Monday, December 31, 2012

Zero Desire to Please My Children

I woke up with the same feeling I went to bed with last night - I'm frustrated with my kids.  We were given free tickets for the hayride at Santa's Wonderland (A Christmas light display with "over a million lights").  I've been wanting to go for years and haven't because my husband is vehemently opposed.  So, last night, we went with Grandma and a friend of hers.

The lights were awesome and worth the money we would have paid for the tickets.  No doubt about it.  But, a few things along the way crept in and insidiously stole my joy.

Walking the football field-length gravel parking lot, in the dark, carrying a 3-year-old, and trying to get the older two to STOP throwing rocks and playing tag between all of the pedestrians and parked cars, was #1.  It might not have been so bad, if I didn't have to grab my boys by their coats before they heeded my voice.

The gravel-lined path for the hayride waiting line also proved too much temptation for little boys.  They HAD to pick up the rocks and fill the one hood between them, in between trying to kick them a reasonable distance.  No problem, except the aforementioned line is full of people in close proximity.  Fun.  #2.

After a reasonable wait, we happily climbed aboard the hayride on the second trailer, the farthest away from the diesel fumes.  The moment we've all been waiting for...  We were getting ready to go under the first tunnel of lights, but I had to cajole my 3-year-old to look at it, as he was looking at the ground move underneath the back tire.  He was cold, but refused the jackets I brought, and was that "I'm ready to go home" kid about 1/3 of the way through.  #3.

We completed the light tour with many oohs and awes, some musical chairs on the hayride, lots of "I'm ready to go home, now's", and overwhelming appreciation that the entire light display ended with Jesus rising from the tomb (a resurrection/ascension combo, if you will).  Jesus Christ got the most important "spot" and for this I was uplifted.  At least, The reason for the whole production had been remembered, and honored.  I was happy for Jesus.

To make the night complete, we agreed by consensus, that we would drink some hot chocolate by the blazing bonfire, and listen to some live music.  I volunteered to stand in the hot chocolate line and everyone else settled in by the fire.  15 minutes later, I rejoined the group, looking forward to melting away the remnants of the early accumulation of trivial irritations. 

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Oldest is pouting because he needs a straw (#4), youngest is sad because it's too hot to drink (#5), and I can't really relax because I'm holding two cups of hot chocolate (#6).  As comforting as holding one warm drink is, holding two screams, "You cannot relax because things are not as they should be!"  I was officially in my 3-year-old's camp, "I'm ready to go home, now!"  On the way out, my middle son begged for kettle corn because he was so hungry (#7).  Sorry, I just spent $13.50 on hot chocolate.

~After writing the first paragraph, I recognized the problem.  I have been wanting to go to Santa's Wonderland for years.  My expectations were simply to high, from the get-go.  I wish I could have recognized and released myself from those ugly, little things!  That doesn't mean that my kids shouldn't have been better behaved and more appreciative - these are things parents should expect from their children!  But, the fact that they fell short highlights the areas where I've fallen short.  Maybe that's another reason I wasn't able to let go of all the little stuff, like I supposed I should.

I don't ever remember being ungrateful as a child.  Wait.  Would I remember that?  . 

Anyway, I'm sitting here this morning, with zero desire to please my children.  My efforts yesterday proved that they can't be satisfied.  So today, for now, they're on their own.  Maybe I'll feel differently after I offer my prayer...

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the awesome light display at Santa's Wonderland and for the finale, Your Son, Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Lord, I am frustrated with my children's lack of obedience and gratitude.  Every morning, I offer you my life, including my boys and my parenting.  I have already done that today, but I am doing it again, now.  Lord, please guide me.  Help me to practice Your mercy and love.  Please give me the wisdom to know when and how to discipline them, so they may be pleasing to You (and to us).  Please forgive my impatience, ingratitude, and failures in charity.  I love you.  Amen.       

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