Just the other day, each child had a friend over and I took them to get ice cream. So, I was feeling like mother of the year. A playdate AND ice cream. However, the day was getting long and the complaints were getting to me.
They needed more snacks.
They needed a different song. And louder.
They couldn’t find this or that.
The complaints kept coming and my frustration was mounting.
And I came unraveled at the moment of nuts and a banana split.
Two of the children were sharing a banana split and they didn’t want nuts. One child did have a nut allergy, but it was the face and the TUDE that I got from my child when they were handed the messed up order.
“Mom, they put nuts. Get us another one”
And with a look of death from me to her – she got it. She took her nutty delight to the table and ate it. And I got the allergy sweet child something else.
As I sat at the table with the four typical children who were being children – I began to cry. Literal tears falling from my face. I felt defeated. I was trying probably too hard to make their days fun and wonderful and say YES to every little thing. I am definitely guilty of saying YES too often. I’ll take ownership for over-serving the sweet lambs.
I think my heart was breaking most at the overwhelming lack of…
GRATITUDE and CONTENTMENT
My kids are so so sweet and so very 7 and 9. But I had a real moment of sadness. Feeling like a tired, stepped on mom. Ella noticed that behind my sunglasses were tears. I could see it register on her face. I wasn’t crying to make her feel bad – I really just felt DONE.
I wiped them off and asked them to tell me a few things they enjoyed from the day. And I asked for them to say thanks. I applauded the child who thanked me on her own.
As I am writing this, I am thinking of me. How often am I this child to my heavenly Father? I want another chair, smaller jeans, more book sales, another prayer answered and I wonder if He is just sad? I wonder if He feels the same way as a parent who is just begging for us to turn towards gratitude and contentment? I wonder if Ron feels that way when he gets home – that I’m just a girl with a list – begging for more.
It’s OK to desire, but how often does the WHINE of our desire drown out the PRAISE of our gratitude?
That noise can be consuming and take over my day. I want the theme of my day of my children and our car and our conversations to be “we have enough” and “thank you Lord” and “what a great day” vs “what else can we get?” and “one more please?” and “well she has that.”
So.. how do we turn the tide?
For me, I believe it starts with starting my day with Him. Praying and thanking Him. Then, abiding in Him throughout the day so that our mind is aware of eternal things not temporal. Then, simply making a list in your head or in a journal. And then keeping our eyes on others more than ourselves.
That’s why mission trips are like microwave moments for our faith (Isaac Hunter said this and it’s SO true). We become SO aware of the needs in the world – that all of a sudden our silly “needs” are put in perspective. I found out about a mom in the area recently with 8 KIDS and she has nothing. Nothing. Grateful. And ready to help.
For my girls, they ARE grateful and they ARE content. Not every day, but I do see it. I’m going to catch them doing it. Remember the old school little star stickers? This month, I’m going to post up these two Virtue Cards in our kitchen (GRATITUDE & CONTENTMENT) and when I see someone doing it – I’m putting a star on there.
Don’t we all want to be reminded where we are doing well vs where we are failing? Positive reinforcement!
And next time you feel like crying in the middle of an ice cream store – call me. So been there.