It is Sunday 7:30pm, a weekend of soccer games and school projects is almost coming to an end. The soft noise on the background of a green blanket in the dryer almost ready is distracting me. I am trying to help my oldest with his ‘almost’ done math homework. My little one reminds me we still need to put the final touch on his 2nd grade book project. I sigh as I turn to him.
It is still not bed time, but I am exhausted and my desire is for my kids to finish their pending homework and get ready for bed. Ethan, my oldest, has a different plan. He wants to finish his homework quick for a different reason. He is rushing with the desire to get at least 30 minutes of Monopoly Money play time before it strikes 8:30pm.
Time goes by and Ethan keeps on getting overwhelmed with improper fractions and mixed numbers, and I am loosing my patience. Andre stays quite on the background, but at the same time is trying to get my attention so he can complete his project. I check Ethan’s work, he has to redo a couple of incorrect math problems. He gets so angry that his face turns red as a turnip and starts mumbling unkind words. I immediately stop him, and think to myself, just a few corrections for goodness sake! I ask him to take a time out which seems to make matters worst. He gets up from the chair throwing a fit. He walks away screaming three words that feel like a dagger stabbing through my heart, “I HATE YOU!!!, I HATE YOU!!”
His behavior stop me in my tracks, how to do I respond to that? do I scream mean things back? do I take away his iPad? what to do! I was able to keep my amygdala from being hijacked and control my emotions, something Andre is not able to do as his tears start rolling down his face. I send Ethan away to take a shower while I wonder where is my kind and sensitive 10 yr old??
My analytical mind starts working and processing what could possibly be causing this change in behavior. Is it the books he is reading, the Netflix shows he might be watching, friends at school?? Andre brings me back to the present moment as he reminds me we still have Church homework to do…What??Why are we doing homework on Sunday night!!!! He reminds me we had soccer games, projects and guests over the weekend…sometimes I wonder if this little one is really 8 yrs old.
Forgiveness… that is the topic for this week’s church reading. It still amazes me how guidance comes to me at the right moment and how sometimes I dismiss it. Andre reads a paragraph from his religious education book and emphasizes it is something we should read together once Ethan calms down. The message is clear as I hear it from my youngest son’s mouth. I feel a sense of peace coming back to me once again.
Bedtime is upon us. I enter Ethan’s bedroom, he has calmed down but still says he won’t take any words back. I softly tell him I forgive him because I love him even though he has not asked for forgiveness. Those three little words are hurtful words and not acceptable, I clearly let him know. I make sure he understands that by forgiving him I have removed all grudges within me and that I have crushed my ego. There is only love and peace flowing through me. He seems confused and thrown off by my reaction to his behavior. He stays quite for a couple of minutes then softly says he wants to give me a hug but because he still mad with me he won’t.
At that moment, I am reminded about something I read once about the little devil and angel on the opposite shoulders. The little devil on your shoulder is currently taking over, this is your anger, your ego trying to overpower you and your emotions. The little angel on your other shoulder is love, kindness and wellbeing, I say to him. Which one are you going to let win, I ask, the one that will disturbe your night or the one that will leave you with a peaceful sleep?
I take the green blanket out of the dryer and go back to his room. I softly lay it on him and to my big surprise, he hurries up and throws his arms around me. As I sit next to him, he lets all emotion and frustrations out by describing his feelings and what is going thru his mind. I listen and reassure him all is going to be well. As long as we love and trust each other we will conquer math and whatever else might come our way, I say as I start getting teary eye. He asks why I am crying as he looks at me, I tell him I am emotional and grateful. I thank God for such a good son, and with a felt hearted hug we say good night.
My monthly visitor is at fault for my added emotions and urge to cry. I intent to do a few minutes of meditation, but I can’t focus. I turn my iPad on and check out Netflix. Out of all the available options, I opt to watching “How to loose a guy in 10 days”….. good grief! 😉