Sometimes, the boys are ornery.
They trudge upstairs and then stomp around. They have claws drawn and teeth bared and through scowled brows, challenge each other to just dare to get in their way.
They yell, they be-little, they growl, they offend.
They tolerate nothing.
EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING offends them.
I have learned that if I react to their behavior, it feeds the ugliness.
If I can corner them, away for their peers, for just a moment, I can whisper sweet nothings and calm their spirits.
I can remind them that if everything is bothering them, the problem isn't everything, it is them.
Sometimes, that is hard to swallow, but I excuse them to their room to breathe and relax and pray and transform back into the loving man-child they are.
If the offense is rooted deeply, I follow them into their room, invite them to kneel, and I pray.
I thank Heavenly Father for them. I list their talents and virtues individually and tell Heavenly Father the important part they play in our home. Then, I implore Him to help my son overcome his frustrations and feel love and peace and joy.
Sunday was one of those days. The offense came from small, unkind quips and inconsiderate behaviors and not having help when help was needed.
By the time we were on our way to church, tensions were running high. A gentle reminder to not yell requests from one room to the other, but deliver the requests face-to-face was the last straw.
I LOST IT!
I yelled inappropriate AND unkind accusations at my tall son.
I slammed the doors to the van.
In the parking lot.
I was in no condition to walk in, so I stomped... quietly.
R was already there, on our side pew. I pushed past, ignoring his greeting smile and then puzzled look. With R as a barrier between the children and myself, I pressed my shoulder to the wall, willing it to give way and swallow me up.
Instead, I was pulled away by a firm pulsing grip on my hand. The tears started to fall, but were quickly caught by the tissue that had been pressed into my palm... just like when we saw Stella together on our first outing (not a date because it was the first day we met and were with a big group of friends).
He was in my corner. He was telling me he had my back.
As I sat, I realized that my tall son had remained calm. He never did react to my tantrum.
I was offended because some of his words stung. They were true and it hurt.
I nursed my wounded pride and half listened to the speakers and the lessons.
Later that day, I told R of all my ugliness. He loved my anyway.
I apologized, and so did L.
It is a hard lesson for me to learn that my kids see me as I really am. It is hard to realize that I really do have to step up and do what I teach. All of it. I have to be better than I want them to be.
I have to listen to what the Spirit tells me to tell them:
If everything is bothering me, the problem is not everything, it is me...
And then take a time out...
...Before it gets ugly.