What I am about to share will probably provoke all sorts of emotion for you folks. And the emotion will probably be different for each of you depending where you are, what you have been through or where your heart will let you go. Some of you will automatically be embarrassed for me - embarrassed that I would share this with anyone, others of you will judge because you will think this will never happen to you or maybe it never did, some of you will be sad because you remember it happening to you and others of you may just feel a feeling of sisterhood perhaps that cheers me on.....prays hope for me.
And so it goes.
I alluded to the fact that we have been having a difficult time with my boy child. I love him so much my throat feels scratchy and tear are in my eyes filling them with warmth and my heart hurts. You see he really is most like me out of the two.....he thinks, he ponders, he lies awake for much of the night....he has a heart big enough to swallow up the whole world and this bogs him down makes him heavy. This heaviness often gets in the way for him because he hasn't learned how to manage it all yet and so he worries....he's anxious. He let's it all get the best of him some times, actually most of the time.
In some ways this boy is wise beyond his years....we have joked since he was about two that he is a forty year old man stuck in a little boy body. He is smart as a whip, he learns things at a pace that is unreal....it is hard for me to keep up with....his brain often makes me feel incapable to mother him.....it needs much explanation. With the need for explanation has come much, he is not the kid that can take no for an answer, he is not the kid that can be talked over or around, he understands things way beyond his age and his person needs the understanding. Sometimes I become exhausted in the amount of talking Elliot desires and needs. I have heard the no means no theory, I have heard the because I said so and sometimes that is so true and warranted. But with this child it is different. He needs something different.
This different has become difficult in the recent months though because we have reached a new stage. We have reached a stage of experimentation and testing. And so now no just means no and he doesn't always understand that. He is a learn by doing type and so that means sometimes you learn simply by getting busted. Even though you know something is wrong you might try it because you are now almost 10 and so it may be okay now. Yeah, well he is quickly learning that is not how it works but that understanding has come with much discipline and heartache on both sides of the fence.
This kid....he has had the roughest time with this move. He does not understand why we made this choice. He wants to believe we will move back to Lynden, which isn't happening. He thinks his life is horrible.....which I can see, everything is different and his personality does not lend to different.....he desires a regimin and a routine and that has all changed drastically. He is doing very well in homeschool but he dislikes it very much. He misses his freedom that comes with being in school everyday and he misses his friends. For a nine year old this is horrible.
But as of recently we have had to take the stance of well son it does suck that you feel that way, but it's time to buck up and move forward. These are hard words to take with your kids, a mothers natural response is to coddle and comfort. The truth is though that this is our reality now and it really is not all that bad, we do have friends, we do have each other, and we are doing what God called us to do.
And so we have had attitude, we have had fits, we have had so many meetings and talks between the three of us I could scream. Nevertheless we move forward we stick to our guns and we stay firm. But last week it came to a head and my sweet little boy managed to break my heart into a million pieces. We were having a discussion-just the two of us-and he was crying. And he looks at me and he whispers.....I hate you. Oh boy........I know he doesn't really hate me but I believe he meant it in that moment. Who knew those three words could rock my soul in the way that they did in that moment. I mean does he not know that I was the one who carried him in my womb for nine months.....nine excruciating months of vomit, pre-term labor and hospital visits? Does he not know that it was me that fell in love with him first? Does he not know that it is me that lies awake and prays for him every night? Does he not know that all the decisions we make are first for God but always prayed for with him and his sister in mind?
Now this is the part where you all get to feel the emotion of your liking.
I will tell you I knew this would come some day... a time where our viewpoints would not meet and he would view me as insane in the membrane and quite possibly out of my ever living mind. And all of that confusion and possibly all of his crazy hormones would create this feeling for him.....but I am not sure I was quite prepared, and I suppose now that I really think about it I am not sure you ever can be. Can I tell you the first thing that came to my mind was, hey Jager's don't say hate. Yep, earth to Jessica Jager we are not preschoolers anymore and sometimes they no longer care so much in the heat of it what Jagers do or don't do. And so it remains, he said he hated me. Are you wondering how I reacted. I cried my eyes out. I told him I was sorry that he felt that way, I reminded him of what hate really meant and then I told him that those words did not change the way that I felt about his recent actions and he needed to find out where God wanted his heart to be. I told him that it was okay to feel that way about me but that he needed to know that there was no one else on this green earth that loved him more than I did. Then I reminded him that he owed me a chore and I sent him on his way.
Now I don't know if I handled it right. And believe me I marched myself into the bathroom quickly after our altercation and I balled my eyes out, but I didn't let my emotions rule me in the situation because I don't think he really would have cared, I think the situation needed a cool down. He did apologize to me today 6 days later.......I am not sure what provoked that but I'll take it.
I will tell you that somethings in this situation I have not changed much since my kids were young, I have always encouraged them to show emotion.....happy, sad, angry, whatever. Sometimes that lands you a trip to your room until you can be a part of society with those emotions but you should still be able to have them and most of all I think identifying them is important. I also think that words are important.....I think that it is important to explain to your kids that some words carry weight....That whole sticks and stones saying is a big bunch of bologna in my opinion, words hurt more than sticks and stones sometimes and when you let them out of your mouth its pretty hard to take them back.
We have had two really good conversations over the last days. We have talked about relationships and how they can be broken, how they can be hurt. We have talked about how we can feel negatively about things while still respecting others. We have talked about his lack of ability to fully understand why parents do what they do. And we have talked about how following what God wants in spite of it all is the hardest part. Really it's all been about respect - for ourselves and others - and self control.
In the end friends I was reminded in this Easter week that I to need much redemption, that I too need much forgiveness and grace. That God could ask each of those question I asked of Elliot in reference to me and my love for Him, and His love for me. We all fall short and we all hate some times wether we want to admit it or not. We all fall short.
I pray mostly that I taught Elliot about forgiveness this week, that I taught him about love and grace. That even when he hates me he know that I love him most of all.
Being a mom is hard work, let this be a reminder. But God calls us to hang in there and stick with it. It would be easy to throw in the towel....not caring would be a breeze. But with me and I know many of you we are not just growing up people we are growing up followers of Christ, leaders of households, strong men and women working for the good of our Father. It's no small job....but I am glad it's mine.