“Mom, can I fly my helicopter”? My eyes flipped open and a silhouette of my son filled the dark void. It’s six am; did I mention it’s still dark out?
It’s time to get up!
Cutting the peaceful silence of our slumber, it’s time to start the day…. Where is my coffee?
The helicopter is my son’s new favorite toy; we got it for him for Christmas. He loves its color, red; he loves the blinking lights, he loves charging it. He loves flying it with his Dad. His dad has one too, boys never grow up… it drives me nuts, but if I am honest, I do love it. His dad does “fly-bys” at my head, at the dog’s head. My son, smartly, won’t come near my head but he loves to “fly-by” his sister’s head. Buzzing the tower! She hates it! I can’t accurately describe the disdain she has or the shrill-screeching that comes up from her lungs out of her mouth, the little hands usually so delicate now balled into a fist… It happens daily.
This morning the “fly-by” cuts into the unusually peaceful morning we’ve all been having. Daddy is making breakfast, coffee is in hand… I am working on getting ready to head off to work; ironing my pants quietly, joyfully. In the other room I am hearing the little conversation, the giggling, and helicopter buzzing in the background… I love these moments.
It’s wonderful, until, I hear the screech of his name, the two syllable name that now becomes one syllable as if it’s a bad word --- it flies from her lips.
Peace now cut, once again, with bickering that follows; the tattling that follows the bickering. I brace myself, because it’s coming… so is my anger. Why
can’t they just be nice to each other? Why can’t they just work it out?
Why does the impending “MOOOOMMMM” make me want to change my name and run screaming out the door sans pants? The anger cuts through my skin like a knife, straight through to my bones and back out the other side. "MOOOOMMMM” has me seeing red! I lose all grace!
Angrily I think about how blissful the morning was just a few, short, moments ago and now “Mom” has to step in and referee the situation, the helicopter will go up on the counter. They will both go to their separate corners and my morning is now ruined.
Or is it? Grace stops my mouth and softly nudges me…
What if this time I change myself?
What if I don’t begin the yelling?
What if I change how I see this situation?
My thought flutters to my own brother, the fights we’d have… especially the fights in the car on vacation – we’d draw this imaginary line down the center seat just daring the other to cross it with so much as pinky movement, a sly smile crossing our lips as we set-in to annoy with a purpose. It’s what kids do, it’s what siblings do.
I realize this bickering builds a relationship. This will become a story they share around the dinner table with us, with each other, with their own kids. Suddenly, I realize I will play a part in how it is remembered. Do I want it remembered filled with laughter, love and grace or do I want to be a part of this memory as an angry, ugly accessory?
Grace returns… I am still “Mooommmm”, I still referee the situation, the toy goes away, the children are separated but instead all my actions are intentionally handled with love and grace.
Ugly angry accessory I am not!