Last night I sent Lucy to bed screaming her head off (she has been extra “stompy” and stubborn lately and I reached the end of my rope). I didn’t even turn back when she pleaded mid-bawl for her ritualistic kiss and hug.
I had no patience on Saturday as we pushed our way through the heavy crowds at Yu Yuan Gardens to the tune of complaints from my kids (and husband) with scowls on their faces.
It may look fun and picturesque from the pictures (because it IS a picturesque place), but it was an awful afternoon complete with teasing and crying and pinching and drama. (All in all we are having a grand experience here, but I still need to keep it real!)
Maybe part of my frustration comes because I feel a lot like this lady looks lately:
…except with way more kids and groceries hanging on that heavy arm…oh, and that serene face should actually be snapping at those darling kids. And there should be smoke coming out of her ears.
Ha! Ok, it’s not that bad, but boy I have been on one lately!
I don’t know if it’s just all the pressure trying to be so strong amidst this adventure we are in the midst of. I am so grateful for it, sometimes we can almost feel ourselves growing. But I’ve never in my life had to be as deliberate of a mother as I need to be here. Never have my prayers been so urgent, so needy, so pleading reaching up to Heaven on behalf of my children.
Maybe my medicine for my dumb Hoshimotos is off balance.
Or maybe it’s just hormones getting in the way.
But for whatever reason, I think I’ve somehow forgotten my favorite scripture from my growing up years:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous word stir up anger.” –Proverbs 15:1
I think it was one my dad taught me when I had to have one memorized speedy quick and he knew it was short and to the point. Maybe he had been thinking about it because us kids needed it’s wisdom. But for whatever reason, that scripture stuck with me. It was my automatic answer any time anyone needed a scripture recited.
It came to me this morning, and I needed it. I need to be softer. I need to be that “durable object” my sister talks about when my kids get huffy. I need to roll with the punches a little more easily and calm down my heart when I get frustrated.
So I’m off to figure that out.
Snapping back never helps anything.
After that rough afternoon last Saturday of arguing and fighting through packs of tourists trying to stay together, trying to cram Chinese history into my childrens’ brains, I let go.
I stopped myself from all the pushing and prodding and just let them be.
They wanted to take pictures and just stay in one spot as the sun set and the crowds cleared out.
So we did.
And that’s when things got better.
Max got all the motion shots he needed for his photography class:
…and still ones too.
I sat and thanked my lucky stars that my kids love photography. Love to share it with them.
When I change my attitude theirs change too. That’s a lot of pressure as a mother, but I’m sure trying. Every day I make mistakes. But at the end of the day what really matters is that they know I love them.
And that obviously can’t happen very well when I’m huffy.
It happens with soft answers and love.
I need to be more like Claire, who looked up at me the other day with a huge smile and said, “I think I have a hugging problem!” and gave me the fourth or fifth giant bear-hug of the day.
Man these kids are sure good to me.
You may notice that I turned the comment section back on again. I’ve missed you guys and have had a surprisingly lot of requests. I tried doing moderation of comments but my internet doesn’t work half the time here and it gives me way more emails to deal with so I’m just putting them back on how they were.
I know there are some people with grievances to share. I know there are some people who disagree with things we are doing, and by opening up comments I am letting them say what they will. Most of me is thick-skinned enough to handle this, and often people have really good points to share. But I do reserve the right to delete any that are openly hostile or that attack my children.
I have a request for a little experiment: let’s make that favorite scripture work (a soft answer turneth away wrath) and see if we can kill the mean comments with kindness and “soft” answers. If someone says something not so nice, let’s just fill them with love and “soft answers.” Let’s all remember that everyone has their own secret sorrows. I came across THIS post the other day which reminded me once again that I need to look for “signs” in others, ways I can help them, rather than just wishing they could see MY “signs” and give me the benefit of the doubt.