Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small Success Thursday

Two nights ago, my toddler kept getting out of bed.  I know it was because I announced that everyone needed a good night's sleep for Tera Nova testing.  After a normal tuck in, a extra water tuck in, a I forgot to brush my teeth tuck in (she hadn't), a you didn't read me a story complaint, a I need my dolphin and monkey announcement, and the kicker, "I can't sleep" bulletin, I got mad.   There were four more runs up the stairs to turn off lights and demand that she stay in bed.  By the time all lights were out, I was exhausted mentally and emotionally.  Even worse, I knew that I would be a single mom for the next three days with their father out of town.

Frustrated, I talked to my mom.  She suggested cuddling for ten minutes.  I confess, I didn't want to.  I wanted to threaten major carnage if she even peeped.  "I can tell that's good advice." I said.

"Why?" my mom asked.

"Because I really really really don't want to do it.  But I KNOW it will work." But good advice is hard to ignore.  I filed it away in my head for the next evening.

Wednesday, I took the kids to IHOP for dinner (as a bribe) for getting the oil changed and then picking up their older brother from the metro.  Impuslively after picking him up, I announced we were going to confession. 

The day had been filled with little fights and I wanted a clean slate, not to mention strength for the next few days of solo parenting.

Coming home, I had to rush through bed time but I made SURE we'd brushed teeth, read a story and said prayers.  I climbed into her bed.  She looked shocked.  "Why are you here?" she asked. 

"I thought I'd give you an extra snuggle to help you sleep." I offered.  She put her hand on my face.  "You are really beautiful Mom." she said.  I blinked.  Why had I not wanted this?  Sublimation if only for a moment understood properly, was everything.

I went downstairs where my oldest was playing computer games.  "Have you studied for the SAT?" I asked.
He gave me a "Don't nag look."  "You know, I just came from tucking in your sister."  I explained that the best advice is often that which we know is right but don't want to follow.  "You should study." I finished and left the room.  He sat there staring at the screen and then I heard "Man....that.....just.....rots."

He grabbed his book and set the timer. His smile at me said, "I'm going to do this." Grace works that way, at least in this household.

This morning, my toddler came in to wake me up and despite a lost shoe, despite a child having knots in her hair and an occasional mutter under the breath, there were no fights while we got all 8 loaded into the car.  (My oldest takes the bus).   

The oldest two daughters take turns occupying the front seat.  The oldest got there first even though it wasn't her week.  She wanted to argue about being able to sit in the front row.  I explained that she wasn't being fair to her sister.  She started to counter, but I admittedly shut it down, "If you say yes, but, you aren't done fighting, you're trying to win after the fact."  She sat trying to get around it.  "If you know it's the right thing and you are fighting it, you need to ask yourself why? It's usually about wanting what you want, about satisfying one's self."  She sat there with the same sort of wry closed mouth grin.

Like exercise, like saving for a big item, like all gratification deferred, it is a peculiar pleasure to chose grace.   I don't know how long we can keep this up, but it's 9:52 am and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the day. 

The theme of the day, "Less, less, less of me Lord, More, More More of You."


Anonymous said...

It is about emptying yourself, and becoming a servant.

MightyMom said...

can I have your mom's number? somedays I really need advice like that!

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