Monday, April 12, 2010

Melting Peanut Butter

He lost us at church yesterday, my second boy, middle child, the one with loudest cry and strongest passions and most demands. I signed the two boys into their class, even though they begin the service in the auditorium where I am, up front in a cluster of their classmates to sing with us a few songs before they leave for their own stories and activities. Then I headed to the nursery across the room to deposit Raindrop with the babies. Christopher Robin followed me in and helped put the numbered tag on her diaper bag, then we went out to collect Peanut Butter and head for the auditorium. He was where I had left him, face in hands, bent over a bench, crying. Quietly, because, passionate as he is, he is closed, silent, and reserved around strangers. I knelt and pulled his hands from his tear streaked cheeks and hugged and listened while he told me he didn't want Christopher Robin to leave him there alone, and I apologized and told him we were just through the door in the nursery, and lifted his sturdy three year old body and took him to the front row of the auditorium where the kids all collect, set him beside Christopher Robin in a seat, showed him where I would be at the front, singing, and asked Christopher Robin to please hold his hand on the way back to their class when the time came, just for a little added comfort and security.
It was most of the way through the third song that I heard Peanut Butter's wail and realized that the tears of a little while ago had returned and taken over and washed his self-possession away. I saw one of his teachers pick him up and lead all the children back towards their class area. Songs ended, I found a seat in the back next to My Hero, who was manning the screen for the service. They came and got me then, to rescue my puddled three year old, who was still beyond recovery. He sighed with relief to be held in my arms, and when I promised to hold him in my arms through the service if he could quiet his sobbing, he swallowed again and again and held his peace. As I listened to our pastor explain the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of salvation, I thought about Peanut Butter's emotional instability and the rushing of getting ready for church on Sunday morning and the many sleepy mornings when he just wants me to hold him and I nudge him to make his bed and empty the silverware tray of the dishwasher and eat breakfast and get dressed. I think of the 5 love languages and wonder if his is touch or quality time... And I wonder how much it would help him want to do what's right, how much it would help my relationship with him, if I took the time to hold him and snuggle with him for a few minutes in the mornings to let him know he's important to me and that I love him. Too often these days I see him look at me with challenge and rebellion, even dislike, and I know that will happen sometimes, that he doesn't like the rules I lay down or the consequences I apply, but I sense an imbalance... like maybe he isn't as sure about my unconditional love for him as he should be. Like he needs to know I'm on his team and I'm cheering for him and the things he does matter because I love him so much.
I wonder if some time on my lap wrapped in a blanket reading a book or talking in the morning might have helped prevent yesterday's meltdown.

Focus for today: Make sure my kids know how much they are loved.

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