Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It's always a surprise to many that Leeland wakes me up each morning.  While I would like to be one of those morning people who gets up and drinks her coffee and reads a book and works out BEFORE the kids are up.... I just can't.  The few times I've tried have either resulted in me hitting the snooze button on the alarm approximately 23 times, OR successfully getting up starting my coffee and discovering a little person who has now woken up earlier than his norm behind me because he has impeccable hearing and just knew someone was up.

So each morning, Leeland wakes up, and he marches right up the stairs to wake me and demand that it's time for his breakfast and that it's time for me to come downstairs "right now."  Some mornings I can talk him into snuggling with me an extra 20 minutes so that I get those last few minutes of shut eye that I desperately need, and some mornings he hops all over me and steals my pillows forcing me out of my slumber.

Recently he has been intrigued by time, so he gets enthralled in my watch, he asks me how many minutes it will be until I'm ready to get up, how many minutes until he eats breakfast, what time is it, what numbers are on my watch etc.  He also really loves the light on my watch and sometimes those last few minutes of shut eye are him pushing all sorts of buttons on my watch trying to find the light button.  In fact, he changed my alarm on my watch from 7:00 AM to 9:09 AM.  I have no idea how he did it, I no longer have the instructions to know how to change it myself, and so everyday at the most random time.... 9:09, my watch beeps over and over and over.  I'm not sure that I was even aware that my $10 watch had an alarm function when I purchased it.  Maybe my kid is a genius?  Or he just likes buttons.  Either way.

We had a very hard week last week-- I posted a very real and very vulnerable image on Facebook and Instagram last week of me sitting in the hallway in the dark with a cup of coffee in my hand.  That day was the worst, that was the day that I lost it.  The boys were pushing my buttons all last week-- arguing in the car, fighting over really silly things, instigating one another, not listening, not picking up after themselves.  I literally felt like they had lost all of their home training.
The arguments that particular day started over Leeland doing his reading lesson.  It should be expected by now-- we do a simple phonics lesson every single day.  Each lesson is only supposed to last about 15-20 minutes.  The day that I "lost it", it took us 5 hours to complete the lesson.  During that 5 hours, we started and stopped, there were tears, there were time outs, and there was a nap forced 2 1/2 hours early.  I feel like some of you might read this and think, "He's so little.  You're pushing him too hard."  But please trust that, in this particular lesson was nothing that he didn't already know, and that what was happening was his flat out refusal to do any work.  I didn't know how to handle it.....  If I gave in and chalked it up to a bad day, would he try these same antics the next day?  Or the next day?  Because he knew that he could get away with not doing his work because he acted a fool?  What was I supposed to do?.... So I pushed.  I pushed forward and expected him to complete the lesson, which we eventually did, and had a long discussion about how, if he does the lesson the first time he is asked, it frees up more time for fun.  We haven't had an issue since that day... but it was very hard.

I sat in the hallway in the dark that day drinking my coffee and crying.... I felt bad.  I raised my voice, I got angry, I was not so ginger when carrying him to his room for that forced nap.  A nap that he desperately needed, and woke up in a much better mood, but I felt terrible.  I hate to yell.  I hate the sound of anyone yelling.  I don't want to be that mom.  I don't like to be that mom.  Discipline is a necessary evil, don't get me wrong, but I just sat there beating myself up thinking that I could have handled my actions better.  The thought that kept running through my mind was how I had literally just put on my prayer request sheet the day before at my small group was "better patience with my kiddos,"  and how I seriously just BOMBED that test of my patience.

This month I have been thinking a lot about grace.  This month I celebrate 10 years knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  10 years ago on a cold October night, I was baptized in a portable baptismal pool outside of my church.  I joke that I got a real cleansing that night and that they literally boiled my sins away, because they had filled the tub with boiling water knowing that it was cold out and expecting it to cool down during service for me to get in after.... but nope, it was still boiling water and they had to add cool water to cool it down for me to get in.  As I was raised out of that water in the chill of the evening I was surrounded by smiling faces and greeted with warm towels right out of the dryer.  I accepted Christ and was made new.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 
-2 Corinthians 5:17

At the end of that day, the day that I lost it, I curled up with Leeland in his bed and we chatted.  We chatted about his behavior, we chatted about my behavior, we chatted about expectations.  But most importantly, I forgave him.  And I asked him to forgive me as well.  

I went to bed that night being thankful that we would have a fresh start the next day.  Thankful that Leeland and I have a relationship where I can humble myself and admit where I am wrong.  Thankful for grace from Leeland, and also God's power for me to be able to extend grace to him.  But more than anything, thankful that I didn't bomb that test of my patience.  Thankful that the Lord is teaching me new things each day and that He extends His grace to me.  Only by His grace and His power will I do better next time.  I've come a long way in 10 years, but the important thing is that everyday there is room for even more growth and more learning as I walk this walk with Christ.

And as for that pesky alarm at that random time of 9:09.... Well, for now, the alarm stays.  For now it reminds me that this is only a season.  It reminds me that the time will come one day when I don't have kids in my lap for reading lessons or reading books.... that the good days FAR, far, FAR outweigh the "bad days,".... it reminds me of grace and extending that grace to my children.... It reminds me to enjoy every single moment and to hold each moment with these precious ones HE has entrusted me with dear.  

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