Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Really.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My kid is shaking with anger.

He’s standing before me, brow furrowed, fists clenched. There was some yelling but now he’s quiet, and a big, fat tear rolls down his cheek. He’s collapsing all inward with anger and a really REALLY fierce conviction that IT ISN’T FAIR.

I don’t really know exactly what the IT is, because there is (there always is) another person involved in the fray. There’s a brother involved, and he is also leveraging for his Totally Fair Piece of the Pie.

I just want to go lie down. Maybe with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

Once, I think, I tried to recite “Blessed are the peacemakers” at Blonde, in the heat of the battle, but he just looked at me with that tired expression of “Mom, you’re crazy” that I keep getting more and more often. (I have it on good authority that I am not, actually, crazy. But, somedays, that look… it is so CONVINCED of the crazy, that I kinda half believe him. And you know? It’s not so bad to be crazy. A little crazy is what we all need, to be mothers.)

Anyhow.

I recited, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth” at him, and he looked at me in scorn and said, voice shaking, “I don’t WANT the EARTH, Mom. I just WANT MY BROTHER TO STOP BEING A JERK.”

Valid point.

Here is what I have learned in my 8 massively long and short years of parenting:

  1. My mother is a saint. A SAINT. I am so sorry, Mom. You were right. About all of it. ALL OF IT ALL THE TIME.
  2. Reciting bible verses AT someone isn’t the way to go.

Ok. So we have been working on it, this whole getting angry bit, because seven and eight year old kids don’t have the inner mechanisms to adjust the volume on their anger. Adults don’t either, sometimes. Especially on rainy summer days stuck inside with no screens (they’re grounded, for a week) and no wine (mom’s grounded, forever) and no patience for anyone.

Here’s how we work on it:

We talk about it… LATER. Like, at dinner, or while we’re playing Uno, or bedtime. When it’s dark and they’re all cute and smell like soap. That’s when we talk about how to actually be a blessing. Even when we don’t really feel like it.

At the time? With the anger thing? And the yelling? We do our best. We muddle through. I pray and they stomp up to their rooms.

All of this is pretty usual stuff, right? It’s not like at our house we have some massively new and improved way to make everyone just get along for the love.

We try to remember who we are.

“We’re family, honey,” I tell Blonde, as he sniffles in his room, all snot and rage.”We’re a family, and that brother of yours? He is going to be with you for a long time. He is for you. And he’s massively annoying. But he loves you. And, deep down, deep DEEP down, you love him.”

“I don’t feel like it. I kinda hate him.”

“I know. Those are feelings. They change and fade and get all messed up. They’re feelings, and they’re important, but deep down, they aren’t the truth of the matter. Behind it all is the truth. It’s who we are. We are God’s. And He loves us, and He put love IN us. Love is all His department, and He has it running in our veins, just like Jesus’s.”

“Face it, kid. You’re stuck with us.”

Today we will be blessed by being kind when we don’t want to be, and when we screw up, we’ll say sorry. And we’ll try to act like we mean it.

And maybe inheriting the earth will happen, but for today, I’ll settle for a couple hours in a row without fighting. We’re family, after all. I’m trying to be realistic.

 

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Parenting is Hard and Other Gigantic and Colossal Understatements of the Century

 

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So… Colonel Custer.

Yep, that’s where I’m starting today.

Colonel Custer is sitting on his horse, staring up at sixty majillion massively irritated Native Americans that are about to mow him and his men over. And he thinks:

“Huh. This is challenging.”

And Custer’s horse thinks:

“I so do not get paid enough for this.”

Also, I have to wonder if part two of Custer’s thinking went something like this:

“RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY! RUN RUN RUNAWAYYYYYYYYYYY!”

Alas, it did not end well for Custer. He had this thing happen to him called a Last Stand? Perhaps you read about it in a text book? He doesn’t get to go down in the history under the heading: Just Barely Squeaked By.

Poor guy.

I think parenting is a lot like Custer’s Last Stand. Minus the arrows and death.

Actually, there are Nerf arrows flying in my version, so there.

So, my boys had a meeting recently about an ongoing project they’ve been working on. The project is largely a covert operation, so I don’t know all the ins and outs. I’ve found a few emails and some printouts entitled “How to Unhinge the Mommey,” so I get the general idea. So far I think they’ve hired Steve the cat as a consultant since he decided to poop in the husband’s closet the other day. I swear I saw him high five the boys after that epic event.

Anyhow. The meeting this time involved something I like to call:

Staring at Mom When She is Mad Is the Way to Make Her Say All the Bad Things.

What I mean by the staring is this special look that only a child can engender, a sort of glazed, slack-jawed eyeballing that exudes a completely wacko denial of responsibility. That, my friends, is a LOOK. It takes skills, and I think they had a training session over it last week. I caught them staring weirdly at the dog, and then he left the room, weeping.

So, at some point last week, Blonde does something Wrong at our house. This could entail a whole number of things, from a minor foul like drawing on the cat, to a Big Huge Infraction. I have lots of examples of Big Huge Infraction, but I won’t list them here to keep you from leaving the room, weeping.

Anyhow, Blonde received some words from me regarding the issue and then, he did this:

He just stood there and stared at me.

I know, guys. There is staring, like I’m zoned out in front of a romantic fireplace, and there is staring like: “Yea. So?” I bet you can guess which type of staring Blonde was dialing up for me.

I asked him a question. He stared some more. I repeated the question, more slowly this time, because I think I actually felt my brain start to sizzle.

And that’s when I saw them. All those angry dudes on horses, shrieking, with their bows and arrows aimed right at me.  And I straightened up in the saddle, and I said:

“You are going to stare? Just stare at me? Staring? REALLY? STARING IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW? YOU? STARING? You’re going to STARE AT ME MR. STAREY-PANTS????”  I know. This is like Pulitzer stuff. And, so, to make it all better, I thundered:

“WELL, THEN. I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO STARE ABOUT!!!!!”

And that, my friends, is how to lose the war.

Both of the savages, I know, were hoping desperately that I would deliver on this whole doing something stare-worthy, I am sure. But, I didn’t. I mustered up what was left of my dignity and mounted my horse and rode off into the sunset.*

The end.

*Translation: I went upstairs, laid on my bed, and ate a Kit-Kat.

But not before I said the best parenting line ever:

“I’LL BE BACK.” (General MacArthur, not Arnold Swarzenegger. But, Arnold works, in a pinch.)

Read the following, and insert “parent” where it says “leader.” We are doing tough work. Never give up. Never surrender.

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