Friday, July 25, 2014

7QT (Vol. 95): Wanting Revenge

Last night, Anne and Peter fell asleep at 8:30 and 9ish, respectively. For the first time in a very long time, Anne slept through the night. She woke at 6:30 to nurse, then went back to sleep until 10:15. Peter came into my room about 7:15, then fell asleep next to me until almost 10:00. Neither of them are sick, but they had no naps yesterday and are stressed about Daddy being out of town. Still, I took the 13 hours of sleep as a portent of a good day.

They had breakfast and got dressed in enough time to get to the 11:15 communion service, where they did fairly well, until the very end. Peter got mad at me and took off his sandal in protest. (It's just something he does. Maybe because at some point I'll put it back on?) I ignored him, then scooped up him and his sandal after the closing song, took Anne's hand and power-walked out of the sanctuary. He was thrashing all the way, then let go an ear-piercing squeal just as we got to the hallway. A woman (who has made pointed comments in the past about me bringing my children to church) gave me a dirty look and - to her credit - muttered, "God bless you," and stalked out.

The day didn't particularly improve. He was pushing every limit and encouraging Anne to do the same all afternoon. We made it through dinner fairly well, had a fun and happy bathtime, and then it was bed time. For over an hour. The initial trigger was my refusal to read a book after he threw it on the floor, then escalated when he kicked me and I left his room. He followed me into my room, screaming and pulling things off the bed.

I should have physically stopped him and helped him regain control, but I'd had it by that point. What I wanted to do was slap him, so what I did was barricade myself in our walk-in closet and pray. I prayed for grace to get through this and for the ability to let go of my anger. What I wanted was revenge, but that would teach him nothing. When God had helped me regain control and restored my relationship with Him, I tried to do the same with Peter.

When he reached another calm in his storm, I told him it was time to fix the bedroom. I gave him one instruction at a time and helped tuck in the sheets and straighten the comforter when he asked politely. Then we moved into his room where we repeated the process with the toys he had strewn during a tantrum earlier this week. As he put the environment back in order, he got himself more in control, too. Finally, we were ready to snuggle and talk.

Are you sorry you wrecked things?
Well, that was just me saying that even if you did still love me, I didn't love you.
Do you love me now?
Good. I love you, too.
Are you sorry you got angry at me?
Yes. I'm sorry for being angry at you. Will you forgive me?
[bedtime prayers and lullabies]
me: I love you. I'll always love you. (a prompt for what follows)
P: Even when I kick you?
Yes. I don't like what you're doing, but I still love you. I'll always love you.
P: Even when I'm angry at you?
Yes, I still love you. I'll always love you.
P: Even you're angry at me?
Yes, I still love you. I'll always love you. Do you still love me when I'm angry at you?
P: Yes, I still love you. I'll always love you. (ends that 'script') Do you know how much I love you?
How much?
P: Up to Heaven.
Oh good. Goodnight, sweet boy, I love you.
P: Mommy, will you love me until you and me both die?
Yes, always.
P: OK, goodnight.

I know he got off his sleep schedule, didn't eat much lunch, and desperately misses Daddy, especially at bedtime. I know I didn't respond well to the warning signs earlier in the day. I know I could have been a better parent. But tonight, I'm not feeling guilty or even particularly worn-out. I am grateful. I am grateful for God's grace and forgiveness. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach instead of punish. I am grateful for the love of my son, a love strong enough to survive even our bad days.

Forever my sweet boy

Read more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary


  1. Oh, I have this kind of conversation with my boy. Thank you for sharing so articulately, and well done you.