It was one of those mornings where things just weren’t clicking on all cylinders. On top of an already hectic morning of taking the twins to school, running a few errands with Payton, I was in the process of trying to reduce our cable television package and get rid of our Comcast phone line. Dealing with the customer service with that group of special people is an entirely different conversation entirely. Needless to say after I was disconnected several times, my blood pressure was going through the roof and I was already getting snappy.
Noon hit and I was picking the twins up from school. Payton started having a melt down because I wouldn’t let him play “driver” in the school lot where, after I park, he gets to sit in the drivers seat. He loves the game but there are 2 problems with it. It takes me a long time to get everything back to the original position in the car (wipers, seat, everything that has a button) and getting him out of the drivers seat is always a challenge that usually results in a major meltdown.
Well, that’s what started the ball rolling into meltdown land. Lucas and Leah started at each other the second they came out of the school. Evidently there was an incident on the playground where Lucas wanted to play with Leah but she wanted to do something else. This is a normal occurrence so I really didn’t pay much attention to it. The arguing continued the entire way home. Meanwhile, Payton was screaming and crying at the top of his lungs during this entire Lucas/Leah episode. Needless to say, the boiling point was coming. Not sure if you have ever spent time in a car with 3 SCREAMING kids, but 5 minutes could seem like a lifetime.
We finally pulled up in the driveway and I see the comforts of home through the windshield. Lucas and Leah let themselves out, still yelling at each other, though now the topic has switched into Lucas not giving Leah any of his pretzels. Did I mention Payton was having a FULL ON meltdown? Well, one of the joys of a 2-year old still being in a car seat is that it’s hard to get him out of the seat without being in kicking range. So I got to enjoy the feeling of a Stride Rite into my right thigh that is still on fire from running the marathon the other day.
After getting everyone in the house it was now on to serving lunch. Meanwhile, Payton is now throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming in a full on tantrum and the twins are now fighting over who gets to be Buzz Lightyear in the re-enactment of Toy Story they are filming soon.
“Come on guys, mac n cheese is ready!” I hollered as nicely as I could but still be heard over the screaming and crying. “I don’t want that!!! We had that yesterday!!! WAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”
That was it. The flood gates broke, the water boiled over, (insert whatever analogy you want to use) and I just lost it.
“That’s it!!! I am done!!! I am sick of the whining and fighting!!! All of you get in the kitchen and sit your butts down and eat lunch or so help me you are not going to happy in 2 minutes!!!”
This was far from the first time I have raised my voice in this house but there was something different in this tone. They knew it and so did I. With that, the silence that broke out was deafening. All 3 kids in silence walked in to the kitchen and started eating the lunch I made for them. I stood in silence and wondered what sort of permanent damage I had just inflicted on my kids. I had just read an article yesterday about the effects of yelling at kids being equal to hitting them and I now felt as though I had just taken a verbal 2 by 4 across all 3 of their faces.
I knew I needed a time out. Time away. Time to take a breath before things got worse. I walked in to the back room and closed the door. I knew they were fine eating lunch without me in the room with them for a few minutes. As the tears rolled down my face, I prayed to God for the strength to get me through the next 10 minutes without doing anything else wrong.
I came back in the kitchen and my 3 little offspring were happy little bugs as they ate as though nothing had happened at all.
“I am sorry for yelling at you guys. I was wrong to raise my voice like that. Please forgive me.” I spoke to each kid like my life depended on it. The short attention span and the forgiveness of a child is truly amazing. Getting a hug and a kiss after giving an apology is all I needed to let me know we are good again. At least on the surface we were.
I am not proud of losing it today. I’m thankful that God gave me enough sense to walk out of the room. I’m really thankful that my kids are learning that true forgiveness is a gift from God. Now I just need to make sure they aren’t practicing that forgiveness on me on a daily basis.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
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