“Good relationships are not just about the good times you share; they’re also about the obstacles you go through together…and the fact that you still say I love you in the end.” – unknown author
Several things happened today that made me think of the importance of relationships. I learned about the importance of forgiveness, letting go, compassion, being grateful and do-overs. I’ll share one of the stories today, and perhaps save the others for another day.
My youngest has been needing lots of attention lately and I’m not sure why. He does things a little bit more slowly, a little bit more noisily, he’s a little more needy, and a lot more demanding. Basically he’s irritating all of us all, well most all, of the time.
This morning when I asked him to get busy with his chores and to get ready for school, he just sat. He then moved to another near by chair and laid over the arm and spun around for a bit, not really hearing my words for whatever reason. This happened repeatedly, as you can imagine and possibly even happens in your home. When I asked him to sit quietly, he tapped his pencil. If I asked him to stop tapping his pencil, he stomped his foot. It was like he couldn’t hear me, or maybe he did, and he rather enjoyed the negative attention he was receiving from his irritated housemates.
So when I told him he was in trouble for not behaving and for creating conflict in our family, he didn’t like that. I sent him to his room, and told him he was to come straight back there after school. This agitated him because “he did nothing wrong,” of course, and didn’t understand why I was so mean. I explained myself and told him that was it. He disappeared for thirty seconds and returned, asking for a do-over. He was sorry for being irritating and wanted to start over again. I said no. He hemmed and hawed, and walked away and then came back again with his bed made, dressed and ready to try again.
He came and sat on my lap and asked for a do-over again. I said no. He then said, “Mom, I want to try again. I want to have a relationship with you and I want to play with you and I don’t mean to ignore you. I don’t know why I do that and I am not trying to be irritating.” Again, I said no. I felt like I needed to be kind and firm and I needed to be a disciplinarian and enforce the rules, so that he’ll learn.
He left again, did more work (or messed around) and came back again, asking for the same thing, again with more emphasis: “Mom, I just want to love you and I want a relationship with you. I learned my lesson and I’m sorry. Please let’s start over again and have a do-over mom.”
This time I listened, even though I didn’t want to. I wanted to do what was right and teach him a lesson. But what I wanted more than that was to have a loving relationship with him, just like he wanted with me. I looked at him, and opened my arms, and asked him, “Why are you so smart?” And he said, “Because I am.”
I believed him and gave him a hug and told him I wanted a relationship with him too and we needed a do-over, to begin again and to respect one another. He smiled and let me kiss his face. I told him how much I loved him and I think he heard me this time.
And hopefully we’ll keep practicing the discipline thing together, learning together and loving one another as we grow our relationship. I want a relationship with him too.