Today I had the rare opportunity to pick up my son and daughter immediately after school. Although I’m thankful for an aftercare option, which typically gives me time after work to have a little mommy breather for grocery shopping or Sonic Happy Hour, I don’t get to hear personally from Dom and Charlee’s teachers about their day. As a result, I rely on the words found in their take home folder to catch glimpses of their day. I’ve often lamented this hoping for cute stories of how Charlee did this or Dom said that.
Ironically, today as I stood in the doorway of Dom’s classroom face to face with one of his teachers, I heard words I didn’t want to hear. Sandwiched with grace, his teacher kindly reported that Dom was not making good choices. My heart sunk. Although these words were spoken in love and appropriately shared, all my guilty heart could hear is: “I’m not a good mommy”.
As we drove in the car on the way to chiropractor for adjustments, Dom and I talked about good choices and bad choices. I encouraged him to be a good listener, to obey his teachers, to be kind and loving. And then I exhorted him to make good choices for Dr Kelly, too. After he exuberantly declared his intentions to be a good listener and make good choices, we walked into the office and were immediately walked back to Dr Kelly’s office.
Then he did it. He took a big swig of water from his water bottle and proceeded to create a fountain using his mouth.
All over the floor.
I cringed and surveyed the room for supplies to clean up the mess. Thankful for paper towels within reach, I handed Dom a wad and put him to work. All this is happening while Dr Kelly is adjusting my sweet Charlee. I implored my son to apologize but he wouldn’t and I hung my head as my stamina had been overrun by that of a stubborn 3 year old. We finished with our adjustments and I made follow up appointments. We went to the car where I buckled every one in and I sat in the driver’s seat.
And. I. Cried.
Gaining my composure or something like that, I started the car and began the drive home. Dom asked me if he could watch Word Girl and I was dumbfounded. I asked him, “Dominic, did you make good choices or bad choices at Dr Kelly’s?”
To this he replied: “Good choices!”
Me: “I don’t call spitting on the floor a good choice.
Do you think good choices should get rewards or punishments?”
Me: “Do you think bad choices should get rewards or punishments?”
Me: “Then what makes you think that I should reward you for making a bad choice? Why should I…”
And there it was. The moment where I felt what God must feel. That shock as my attitude of entitlement is sprung on him as I ask for something in reward for my bad choices. How often does he look forward to embracing me, relishing in the sweet anecdotal activities of my day, hoping they honored him only to find in its place my bad choices that reflect poorly on him whom I call my heavenly father.
More often than I would like I’m sure. And yet he still calls me his own. He still loves me enough to encourage me to clean up my own messes, to stand beside me when I admit my bad choices. To love me unconditionally even in those moments when my actions make him look bad. To stay with me even when I refuse to see the wrong in my actions and perhaps even obstinately demand a reward for my wrong doing.
He still loves me.
We recently began encouraging Dom to make good choices through the use of popsicle sticks and two plastic cups. One says “good choices” and the other says “bad choices”. Depending on the choices he makes popsicle sticks can be moved to either cup. At the end of the day if he has a certain amount we reward him with a small treat. The next day we begin again fresh with all popsicle sticks in the “good choice” cup.
Just like Dom’s popsicle sticks, His mercies are new every morning. I’m a tired mommy but I’m so glad that the Lord begins anew with me each day and does not grow tired or weary of teaching me his ways. Refining me to be more like him. To honor him.
Thank you Lord, for this difficult season. I don’t want to say thanks but I see how you are using it to help me shape my son’s character as well as grow me into the follower of Christ you’ve intended me to become.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.