March 4, 2011

A Pity-Party and Forgiveness

“I don’t like you, Mommy…I like Daddy!  I want Mommy go to work and Daddy stay home!"

He wasn’t mad.  He wasn’t angry.  He wasn’t frustrated.  We weren’t in the heat of a battle of wills. 

He was matter of fact in his tone.  Stating something that he thought I should know.

And I was eating a bowl of Ramen noodles and they were eating fruit and yogurt and hot dogs.  It was an ordinary night.  Daddy was working.  We were home and going through our routine.

But this was not part of the routine; this unexpected declaration of feelings.

Over that bowl of Ramen…I looked up at him with wide eyes.  Speechless.  He had never said anything of this sort in the past.

And before I could stop myself, tears began to well up and over my eyes…spilling down my face.  It was like a flash flood of the eyeballs. 

Try though I might to stop them from flowing, I could not contain how that simple sentence had wounded me. 

Yes, he’s three.  No, he doesn’t mean it.  {I think}.  Of course, he didn’t mean to be malicious or hurt me.  He was just being honest in that moment. 

He misses his Daddy.  He wished Daddy was there.  He isn’t always so fond of me, because we butt heads, he and I. 

And that’s actually alright – because the feeling is quite mutual.  I’m not always so fond of me either and I’d like to see more of Daddy too.

But in this moment, it cut deep.  I knew the intent.  Sort of.  And I recognized that the source of my pain in that moment had only "walked the earth" less than 40 months.  Still…

I felt broken by those words. 

“I don’t like you, Mommy”.

Oh!  The pity-party had begun.  After of all the hard work…all the pouring ALL. OF. ME. into that child day in and day out, going on 32 of those 40 months now.  The sleepless nights.  The exhaustion.  The sacrifice.  All for that simple sentence to come flying out of his mouth in all of his 3-year-old apathy.   I was crushed!

“I want Mommy go to work and Daddy stay home!"

First of all you “short, misinformed, know it all” …I DO go to work every day.  Hello?  What is this I’m doing right now?  Not only do I take care of you and your sister from dawn to dusk, but I have not one but TWO jobs that I work from home.  Sleep is like a dream that I sometimes get a glimpse of.  {actually, I do get at least five hours a night – and I’ll take them!}  I don’t even know my middle name anymore! {actually, I do…since it’s what I "go by"}  I haven’t worn makeup in three years!  {actually, I have it on now}  I can’t even remember what your father looks like, I’m so knee deep in potty time and diapers and meals and toys and butt creams!  {actually, we had lunch today with Daddy}  Mind you, I didn’t say any of this to him, but boy oh boy, did it run through my mind like a bullet train. 

I was feeling so sorry for myself and I cried and cried.  Not all crazy and outloud or anything.  Just like pathetic tears falling frantically into my soup.  Literally.  I was crying in my soup.  Oh my gosh.  I’m a cliché!

Soon after, Quint noticed my tears and leaned over.  He said:

“Mommy?  Wrong?”

“I’m sad,”  I replied.  And more tears hit the chicken broth.  “I’m sad because you said that you don’t like me.  And it really hurt my feelings because I love you so much.”

“Oh.”  And then he smiled.  A kind of coy smile.  Knowing.  I won't even delve into the psycho-analysis of your toddler smiling when he's hurt you.  I don't even think he knew how to react to what I had said and his smiling was a nervous response.  And I might have even taken the time to chastise him for that smile, save the fact that I rushed away to grab a tissue and spare my dinner getting completely watered down.

As I sat back down he stared at me.  For a long time.  And I held my tissue and tried my darndest to “dry it up”.  Finally he reached over and patted my arm.

“Mommy?  Me like you.  Me like you AND Daddy.  Ok?  Me love you.  Ok?”

“Ok, Quint.”  Drying my eyes and trying to let it go.

“Mommy? …………..Sorry….”

And just like that.  It was better.  It was done and we moved on.  With his rejection in one moment, I was crushed and broken.  Because I have given him my everything.  And then he spoke one little word and it was better.  Because I love him.  And I forgive him. 

And the point of this post?  Not just to make you say, “been there!” {I’m sure many of you have}  Not just to make you giggle a bit or feel bad a bit. {though I hope you did...giggle that is}

The point is, as I dried my tears and resumed my eating and life went on…I felt a picture coming into my mind.  A picture of a heavenly Father {stay with me} who loves us beyond comprehension. 

Beyond any other measure.  Who made us.  Lavished us with His bountiful creation.  Cares for us.  Watches over us.  Listens to us.  Rejoices in our success.  Hold us up when we fall and comforts us when we cry.

From dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn again.  Never resting.  Always with His eyes upon us. Always keeping His "little sparrows" in His line of vision.

Every. Single. Moment. of our lives.  Caring for and loving us deeply.

And Who, gave up everything He had for our sake; His Son.

I’m sad to think of how many times I have grieved the heart of God with my choices and my often flagrant disregard for all He has done for me and all He has done in my life. 

How often do we say to Him with our words or even our actions:

I don’t like You

I don’t trust You

I don’t love You

Maybe even, “I don’t acknowledge You”

How much does that grieve God’s heart?  I don’t even like to think about it.  Let alone realize how many times I have behaved as if I felt that way.

Thankfully, God doesn’t hang onto my short-comings.  He is a gentle, caring, and faithful Father who loves us anyway…despite the words that come flying out of our mouths.  Even when we wound His heart, His love for us is so much greater.  Nothing can separate us from the Love of God!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. {Romans 8:38-39}

That is POWERFUL! 

The emotions I felt….I'm telling you - I wanted to run out of the room and cry and feel sorry for myself all over the place when Quint said he didn’t like me.  It's silly maybe - to let it get to me that way.  I like to think I'm made of tougher stuff than that.  But I wanted to shout out all the things I had done for him.  I wanted to list off all of my good qualities and why he should see that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him. I wanted him to see me.

Despite our turning our eyes the other way, God keeps His focus trained on you.  He does not run away.  He does not bury his head.  He does not shout at us.  {well, maybe sometimes…to me anyway} Instead, He seeks us out.  He comes after us with an intense passion and love.  He has called you by name and you are HIS.  He is not letting you go…

When we ask for His forgiveness, the Bible says He is generous and forgives us – out of his Deep Abiding Love for us.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. {Micah 7:18-19}

I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that God is willing to “hurl” my sins into the depths of the sea!  I’m so grateful that He is always showing us – even in our everyday lives, if we are willing to see – that He loves us and is at work even when we have our own pity parties – He still works out our lives for His glory! 

Forgive me Lord, for putting You through my selfish, short, misinformed, know it all attitude.

I like you.  A lot. 

I love You.

And I’m sorry