My day starts out pretty early in our house. Up before the sun rises to get Lil Bear (LB) ready for school. I spot him when I get down the stairs, and smile. “Good morning LB,” I say.
I just shake my head and move along. Gone are the days where he smiles at me on a regular basis. I am constantly irritating him. Just by waking up and greeting him. I want to remind him on WHY I am up 2 hours before I have to go to work. But I don’t. I start my morning routine, making lunches and starting breakfasts. We have a pretty good system set up. He makes my coffee, I make his lunch. He starts my car and I drive him to school. All of this is done with little to no talking. It just works best. He no longer wants advice on what to wear. He doesn’t want to talk about the dreams he had last night or let me hold him for two minutes while I help him tie his shoes.
He nods to me that it is time to go and he walks out the front door. He will wait for me in the car. He doesn’t want to walk out together. That somehow irritates him too..
As I get ready to walk out the door, I hear a giggle. I turn around. And there she is. Baby Bear (BB). Fresh face from her slumber, BIG smile. She walks to me and snuzzles her face into my tummy. “Good Morning, mumma” she says and shows me her toothless grin as she looks up at me. And I can’t help but feel the love. I hug her back and tell her I will run her brother to school and she should eat her breakfast that I put out on the table. “ok, mumma”, she says and skips to the breakfast table..
I get out to the car and there sits sourpuss. I can tell he is upset before I even get in the car.” Gosh, mom, you take forever!!! Im gonna be late and it will be all your fault!!”
I assure him we have plenty of time to make the two miles down the road, but he has already tuned me out..
A similar situation plays again that day, when I return from work. Where BB is ecstatic to see me, hugs and kisses me and tells me great things about her day. She has drawn me a picture of her and I walking in pretty dresses hand in hand. She brings smiles to my face and joy to my heart. I light up when I see her.. We go home together and walk in the house. The front door is unlocked… How many times have I told him to keep that door locked?? He is laying on the couch with earbuds in, TV on and food bags all around.
The smile has disappeared from my face. Now the tired old mom face has reappeared.
“Hi, LB, how was your day?” I manage.
“Whut, ugh fine.” Don’t bother trying to get more out of him. That’s it.
I ask them both to start their chores while I start dinner. They both whine about it but get started. BB begins singing while she cleans. It is a glorious song about birds and dancing and sunshine. LB is slamming cabinets around, and muttering under his breath.
I serve dinner and we all sit down together at the table.. BB talks about her new spelling words and how cool is it that they rhyme. LB complains that I have yet to buy him a new phone. BB wants to know if we can snuggle after dinner. LB wants to know if he can go to his room to be alone..
These situations keep repeating day in and day out, until one day LB asks me, “Do you love her more than me?? I see the way you smile at her. You don’t smile at me like that..”
This is true. Although, I know in my heart that I don’t love her more. I know I love them equal but not the same. She has her moments that I want to banish her and he has moments when I want to clone him. But he is 13. And she is 7. And for now, the scale is unbalanced. I don’t know if there is a way to balance the scale. I pray that I am doing everything alright. But it is hard to stay warm and soft when you are constantly pushed and offered the cold harshness. I have begun to expect it and if we are being honest, sometimes I am the initiator of that harshness.
Tonight, when we got home from church, I had enough. Do you know the feeling?? It was reaching a peak. He kept making rude sarcastic comments. Life is unfair and he hates this and hates that. And he kept changing the radio station and yelling at his sister. And then he drank all my water without asking and took my phone. Long day coming to an end and I pull in the driveway and he yells at me not to shut the car off, cuz he wants to hear the rest of this song. “Gosh, mom, is that too hard for you to do??”
And I felt it. I felt and heard the snap. SHUT UP!!! DO NOT TALK TO ME IN THAT MANNER AT ALL!!! I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!”
The look he gave me.. oh, what had I done. He was hurt,scared and ashamed. He brushed past me and went up to his room. I prayed quietly and asked God to come upstairs with me. I walked in his room and knelt by him. With tears in my eyes I asked for his forgiveness.
He turned to me and wrapped his arms around me. “It is ok, mumma. I was pushing your buttons. And I know I pushed you over the edge.”
“wait a minute!!” YOU KNEW MY LIMIT?? And you purposely pushed me over it??” I smiled at him and tousled his hair.
“I’m sorry too, mom..”
We made plans to sleep in the living room together. We got all our blankets and snuggled in. He may have talked to me about school and issues with his french teacher and talked about his huge project due in History. And I may have smiled.A LOT.
Every once in a while there is a break in the storm. And the sun comes out and it feels warm across your face. Just lean back and smile through it and absorb as much as you can to get you through the next storm.