My first born, my sweet Smithers ….
This one is ALL boy. 😉
Smith was named after his great-grandfather, my Pa who passed away a few years before Smith was born ….
and my Pa often had this exact same look on his face.
My Smithers is about a month away from graduating kindergarten.
How did that happen?
I told him this morning that I am not going to let him graduate. I am going to make him do kindergarten again next year because I just can’t handle it. 😉
This morning he had to “dress up” (collared shirt and buttoned shorts) for his graduation pictures. My boy is much more comfortable in cotton athletic shorts from Osh Kosh and T-shirts. Lately, he prefers sleeveless shirts so he can show off his muscles. 😉
Anyway, we have had some VERY difficult school drop-off mornings this year.
There have been mornings in which I have had to walk him into the school to his classroom and he has followed me back out of the school, crying, not letting go.
There have been other mornings in which my sister-in-law, his Aunt Pooh, who teaches at his school, has met us in the parking lot and literally dragged him into the building.
And there have been some mornings in which I have dropped Smith off at my Mama’s house, when she was substitute teaching at his school, and I had to forcibly shove him into her car and then hurry up and shut the car door before he could chase me down the driveway.
Really. I am not exaggerating. At all.
It’s been fun y’all.
When he was a baby everyone kept telling me I was holding him too much but I wouldn’t listen. 😉
Thankfully, our morning drop-off routine has become MUCH easier for both of us.
This morning, I dropped him off, strapped on his parachute (his book bag – I pretend he is jumping out of a plane, he rolls his eyes at me), handed him his lunchbox and went around the van to climb back in. As I was getting ready to pull off there was a knock on the passenger side window and there was my boy, on the verge of tears, saying that the doors to the school were locked. Thankfully, he held it together and the tears did not come. I got out and went to the front of the school to wait until someone arrived.
(We weren’t that early and he wasn’t the only kid.)
But, this morning reminded me of a morning a few months ago that did not go as well …..
A few months ago, on a morning when the weather was still trying to decide whether or not to move on from winter, it was cold and damp and dreary. Smith woke up saying that his tummy hurt and that he didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t really think much of it as he had been experiencing a string of “sick days.” He would try anything and everything to get out of school. He said the days were too long. 😉 Plus, as this year has been the first for Smith in public school and Charlie in daycare both boys had already been sick a lot and I had missed a lot of work to stay home with them. I was really feeling the pressure that I could NOT miss any more school.
So, anyway, he said his tummy hurt, but I just figured it was another excuse. Plus, I knew we had been out late the night before and I just thought he was probably still tired from not getting enough sleep. I almost considered calling in sick yet again but, instead, told him to “Suck it up, buttercup.” (one of Charlie’s favorite catch phrases) and we headed out the door for school.
Fast forward about five minutes, we pull up to the front door of the school, I go around to his side of the van to open the door and he is still crying that his tummy hurts. By the time I drag him, his book bag, and his lunchbox out of the van, cars are beginning to line up behind us and, at least in my mind, we are making a scene.
He will not go into school. But I know I can’t leave the van where it is because we are blocking the pull through. Smith is just standing in the middle of the road crying and I am panicking as the line behind us gets longer and longer.
So I tell him to get out of the road, to stand on the sidewalk and I say: “Stay right there. Don’t move.” I was probably not very nice about it because I was so frustrated. Why do mornings always have to be so difficult?
My intention is to move out of the way so cars can get by me, to pull over, to get out and to walk him into school. But because I was frustrated with him I probably did not communicate clearly. As soon as I start pulling forward he thinks I am leaving him.
I will never forget the sight of him crying, bowing his head, turning to walk into the school all by himself, thinking his Mama had abandoned him.
That was not my intention! I was not planning to just drive off and leave him but that is what he thought I was doing. My heart broke as I watched him walk in by himself. And to further the heartbreak for both of us, I knew it would only makes things worse if I went inside to find him. I knew it would just make it harder for him if he saw me again.
