I feel like it needs to be said right from the get-go that Greg and I are firm believers that if you commit to something, you see it through. Wyatt finished out his summer soccer season last year even though he strongly disliked it after the first week. Baseball would be no different for Isaac. Now Isaac doesn’t necessarily hate baseball…he’d just rather play in the dirt than pay any attention to what’s going on. But, he wanted to play baseball, so we signed him up (and paid the money!), so he will finish the summer season out.
This morning though, this morning as I was drinking my coffee having some quiet moments with Jesus (because my house was still quiet at 7:30am!), I started hearing this whimpering that escalated to wailing. I wandered down the hall to figure out which Little needed consoling so early in the morning. (Let’s be completely honest here- I was
mildly pretty darn irritated that I was already having to deal with a meltdown. I mean, no one had even come out of their room yet!) I figure out it’s Isaac, go into his room, ask him what’s up and get… “I don’t want to to go to baseballllllll today!” We chatted (or I tried to chat, he continued to whine at me about not wanting to go) back and forth for a minute before I just turned and walked back to the living room, leaving him to whine.
You see, I had this conundrum going on. On one hand, I didn’t want him to think that by whining about something so atrociously, he would get what he wanted. On the other hand, I’d noticed all three of my kiddos had been acting out lately. Way more than normal kids being kids things. (Last night, we ran errands and it…was…awful.) Even at home, just the general disobedience and attitudes had escalated in the last week or so. Isaac seemed to speak in an incessantly whiny voice. Wyatt was pushing buttons and picking on his brothers. Logan was literally losing his cool over every little scratch he got. Consequences had become more frequent and stronger. My patience was wearing thin. My Mama-soul was tired.
But yesterday I read this post by an acquaintance of mine on Facebook. She and her husband have adopted three of their five children. The adopted Littles were adopted from overseas and spent some agonizing time in orphanages. She had written a post about how one of them reverts to his behaviors that stem from his orphanage trauma every once in a while through no fault of his own. This particular day, this had happened…and she had wanted to punish him for his unacceptable behavior- have a time out, lose a privilege, something! Instead though, she took him for some one-on-one time. She loved on him. For him, it was quality time that showed him unconditional love.
There is much, much more to the story than this short little blurb, and I can’t pretend that this even remotely relates to what that sweet boy goes through, but Jesus used that post to speak to my mama-heart in a very real way. I realized these last two weeks, we’d been running a lot which means I’d been having to squeeze work in in-between all the running. My stress level was higher which means my patience was thinner. All day yesterday, I thought about that post. All day it was on my heart. My quality time with my Babies was lacking, and they were letting me know the best way their little hearts could.
So today, we skipped baseball. While the boys played, I secretly packed up a lunch. We made a stop at the Welcome House to drop off some milk, sugar and bread we had picked up the night before which led to an amazing discussion on serving others whenever we can. Then, I surprised them with a day at the zoo. I mean, the entire day. And we went at their speed. Every section of the zoo became a world they “battled” their way through in some imaginary game they had started at home. We made multiple trips back to the bathrooms which led to going through the same exhibit multiple times. We had lunch by the camels. We rode the train. We had ice cream. I let them run. I let them have their adventures. And I will never forget when we’d been there a few hours. The boys were playing on the playground, and Wyatt came running over to me and put his arms around me. He just sat there like that for a while, turned and looked at me and said “I love you, Mom” and then he was back to looking for some gopher (bad guy) that had gone into his hole by the swans.
Mamas, don’t blink! Our time with our Babies is so, so precious and so, so fleeting. Don’t underestimate the simple things. It doesn’t have to be a big spectacle or a meticulously planned vacation. It just needs to simply be. I know we hear this all the time, but I feel like the more we hear it, the more it begins to fall on deaf ears. Since losing Clara, I’ve made conscious efforts to be with my kids more and to cherish that time. I’ve made it a point to use my time more wisely so that I don’t miss out on these little years with my Babies. While there are times the days seem so, so long, these days are also such precious gifts. These are days we are blessed to have.
I needed that quality time just as much as they did today. Today I saw the best behavior, the best attitudes, the best listening I’ve seen in weeks. Today I had the most patience I’ve had in weeks. I wasn’t annoyed by the little stories I’ve heard over and over…and over. Today my tone was softer. Today I didn’t worry about work, finances, life. Today I was present with my boys at the zoo. Today I watched from afar as the three of them played on a bridge, and my entire soul smiled.
Today was one of the best days ever.