Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I love my children, I love my children

On days like today, this is a mantra I keep repeating to myself. Today's mantra is a bit more specific..."I love my son, I love my son." I may not like how he is acting at all, but I do love him. No matter how many times he says he hates me, or that he wants to call the police for a new mommy, I LOVE MY SON! (repeat, I love my son, I love my son).
Here's the story. He got a little scratch on his knee, no big deal. It wasn't even bleeding, so I wouldn't give him a band aid. He totally forgot about it for at least an hour or so. We went to the library for story time. He went into the classroom with his little sister (it's only her second week to go!) and came back out about 3 minutes later. "I need a band aid" I told him to go back in there, that he was fine. He started getting angry and yelling at me. I told him he either needed to calm down and go back to story time or we would go sit in the van and wait for his sister to finish story time. Now he got really angry! I was holding Houston in the sling, and had to DRAG Andrew out of the library, literally kicking and screaming. We got outside and he was doing the fists shaking, growling, so angry he couldn't talk thing. I told him he needed to settle down, or we were going to the van. Again, more yelling and screaming, kicking me! and trying o hit me. I grabbed his arm and told him I would not allow him to act like this, we were going to the van. I drug him to the van, kicking me and scratching/hitting me the whole way. I put him on the floor of the van and put Houston in his car seat. I told him that he needed to get in his car seat...NOW! At this point I was so angry, and embarrassed that I knew if I spanked him, it would not be a good spanking. (Now, I do believe in spanking, at the right time, NOT when I am angry!) More yelling and screaming. He thought about punching me. I saw the fist form and come towards me, but he did think better about it and stopped himself. As he got into his car seat, he yelled "I HATE YOU! I want to call the police to have them put you in jail!"
Of course at this point I want to dissolve on the sidewalk into a puddle of tears. My son hates me. He hates me. I know he doesn't really hate me, I know he's angry. I told him I was sorry he felt this way, that I love him, but I do NOT like the way he is acting. I told him that when he calms down I will talk to him.
Poor little Houston was just shocked by all that was going on around him! I got a book out of our bag (I didn't even get to return my books!) and read it to him. The entire time I was reading with Houston, Andrew was screaming "No!" and kicking the seat in front of him. I finally called my husband and asked him to come pick Bethany up. I didn't know how I was going to go into the library to get her. I certainly wasn't taking Andrew back in there, and I was afraid if I left him alone in the car for a minute, he'd run away. Thank God, Warren was able to leave and pick up Bethany. The ENTIRE way home, Andrew was screaming "NO NO NO NO" When we got home, I told him to go to his room, and put his nose on his wall. (If he just goes to his room, he plays...this is his time-out place...nothing painful!) Again, yelling, screaming, "I hate you", etc. But, he finally did it. I went to his room and told him that when he calmed down, I would come back and talk to him. It took him about 10-15 minutes to calm down enough to listen. I asked him if he remembered what he said to me. He had no clue. I told him...he just looked at me. I asked him how he thought t made me feel. At least he knew enough to say he was sorry. I told him that when he is angry, he needs to be especially careful about what he says and does. Just because he is angry, he does not get to do whatever he wants. I told him that I forgive him, but that does not mean that he is not going to be punished. I told him that his punishment is that he must stay in his room until it is time to pick up his big sister from school (about 3 1/2 hours...he would be napping for about 1 1/2 anyway!) I told him he can read some of the books he has in there, or he can clean it up, but he can not play. I told him I would bring him lunch in his room. That was about ten minutes ago...I just checked on him (he's too quiet!) and the turkey is asleep! I'm exhausted, too...can I take a nap?
I think after we pick up his sister from school, we will be going to the library so he can apologize to the women there for his behavior. I forgive him, but he needs to know there are consequences for his actions. Bethany had to be left at the library alone. Daddy had to leave work to pick her up. Mommy's feelings (not to mention my leg and my arm from the hitting and kicking) are a bit sore. There are consequences for his actions. He is forgiven and we love him, but that does not mean we act like it never happened.
When we sin, there are consequences. We can apologize, we can ask for forgiveness, but consequences happen. Adam and Eve committed the first sin, the consequence is death. Our death, and Jesus' death. Jesus died to pay for our sins, but that doesn't mean that we can pretend they don't happen. When we say something hurtful, someone is hurt, not matter how many times you say you are sorry...those words do not go away. When we lie, trust is broken. No matter how many times we say we are sorry, or promise not to do it again...we have to earn that trust back, and even then...can you ever COMPLETELY trust someone who has lied to you in the past? God forgives us, but Jesus still had to pay the price for our sins. He died on the cross to forgive us of our sins, so we can go to heaven. Jesus died to save me from my anger and frustration. He died to save Andrew from his hurtful words and actions.
I love Andrew (not just a mantra now!) I do...I love him. I want to be the best mother I can for him. I want to help him learn to control his temper and his tongue when he is angry. Anger is a part of life, but he needs to learn how to deal with it and acceptable ways to express his anger. I have told him before that it is OK to say "I'm angry at you mommy." But it is not OK to say he doesn't like me.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my son. Please be with him, show him Your love. Show him Your forgiveness. Please help me to be the best mother I can. Please help me to help him learn to control his anger. Please help me to control my anger and be a Godly example to him. Thank you Jesus, for dying to forgive us for those times we don't follow you, when we aren't imitators of your love and forgiveness. Please help me to deal with Andrew and his temper, show me what to do. Thank you for loving me and promising to always be with me, even when I feel so alone.

(If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please leave me a comment! Thanks)

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