Re-post March ’08
“No. No games today- you’ve been online WAY too much, we’re having a family day.” As the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were “fighting words.”
No worries-I was ready for a knock down, drag out, go the distance type battle. In my arsenal I had the classic Mom weapons of: “Because, I Said So” and “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll do as I say.” And- a Mom’s best weapon- I was right. Balance had gone out the window with a new online game to conquer. Something had to be done and I was just the mom to do it.
However- my being right was quickly lost in doing wrong. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one prepared for a fight. The child with whom I had engaged in battle- is most certainly, his mothers son. We verbally dodged and paried for half an hour. He gave (loud) reasons why the weekends should be his to do what he wants and I gave (even louder) reasons why he WOULD be doing what I said.
At some point, I forgot what the argument was about. I didn’t care. It was now about making my kid (now, really a man) do what I said. Because I said so.
At one point, I looked over to find the youngest. He was trying to lip-read the Disney Channel with his fingers in his ears. He looked like a bystander in a spaghetti western gun-fight. Afraid a stray that might hit him.
The yelling finally tapered off. The emotion did not. The computers stayed off (HA! I won.) and everyone got ready for church. We were even running EARLY. (An event, here. This does not happen often.) However, the car ride was eerily quiet. There were short, stilted tries at conversation. All of which were answered with one word-non conversational answers. “Yes. No.” Hurt, frustration and anger filled the car like smoke. It choked and strangled the conversation and the relationships.
Winning didn’t feel like I’d hoped it would.
Eventually, we drove in uncomfortable silence. We walked in to church together but separate. We quietly took our seats. A video played. It showed a family “connecting” via text, blog and cell, but not with each other. I squirmed in my seat.
I looked at the notes in our program they were entitled “MySpace, or Ours?” Over the next few minutes- music, video and message communicated the message that had been lost in our verbal battle. We laughed that unfomfortable: “who followed us to church with a camera” laugh. My son kept elbowing me though out the service. “Can you believe THIS is what church is about today??? It’s weird!” He said.
“It’s God.” I replied. And started to feel the iceberg between us melt with the heat of truth gently shared.
In that short hour or so, both of our attitudes had changed. I watched my Man/Boy respond to God through the ministry of the service. I watched him squirm, under the gentle conviction of an unbalanced life reflected on, and I squirmed along side of him, under conviction of another sort.
I didn’t think I was wrong. But- I knew I had DONE wrong… The same message that I had wanted to communicate to Him, was communicated through out the entire service- with humor, with creativity and with respect. All tools that I both profess and possess, but had thrown out the window as soon as I forgot I was the Mom and started a death match over control. Ouch. Mommy-fail
We spent the afternoon at the Outdoorama. (I feared permament blindness from all the camouflage.) We ate junk food (nothing like a concession stand corn dog. YUM.) and I watched all three kids and their Dad fish in a giant bathtub. (Well, a trout pond, same thing. ) No less than 4 times throughout the day, my oldest said he was glad we had spent it together and that he knew we were right. (The Dad had wisely stated his opinion without actually getting caught up in our battle… a very wise man.)
Eventually, it hit me. My son was more mature than I was. He had admitted he was wrong, he had allowed God to change his attitude. I however, had not. I wasn’t wrong in what I said… but I was wrong in how I said it. I hate that. It totally saps the joy from being right.
The bus will bring him home this afternoon, and I will be here, waiting to apologize…….for forgetting I was the Mom;)
“Dear Lord- … I love you – and ask you to help me to communicate in a way that honors you and the children you’ve entrusted to my temporary care. Help me to DO right as well as BE right! amen.”