Monday, July 15, 2013

On Being a Mean Mom



Today lets' be frank. I know people have been wanting to know how we are doing, and I have wrestled with how to effectively and graciously relay one of our biggest struggles because I don't in any way want to sound ungrateful for all that has been given to us. But I also am discovering that those who are following our journey just want the truth, even if it doesn't come with a lollipop.

Raising kids is hard. Whether you've gone through something disquieting as a family or not...it's not easy. They argue, they contort their little faces in ways you still can't understand just to let you know how unreasonable of a parent you are! They. Are. Tough.

Oh yours aren't? Well, then this post was designed specifically for your entertainment! :)

Wrapping the month of May up involved so much emotional pampering with the kids; we were just so overwhelmed and grateful to be alive together. I found myself sitting and gazing at the kids, just soaking in every detail of their eyes, their long lashes, their soft cheeks. I'd run my fingers through Kate's hair and scratch Keagan's back just to be near them. It was a second honeymoon, in a way.

When you have lost every single stinking thing you once owned, the process of replacing it all--everything--does something to a person. That thing is hard to name, to categorize with words, but I'll try to draw it for you.

June arrived and while I was still enamored by our second chance at life, the effects of all the lavishing was beginning to show. The generosity of people was something I was not prepared for, and by that I mean--HOLY COW, people are generous!! So many resources were brought to us, sent via other friends, cards, gift cards, checks sent in the mail. I wish I could remember every little piece of sacrifice given, but I can't even name them all! They blessed us immensely, and we were able to function day to day and just survive because of other people's gracious giving. There's no way I could properly express the adequate thanks for that to you each. You know who you are, and if you gave anything at all, please insert your name here!

Unfortunately, because we are human, there is another part that eventually accompanies such generosity and selflessness. Our kids started expecting gifts, I noticed. If someone came to the house, they just knew that person would have something for them! And while they certainly had used some solid scientific reasoning to reach this conclusion, it simply was not acceptable! I didn't know how to address it, and I still struggle with it. They were robbed of all their normalcy, their every little possession by a natural disaster, but heaping it all back in their arms at once was proving to be quite detrimental to their personalities.

Naturally, the gifting has dwindled and we truly have replaced the most of what was lost that day. Matt and I both agree that the process of replacing everything has not been easy at all. It sounds so great to just go on this once-in-a-lifetime shopping spree, but most of the things we lost--we want that very item back, not a replacement of that item, if that makes sense. We are not usually materialistic, but we can tend to get a little sentimental. For instance, Matt lost a mess of tools, saws, sanders, etc. He has not replaced many of them because they weren't just tools. They were his grandpa's who passed away last August. They were a piece of him. So, a brand new drill just isn't the same as the very one that his grandpa held in his weathered hands.

I feel the same about many of my kitchen and craft items. My tape measure was from my mother in law, one she used to use herself. My cork board was a sweet "welcome to sewing" gift she made me two Christmases ago. My bookshelf was handmade by my dad.

Anyway, back to those precious kiddos: So today I decided to begin the process I've dreaded--the one where I become the bad guy and my kids lose momentary admiration for me! I asked them to clean the toy room under the stairs precisely two times, and they did...sort of. By that I mean, Kate picked up one load of toys to transport up to her room. While there, though, she became distracted by leading her new kitty (a.k.a. Caleb) around with a leash and somehow completely forgot to finish the effort. Keagan came back in, flying a plane made of Legos around my head while I picked up the remaining toys. I said nothing as I cleaned the rest of the room.

Don't worry--I had a plan! :)

I chose not to say another word about it. Not one. I made lunch (one they don't LOVE...I know, I'm so mean) and called them to the table. Kate and Caleb surprisingly did great and ate their meat and cheese sandwiches without much drama. Keagan, on the other hand, can sniff out a betrayal from a mile away. He hates anything that even remotely resembles meat, so this was a travesty! No PB&J?! I told him he could eat that or be hungry. I know, I've said it before, but today I mean it! ;)

Here's where I really got mean. After lunch, I laid Caleb down for a nap and then proceeded to haul out my dessert and place myself on the chair in the living room where Keagan and Kate were playing and could watch my every blissful bite. Their eyes grew five sizes and before they could even make their desperate pleas, I put my hand up to shoo them away.

"Nope. You know what? Today you do not get a snack because you didn't obey and finish picking up the toy room."

Oh, how my children hate me today.

But I bet tomorrow they remember to finish doing what I ask, don't you?

So this is something you can pray for us about, if you will. Recovering after a life-altering moment is, well...just plain hard. But we really need to regain the control we had over our children, to restore the direction of their character traits. Those have simply disappeared before my eyes through this entire event. I want them back. I want my sweet seven year old boy who doesn't back talk me again. I know this was going to happen anyway, truly I do, but again--that doesn't make it acceptable. Talking with other parents of children directly affected, I'm discovering that Keagan's sharp turn in personality is quite common. Irritability and back talking, I mean. But I'm not doing him any favors by allowing him to wallow in it.

So here is where we stop. I think I just scared myself!  :)


Peace of Christ to you,

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