It's been a while since I have posted a tell-all blog confessional, but today is a day for one. The last couple of days have been adding up, things have fallen to pieces around me, and I am confident you won't judge me by the following paragraphs.
(If you are not so confident, then feel free to stop reading.)
We just returned from a week in Chicago, which was a beautiful blend of extended family, friends from every circle and decade, memories old and new, and a feast of as much Chicago pizza as one can squeeze into eight days. It was so much fun, so jam-packed, and so what we wanted it to be.
As I have said before, a vacation for the boys is a vacation for me, so I relax a bit on the rules when we're away from home. It's a TV frenzy, routines are abandoned, and boundaries are relaxed. Add in grandparents, uncles, and aunts who think our children hang the moon, and you'll eventually find two little boys who spend a good bit of time eating lots of cookies and candy and not often hearing 'no.'
Now we are home, and we have entered the character re-structuring phase of re-entry. As a result, the boys and I are not even remotely fond of each other. We love each other out of commitment, but we are not often smiling over our deligh in each other.
In our not-so-shining moments of the last few days:
... Tucker has made up a new song that he sings only when he is intentionally tormenting his brother.
... Tyler has learned and practiced the phrases: "I don't want to talk to you," "You are not my favorite," and "I don't like you." Sweet. I'll tuck those away to play again and again in my mind.
... We cannot get far enough away from each other. And never for quite enough time.
... Tyler and I were out-screaming each other over one battle or another. Or perhaps, one battle, and then another. Out-screaming. That's a nice mental picture for you. (I finally had to ask myself: who is the adult here? I think it's supposed to be you, SuperMom.)
... I asked to hug my children, in an act of reconciliation, and Tucker said, "Are you still mean?" And Tyler said, "Are you finished being angry?" Well, that launched us right into a dialogue of defining mean and angry, offering humility, and accepting forgiveness. Those are not my favorite, however important they are. (Especially when I seem to be the only one asking forgiveness around here.)
It hasn't been great. And really, what I really want is to be apart from them. For just a while. Okay, for just a good long while.
That sentence produces some intense guilt, from even the most realistic of mothers, I daresay.
A dear friend (who also lost her mind a few times as a mother, and I know, because I'm her daughter) told me what she had just read in the Bible. She said, "Oh, Tricia, this should encourage you. Listen to this."
I was ready for her to open her Bible and tell me something about sparing the rod and spoiling the child, or love is patient and love is kind, or I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Which I know and believe and can definitely find encouragement in, but my heart was not especially soft or penetrable.
I'm just sayin'.
But instead, she read to me from Exodus, when Moses was leading the Israelites. Those stubborn, strong-willed, near-sighted Israelites. God and Moses were both pretty frustrated with this crew, and The Message says God finally got to his boiling point.
God said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You're one hard-headed people. I couldn't stand being with you for even a moment—I'd destroy you. So take off all your jewelry until I figure out what to do with you.'" ~ Exodus 33: 5-6
By golly, yes. I do find encouragement in that. Even God reached his capacity for closeness with these people. "I couldn't stand being with you for even a moment . . . Go away, until I figure out what to do with you."
He loves them, he forgives them, and he continues to lead them, but for heaven's sake. He needed a minute.
This is a God who knows me.
Grace for today, please, God. You know the kind I need.