Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Time Kids; The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

For years, I have had all the kids home with me, 24/7, all the time, forever. We had some bumps in the road, but for the most part, they knew and understood what was expected of them.We had a routine. I always wondered why moms were so anxious for school to start in the fall, when summer had barely just begun.

I love my kids, and I like them too. They were home all the time, and I still missed them if I was out without them, once in a blue moon. I thought for sure, if they ever went to school, I would LOVE having them home during the summers.

So they entered school in January. And now I test my theory.

Years of 24/7 time with my kids could have never prepared me for this day.

Y'all, it is not even noon yet, on their first day of summer vacation, and I can't even look at them right now.

They have completely forgotten how to act. It's as though they used up all their good listening, well-behaved, normal human being skills during school hours, and they have nothing left.

They have been bickering all morning. Isaac, the 3 year old, is just happy to have them home, so he's maybe a tad bit annoying, but they've been snapping at him all morning, bossing him around. They are demanding of more food almost immediately after I've fed them, and at the bold suggestion that they help me keep things tidy around here (and I made Elijah do the dishes, since he was suddenly starving after being full 10 minutes ago, and already putting his dish in the sink ((I'm not running an open buffet here!)), melt downs ensued. Chastity stomped off to her room when I told her she would no longer be keeping her backpack downstairs, and that it should go in her closet. She threw a fit on the couch when I called her out for her nasty attitude toward Isaac, and she burst into tears when I told her that the pretty dress she was putting on could not be played in outside.

Elijah cried when I made him do the dishes, he snapped at Isaac more than once, and he and Chastity both have done nothing but snap at each other.

So, I get it. I have a better understanding for all you summer worn moms.

But then, came my least finest moment as a parent. And I'm still processing it...

My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. 10 amazing years. 10 years we have had a beautiful engraved cross that we opted for our wedding cake table instead of a cake topper. 9 years, said beautiful cross has survived a rambunctious dog. 8.5 years it has survived children. It has survived 7 moves, across 3 different states; multiple toddlers, basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, footballs, wrestling, sword fights, and even the kids on wheels, in a small space. We don't have many nice things. Most of what we've assembled together in our home came from our college days or WalMart. Our highest end items might be from Target. But this cross, this glass cross with our names and wedding date engraved, was one, very nice thing, with more sentimental value than monetary.

Today, my oldest, shoulda-known-better child, playing with his plastic toy sword, decided that the large space in the middle of the living room was not living dangerously enough for him. And our beautiful glass cross met it's untimely demise, shattering before our eyes.

And I lost it.

Every part of the morning boiled over in me.

"ELIJAH!!" I yelled.

And, in the spirit of honesty, I may have even yelled before the cross hit the floor. I saw it unfolding before me. Maybe, had I not yelled, my athletic child would have caught it, and I wouldn't be confessing this all to you now, but I yelled, immediately.

As soon as it shattered, his blood curdling screams met my ears, and I had no patience for them. Also, aware of the glass all around him, I quickly dragged him, by the arm, to the other side of the room. He was sobbing screaming. And in that very moment, I didn't care.

I cried while I cleaned it up. Chastity cried because Elijah was screaming and hurting her ears. Isaac obliviously watched The Cat in the Hat in amusement. It was a scene out of a sitcom, but no one was laughing. Oh, except Isaac.

As I vacuumed, I was talking myself down.

It's just a thing. A nice thing, but a thing. A sentimental thing, but a thing

Elijah was upset even more, that I wouldn't allow him to help clean it up. Protecting him from the glass was important, but mostly, I needed this time to myself. I needed to be alone, and I need to grieve this thing, that I loved but rarely looked at.

When I was finished, I scanned my wedding album for picture of it. There are none. Somehow every angle of our cake table has the cake blocking the view of the cross.
So, this is all that's left:

Then, midway through the writing of this story, Elijah, still in tears, walked over to me, to apologize, for probably the 10th time. 

I finally gave him the response he needed, the response I wish I had been wise enough to have immediately.

Elijah, it's ok. I forgive you. I'm sorry I seemed angry. I was really sad. It was a special thing to remind me of the day I married Daddy.

He began to cry harder.

I took his head in my hands. But it is just a thing. I don't love it like I love you. You are more important to me.

Then, he handed this to me:

 It is just a thing, a small thing, but it has infinitely more value than any shattered glass.

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