This morning did not go as I had planned. Maybe it’s because I feel so tired. I haven’t slept well for several nights and don’t know why. We all do that at times. And you know how those long nights are, when every little issue in life is magnified. Nothing is horribly wrong, but even my to-do list seems overwhelming at one in the morning! But all of this is an excuse, really, and I know it.
Aaron had a dental appointment this morning. I looked forward to this being a morning of Aaron being in a compliant, happy mood because he would be looking forward to lunch and maybe a Wal-Mart trip. Instead, I found Aaron down on my computer, looking up cheat codes for a game. I fussed at him and he got off, but came up to my room wanting to know if I would print off some cheat codes for him. He was carrying a large sheaf of stapled-together codes that he said a staff member at Paradigm had printed off for him. It was very large – the number on the last sheet was 77! And Aaron wanted me to print it off again………at least that’s what he said……….and so began the very frustrating process of trying to figure out the why and the what of Aaron’s request.
Aaron couldn’t explain to me exactly what it was he wanted me to print, even as I explained to him that I was not printing 77 pages – that he already had! He began to escalate, and then hit my dresser with his fist as he walked out. Thus ensued the fight – not physically, but verbally. I was trying to understand what he wanted and at the same time calm him down, all the while feeling my tiredness and my exasperation mounting. Soon I was yelling……..and Aaron was yelling……..and I yelled louder………and Aaron responded likewise. It was a lose-lose situation all the way around. I backed off and walked away, taking a few minutes to calm down and then approaching Aaron again as he headed toward my room. We came to an agreement……….more of a stalemate……..and soon left for the dentist. Both of us were quiet and rather depleted. And I was feeling very guilty.
Aaron waited for me in the van as I put something in the mailbox, picked up the newspaper, and got the empty trash cans ready to roll back to the house. I took a step or two and then saw it……….a weed growing up between a crack in our driveway. What would have been an ugly weed, except for one thing. Growing on that weed were such delicate little violet blooms that I had to stop in my tracks and stare down at it. Those little blooms transformed that otherwise annoying weed into a soft spot of beauty on our driveway. Instantly my heart was pricked. My behavior with Aaron not an hour earlier was ugly and hateful. I let my tiredness and my selfishness call the shots instead of letting the Holy Spirit empower me to respond to Aaron with love and kindness.
Out of my nasty behavior, I needed something soft and pretty to grow……..something that only Christ could enable to bloom. Forgiveness. In particular, to BE forgiven by Aaron. I’ve read and studied a lot about forgiveness over the past few years. In fact, I just listened to some on-line lessons last week on this very subject. I know quite a bit about the anatomy of extending forgiveness and being forgiven. Could I practice this today? With my child? With Aaron?
I know that asking for true forgiveness means naming the sin you have committed, without making excuses for your behavior, and asking to be forgiven. As Aaron and I ate lunch, I waited for him to pause in his monologue of the moment and then I said, “Aaron, I’m very sorry that I got so angry this morning. I’m sorry I yelled and acted hateful to you.” Aaron looked at me, gave a little grunt, and stuffed more pizza into his mouth. I continued, “So Aaron, will you forgive me?” Another grunt. And I repeated, “Will you forgive me?” And he said, “Yeah. Hey, did you know that I woke up at 8:33 but I stayed in bed, and then got up at 9:04?”
I chuckled. This is as good as it will get with Aaron in the forgiveness department. Oh, he heard me loud and clear………..and he registered every word that I said. He may still call me weird, as he did earlier…….or maybe not. He knows, though, that I am sorry. He knows that I love him. He knows that I am human……..and weird sometimes.
And I know that a little flower began to bloom in my guilt-ridden heart. For I had also asked God to forgive me and He did more than grunt. He has given me assurances all over His Word that He is there, waiting with open arms to forgive………..and to forget! I can’t forget my behavior, but I pray that I will once again learn from my failure and grow in this issue of forgiveness. Grow and bloom………beauty from ashes, God says.
Just like my little driveway weed.
Here we go again. I heard it from upstairs…….the sound of the plastic containers full of coffee hitting the floor and then the thump. My heart sank as I hurried downstairs to check on Aaron. He was fine, although sprawled on the floor with spilled coffee all around him. He jerked and dropped his coffee yet again………lukewarm coffee, thankfully. And thankfully he didn’t throw his coffee containers as he has been known to do when he’s in a rage. This was a true accident, but messy and discouraging none the less.
I was frustrated with Aaron this morning over a couple things already and this didn’t help, believe me. My compassion for him still hasn’t quite kicked in yet. He has cleaned up and showered, and seems to be fine. I hope he’s not bruised.
I just stood and looked at this mess………coffee all over the floor, the cabinets, on and under the frig. UGH! And I thought of how many times I’ve just felt like throwing in the towel. We all do, don’t we, whether we are parents or not. But we can’t quit. God doesn’t and we can’t. Especially as parents……….these children are given to us by God and He wants us to hang in there despite how tough it sometimes is.
So instead of throwing IN the towel, we throw ON a towel. We clean the messes up step by step, bit by bit. We’ll see progress one day, even if it’s slow to come…………even when we just stand there and don’t know where to start. God gives patience; and God gives us the same grace toward our children or others that He has extended to us. We clean up the messes, whatever they may be, and we push forward.
The rest of the day is before us. It’s up to me now not to mess up my reactions and my attitudes. I’ll need to grab another towel if I’m not careful!
