Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Ethan...

Today has not been a stellar day for you and me.  The frustrations started the moment our feet touched the floor, and have only now been alleviated by you playing outside with the water hose - soaking your fully-clothed self from head to toe. In a day marked by raised voices, hurt feelings, and many tears, I welcome the mess you're creating outside - and the break.

On our way into preschool this morning, I watched as you attempted to interact with another little boy about a toy he was carrying.  His lack of response to you made me think he was just being shy, but my heart broke when I overheard him whisper his true feelings to his mom,

"Mom, he's weird." 

"Be a duck," I thought to myself.  "Just let it roll off your back.  Drop Ethan off with a smile.  Be a duck.  Oh, and kid? I want to punch you."

I let it go for all of four hours, until I picked you up from preschool and heard about what an awful day you'd had.  I was so angry with you, probably angrier than I've been in a very long time.  In an instant, that little boy's comment from earlier in the day sent me into an emotional tailspin.  I found myself wondering if he had encountered some of your behaviors in the past, and if he wasn't simply talking about your arm or your overly-friendly nature.  I wondered if he was somehow justified in his feelings.  I got angrier by the second as I thought about all your body and brain have been through, and how that may be contributing to some of your less-than-desirable actions.  In that instant, the big picture was frustrating and overwhelming.

The emotions of my broken Mama heart went into over-drive, my brain struggled to maintain any form of logic or perspective, and I took out all of those fears and frustrations on you.  I was not treating you kindly as I yelled at you about being kind to others.  I was not showing you respect as I cut you off mid-sentence.  It was not my finest moment as your mom, and I hope you have no recollection of this afternoon as you read this some time in the distant future.

Because, here's the thing.  For all the days we have like today, we have hundreds of others to show me that your Daddy and I are raising an incredible adult.  Your life has come with more than its fair share of challenges, but I like to think that those challenges will force us into a deeper place of appreciation for each other and those around us.

Today, though, I failed that test miserably.  I let some kid who doesn't even know you - wonderful, funny, incredible you - change my outlook and my attitude towards you.  I let a few bad choices on your part define and negatively impact the rest of our afternoon together.  I let my emotions get the best of me, and I failed to show you all the wonderful qualities I'm working so hard to teach you.  I am so sorry for that. 

By the time you can read this, I hope to have a better handle on this whole mom thing.   I hope to be much more confident in you, and in the One who created you.  I hope that if you ever encounter someone else telling you that you're weird, or different, that you'll confidently reply, "Aren't we all?"

With God's help, tomorrow will be better.  And, Lord willing, I'll have many more tomorrows to show you just how loved and special you are.  But, first things first - I'm going to start with today.

I love you.


Bettie Rabb said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing mama heart with us....I've had many days like this. Praying for better tomorrows with you.

Stefenie said...

Oh Joye! <3 HUG!!!!! We have ALL had those days. I think it comes with the mama territory where we run out of patience and our frustrations get the best of us. Praying for you my friend that tomorrow is a brand new day and a better one!

Sherry Reese said...

This made me so sad for you and Ethan! I know that kids don't often know what they are saying, but really, I always hope that I have raised my children to not say things like that. Evan has actually been good to my knowledge of not really even noticing "differences" in people, but I have dealt with overhearing similar comments and actions that hurt even when I know I shouldn't let them. I think days like today are meant to help us really appreciate just how special these little people we are responsible for raising are. I know Ethan is a sweet and precious little soul, and I know you are doing a stellar job raising him!

Rebecca Stanley said...

I love you and your boy and your heart - thank you for sharing. Praying for you friend!

Anonymous said...

When someone says or does something to hurt our children, it cuts deeper than any other pain I have endured.

Ethan is awesome and you are an awesome mom.

Being a mom comes with many proud happy moments and unfortunately some very painful moments as well.

The good news is the proud happy mmoments out weigh the painful moments. :)

Love you guys!!

Grandma A.

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