and actually showing up without having forgotten one of your children–is a small miracle in itself. I had stayed up late to make deviled eggs. I had managed to locate all of the coats I had collected for a local woman’s shelter and I had even managed to get them all in the same bag and into my car. The kids were dressed nicely, the baby’s things were packed, we were actually on time and, most importantly, I was donning one very silly Spartan helmet.
I flew into the Church and straight to the daycare just as I always seem to do. Hurried, tired, hot, flushed–you get the idea. I was worried about the eggs sloshing around in my bakeware, the beads of sweat making their way out of my helmet and dripping down my carefully made up face….
And, then it happened. I looked around to see that my lovely 4-year-old had not followed me into the daycare room. When I saw him crouching outside, head bent down, with wet eyes, trying to quietly slink away, I realized this was going to be one of those times. He was acting out. He was going to refuse to go into the daycare.
He was embarrassing me.
He was ruining my day.
My cheeks became even hotter as I surrendered my eggs and bag of coats, gathered up my children and retreated to my van as quickly as possible. I didn’t want the other women to see the tears that were coming. But I know some of them did. And I’m convinced they must think I’m absolutely crazy. And, not in a good way.
But, I didn’t want to stand in the lobby of my Church and have that struggle with my stubborn 4-year-old so that I could go to a party. I didn’t want to continue standing there while some of the other ladies tried to entice him to stay, tried to pacify him. Because I know him, and I knew that today he wasn’t going to budge. And even if he did, at some point–well,by that point I would be tired, defeated and make-up less.
I just didn’t feel like it anymore.
I was angry.
I was hurt.
I mean, I needed that party. I had looked forward to that party. As a mother who works from home I very much enjoy the time I have each week with my Bible study ladies, while my children are in daycare.
At least those were the thoughts that played themselves out in my head as I wept on the drive home. And my 4-year-old sat in stunned silence in the back seat. Until he said meekly, “Why are you crying? Can we still go back to your party?”
As angry as I was that statement tugged on my heart and I was glad that at least, at that moment, this little hellion understood. The hurt that his selfishness and stubbornness could cause other people was actually becoming real to him. He cared that I was upset due to his actions. And, that mattered to me.
I knew too that this was much more than him simply wanting to ruin my day out of malice. I knew that this was my little boy’s cry for help. A cry that has been present and yet stifled over the past few weeks because it’s just easy for him to get overlooked in between his older brother’s school work and sports, and his younger siblings very basic needs.
After having a private heart to heart with him and then confining him to his room to think for a while, I put the other little ones to nap, took an aspirin and a long hot shower.
I tend to do some of my best thinking in the shower.
I thought about how in the past I could have easily buried myself in my bed for the remainder of the day and wallowed in my sadness. But these days I have become stronger in my faith, thank God. And so instead of drawing the blinds and escaping to my bed…
I thought about the Why. And, I remembered that I am not in control. Not only was God reminding me that there was a little boy who had some issues that needed to be addressed. But, he was also reminding me that life does not go according to my plan. You see, I had gotten so busy the last few days working, tending to the house and getting our things ready for this party and the upcoming holidays. So busy that I hadn’t prayed enough. So busy that I hadn’t opened my Bible every day.
But, today God humbled me.
He was telling me that I couldn’t just love him, push him to the side whenever I felt like it and just show up to Church to mingle at my party. He was reminding me that yes, the relationships and support I get from the women’s group is good. But that His love and growing closer to Him are better. He was reminding me that I can’t allow myself to get so busy that I just keep moving and manage to fly in and show up for the “fun” in Church.
That I have to be present in my walk with him.
All the time.
And after much prayer and reflection I was at peace. There will be other parties, after all. But right now, there’s this little boy who needs me.
And, there’s this loving, mighty, wonderful God.
And I need him.
“For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you”, declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29: 11-14