Two "cool points" for anyone reading who recognized the title of this blog post as being from an episode of Spongebob Squarepants! TEN cool points for those who have never seen Spongebob and have no idea where that song comes from . . . ha ha . . .
Yesterday was possibly one of the best family days we have had in a long time. I am excluding the day my children were born, came home and/or committed their lives to Christ in my ranking of days but it was a great day nonetheless!
It was Saturday, a notoriously busy day for our family. We have a child who works, one who is acting in a movie being filmed by a Christian production company, two who play various sports and two who get invited to birthday parties (the "little kid" kind where 26 kids meet up at Chuck E. Cheese and take turns disappearing and being found again) but yesterday, nobody had a blessed thing on the calendar!
We decided, of course, to call a family work day (groan, eye roll, sigh). Much to our surprise, this work day decree was met with positive responses ranging from acquiescing to downright excitement at the mention of washing cars and trimming hedges!
Here are a few pics I snapped from the goings on:
Dad at the Weed Whacker
Oldest Son at the Hedge Clippers
Favorite Daughter Cleans the Kitchen (blurry pic - Mom's lack of skill)
Lem, Kyle and Zeke the Naked Wash the Van
If you squint and tilt your head, you'll see Francis on the mower
And ME on the ipad taking pictures and supervising . . . hey! someone has to keep these slackers in line!!!
As the work was winding up, Lem remembered a big, fat $20 gift card he received as a "thank you" for coaching soccer and he asked me out to dinner at Pei Wei (oh, yum . . . one of my favorite places . . . stir fried steak and fried rice!!!). I was touched that he asked just me and so, of course, we went. I got to drive hubby's cute little car instead of that honkin' large van so that made it extra sweet.
And Lem was such a gentleman. He opened doors. He let me choose the seat. He kept asking if I wanted anything else. The conversation was basic "kid stuff" (his school friends, sports, video games) but I just ate it up! It was all I could do to swallow that delicious food for the lump in my throat. THIS was the kind of interaction with him that was just a dream a year ago. I imagined him as thoughtful. I prayed he would be even a little interested in the welfare of others. I hoped for it but now it was HERE . . .
And this blog always seems to go back to Lemuel. Maybe I need to rename it.
But he has been our biggest challenge and is becoming our greatest triumph as we lean on Jesus to walk us through a brand of parenting completely unfamiliar to me.
For him, I have become a big "softie".
All that hard line, butt kicking, no excuses, no second chances type of parenting that is so popular among families without wounded children backfired miserably in this house.
What works? You might wonder. What works is PRAYER, total surrender to the plans of God whether you like them or not. What works is forgiving 70 x 7 and keeping the faith. Believing your child was created to be MORE than a "RADish". Knowing that he was entrusted to you and you don't have to have all the answers but you do have to stop doing what isn't working and try something new. Maturity works. Letting that child grow up slowly - as slowly as it takes. Not saying things like "you're twelve, you have no reason to be afraid of the dark." Because maybe he does. What the heck do YOU know? You weren't there from day one. What works is drawing a wounded child in CLOSER instead of pushing him away farther - which is what feels comfortable, natural and what we did too many times. What works is getting your head out of your own . . . um . . . "space" and realizing that how you FEEL as a parent needs to sit on the back burner. Yes, you're tired. Yes, you're emotionally exhausted. Yes, you would like to hide in the cargo hold of a 747 and end up in Aruba but so what??? I repeat . . . IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Not totally anyway.
You're a casualty of his pain. Fallout. Not the main event.
There's no pill. There's no treatment center. There's no book. There's no attachment therapist. There's no ONE magic bullet to "cure" RAD. That's the conclusion I've come to in my limited experience with one wounded boy.
There's prayer. There's never giving up. There's forgiving. There's "I love you even if you don't love me." There's "I wish I had been there to catch you the day you popped out of your birthmom and to shield you from the hurt. But I wasn't and we have to deal with what IS."
I wish there were more. But sometimes, I'm glad there wasn't. I would have taken the easy way a thousand times and missed the depth of this son of mine. If his heart came to me easily, maybe I would have appreciated it less? Leaned on Jesus less? Been more prideful as a parent? Only the Lord knows.
And He is good. Yes, altogether loving. The perfect parent and only wise God.
And He knows best . . .