Mothering ups and downs
My husband and I went, tonight, to our pastor’s surprise 60th birthday party. It was wonderful.
Watching the kids, for the second time this week, was our brand-new babysitter, Callie. She’s the best friend of another babysitter of mine, who happens to be in New Orleans for a month doing mission work right now.
Callie, by the way, is twenty, and was homeschooled from kindergarten through 12th grade, and her mother is a midwife. She’s the 3rd of eight children, so it’s not like my four kids are a shock to her system or anything.
Upon arriving home, after a whole five hours away, I received a glowing report from Callie that went something like this, “Your children are a joy to watch. They’re fun, obedient, pleasant, and polite. I really enjoy taking care of them.”
Light as a feather, and slightly in shock from such a fantastic report, I saw Callie out the door. Then, I went to go pray for the boys, who had just gone to bed.
As I chatted a bit with Ethan, my 11yo, before prayer, I related to him what Callie said.
He replied, with a huff of indignation, “Yeah, except for the two times Wesley started screaming. When Audrey was asleep.”
Me: “Screaming? Did he get angry or something.”
Ethan: “No, he got hurt. Mom, he screamed so loud it made my ears hurt.”
Me: “Screamed because he got hurt?? What happened?”
Ethan: “Well, the first time, he tripped and fell hard into the coffee table. He was so loud. I kept telling him to be quiet. He just kept screaming.”
Me: “The second time must have been when Grant ran into him. Wesley told me about that one. So, did you comfort him?”
Ethan: “No. Mom, my ears were hurting!”
Me: “And it didn’t really dawn on you that your ears were hurting because Wesley was in extreme pain from hitting his head? You were just thinking about a) him being loud, and b) your ears hurting? You didn’t think he might need some comfort of any kind?”
Me: “And you don’t see anything wrong with that?”
Me: “Well, it sounds like that would have been a good time to show some compassion and comfort to your little brother who was in a great deal of pain.”
Ethan, dubiously: “Oh.”
My bubble over their great behavior for Callie popped. Back to reality.
Me: “Well, ideally, no one will scream when Audrey is sleeping, but in the future, if someone is in pain, it would be much more effective to show a little compassion to them, instead of just getting upset at them for being loud.”
Ethan, not convinced: “OK.”
So, I prayed for him, including a bit for the heart of Jesus to grow in him, so that he’d be compassionate to the hurting.