So I did pull over and I did go to the front door of the school to make sure he got in okay but I couldn’t let him see me because then the crying would only intensify. Once I saw that he was safely inside, still crying, I did get back in the van to head to work.
By this point I was crying too.
As much as it broke my heart to drive away and leave my Smithers walking into his school head down, crying, I knew that I had to leave him there. For his own good he had to go to school. And for my own good I had to go to work.
Being a Mama is hard!!
Maybe you aren’t dealing with difficult morning drop-offs.
Maybe you are dealing with a sassy, mouthy teenager (or a 3 year old who thinks he is a teenager – but more on Charlie in another post) 😉
Maybe your child is not making the best choices in who he is choosing to hang out with …
Maybe your teenage daughter is searching for love and validation in all the wrong places and you see boys taking advantage of her precious heart and body …
Maybe your child is harming herself physically through an eating disorder or cutting …
We want our children to love us, but more than that, so much more, we want our children to know the love that we have for them.
And sometimes that can be hard because a part of loving our children is disciplining them. Even when we see our child suffering from heartache and pain, when all we want to do is scoop them up, cover them with hugs and kisses, give them anything they want to make all the hurt go away ….
Sometimes it is not our job to make it all better – sometimes it is our job as Mama to stay strong and discipline our children.
Sometimes I have to allow my own heart to break a little in order to allow my child’s heart to strengthen.
At 6 and 3 the most difficult challenges I face with my boys are the two of them pulling down their pants to “potty” in the Wal-Mart parking lot, spitting at one another, or not picking up their toys because their “arm, legs, hands” (it changes daily) is broken.
But I know in a few years our challenges may be much greater.
What happens when I find out one of my children has been drinking or experimenting with drugs?
What do I do when I discover that my teenage boys have become sexually active?
What do I do if I find inappropriate pictures of girls from their school on their phones?
God, help me, what do I do?
I must start praying now.
I can’t say that “my boys will never behave badly.” Of course I certainly hope that my children will be absolutely perfect in every way but that isn’t going to happen. We all make mistakes and my boys will too. I pray that in 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and beyond that my boys will make wise choices.
But I know I cannot control their actions.
What I can do, starting now, is to do my best as their Mama to make sure that they are rooted and established in love (Ephesians 3:17).
I want them to know my love, but much, much greater than the love that this Mama has for her boys is the love that our Father God has for my children, who are His much more than they are mine.
And I must remember that as much as my heart could burst with love for my children, my Father has a love for them (and me!) that is wider, longer, higher and deeper than anything I could ever imagine. (Ephesians 3:18)
Just as I must discipline my children and hold them (or prune them) back to keep them safe; sometimes my Father must prune me back to allow me to grow and bear fruit. (John 15:2)
And just as I sometimes have to take things away from my boys in order to allow them to learn difficult lessons, sometimes our Father must take things away from us that are harmful to His plan for our lives.
I imagine that sometimes His heart breaks a little over us as He grows, enlarges, stretches, and strengthens our hearts.
Sometimes, for our own good, He must allow heartache and heartbreak to enter into our lives.
Just like our own children, we often think that this life is unfair – we can’t understand why this awful thing is happening to us!
But we have to KNOW that He works all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
How often have you felt like my sweet boy ….. kicked to the curb, left on your own, abandoned?
How many times have you cried out to God, unsure of where He is in your life?
Wondering what, if anything at all, He is doing?
How often have you felt your heart ache and break because you felt nothing but silence from God?
But don’t you know …. just because He is silent doesn’t mean He isn’t right there beside you.
He may not answer exactly right when you want Him to but He is always with you and He will always answer in His divine timing.
He promises us: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
My Smithers didn’t know but I really didn’t leave him all alone. Not all all. He didn’t know, but I went back to check on him. I text-ed my sister-in-law to make sure he was okay. I emailed his teachers. I prayed for him all day.
Doesn’t our Father do so much more for us everyday? More than we could possibly fathom or imagine ….
You may feel as if you have been kicked to the curb but you have to know you have not been abandoned.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
He hears your cries.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
He is making a way for you.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.