It’s been one of those mornings. You know……..one of THOSE mornings. I went to bed bothered by worrisome issues that I should not go to bed being bothered by……….those worrisome issues. Can’t end that sentence in a preposition. 🙂 I went to my new location in Andrea’s old room that I’ve set up for myself……..a new desk and an alone place to have my quiet time. The new location didn’t seem to help. I felt stifled and ineffective in my time with the Lord this morning. Distracted…….and thinking that I needed to dodge my prayers that were bouncing off the ceiling, going no where. Is Satan unhappy about my desire for a more intimate time with the Lord? Perhaps.
Later, I looked at the weather forecast and the upcoming week of temps above 100 and no rain only increased my weariness. Our scratchy dog with allergies; laundry waiting to be washed or put away; dishes to take care of; even a Supreme Court ruling and an election in Egypt that I don’t agree with were piling up in my mind. Talk about taking on the cares of the world. Come on, Patty. This is really ridiculous!
After my shower, I heard good old Aaron in the hall. “Mom?” I told him that I would be out in a minute. I could tell that I would have very little patience with him today………shame on me. He thumped downstairs to take his pills and thumped back up to see if we could now talk. I again told him to wait……….and when I did open my door, he was in his room and promptly told me to come look at his finger. He held it up for me as I walked in, and there it was………….his index finger, all wrapped up in a bloody band-aid.
My patience was even less now. “Mom, last night I had some loose skin and so I used my knife to cut it off.” Oh Aaron. We’ve heard this story before and I knew what was coming………..and it did. He wanted to know if he should have used his little pocket knife to cut off the skin; why not?; what would I use?; that he couldn’t help it that the knife slipped, etc., and etc. I removed the band-aid and saw the raw wound where he had cut or pulled off his loose skin. I could feel my irritation increasing. I told him to go shower…………his whole body, by the way, not just his finger! I know how he thinks.
Aaron showered and then came to my bathroom, where I further cleaned and medicated and dressed his wound. He could sense my mood and so he scurried on downstairs, deciding to get his own coffee and carry it to his room himself without bothering his moody mom. Soon I heard, “Mom, I spilled some coffee but I’ll clean it up.” Oh goodness, Aaron! Where did you spill coffee? “On the stairs. I’ll clean it up!” No, Aaron…….I’ll get it. All the while, I was muttering under my breath about how this is the last thing I needed and why did he have to carry the coffee up himself when he’s so shaky and of all mornings…………
Then I saw the spill, which looked more like a gushing of coffee. It was splattered on several stairs, but one stair in particular was soaked with coffee. Oh Aaron! Look at this mess! Next I saw coffee on the living room floor, so got the Swiffer and mopped that section. I headed for the soppy stairs, with Aaron saying, “I’ll clean it up, Mom!” But I grabbed towels and began the clean-up, while Aaron then said, “Here, I’ll help.” He proceeded to carry a wad of paper towels from the kitchen into the living room and instead of heading for the stairs where I was, he started wiping off the piano. WHAT??!! Sure enough, some coffee had splattered onto the piano and Aaron was working to clean up the brown spots…………….while he stood on the still-wet floor. I went from unhappy to unhappier, all the while muttering about how my nerves couldn’t take much more and of all mornings and please, Aaron, don’t talk right now………..
I continued my shallow thinking as I realized that I would indeed have a bad hair day, no matter what I did to try to improve the mess on my head. The clothes I chose to wear today didn’t help any, nor did the sandals. No time to change all that now. Of all days for me to have a doctor appointment, I moaned to myself. Little annoyances for the remainder of the morning reminded me of my misery. Aaron and I hurried out the door, stopping at the grocery store on our way to meet his group. I had promised him a Cheddar Pasta Salad to take to his group. Of all mornings to need to leave early, I grumbled.
At the deli counter, as we waited to be served, Aaron began to notice all the dishes. He leaned over and oohed and aahed over the Deviled Egg Potato Salad, The Layered Salad, the Fruit Salad, the German sandwiches, the Spaghetti Salad…………and his joy over simple food began to silence my distasteful attitude. He had moved beyond spilled coffee, bad hair, wounded finger, scratchy dog, and hot temps. He noticed the good things before him. As we walked out with not only his Cheddar Pasta Salad, but also a bottle of flavored water and some Skittles, he chattered happily about anything and everything. If I wasn’t listening, I would have missed his observation that the entrance sidewalk at the Warren Theater is, in his words, “…….twinkle stone. Does it have jewelry in it, Mom?”
I had to pause in my heart and smile. As we drove to meet his group, I told him that I was sorry about my attitude that morning. He didn’t say a word, but I know he filed that apology in his mind. I needed to say it and he needed to hear it from his grouchy mother this morning. Later, at Sassy Nails, I sat across from a stranger – another mom – while our toes dried. We talked and she shared how her sister had died of cancer, and how through it all she had blessings to be thankful for. This woman, this mom, this sister, had no idea about how much I needed to hear those words. How easy it is to let the slight troubles of my life ruin my disposition and take my mind off the Lord!
So I have counted my blessings for the rest of the day:
1. The spilled coffee matches the carpet, especially in the dim light.
2. A coffee smell on the stairs beats a dog smell any day.
3. The living room needed to be mopped anyway.
4. My new pink toes hopefully took the doctor’s eyes away from my bad hair.
5. I do have hair.
6. It may be 107 degrees outside, but we have working AC inside.
7. It may be 107 degrees outside, but I don’t have to be outside working.
8. It may be 107 degrees outside, but we have water for our thirsty garden.
9. Our neighbors have to move for various hard reasons, and the man taking pics of their house this morning wasn’t taking pics of our house.
10. I have a faithful God; loving husband and children; and Aaron to remind me of what’s important.
And I have forgiveness – God’s forgiveness – and even Aaron’s forgiveness……..unspoken but there none the less.