*Warning: This may bit a tad bit long. Just a tad.*:-)
This time last night, as I reflected on my day, I remember being grateful for the hugs and "I love you"'s that come at bedtime. The sweetness of tiny hands in mine as we sat in a circle and said bedtime prayers. I embraced every second of it, because the hours leading up to that were quite different.
Aaron, the 6-going-on-16 year old, was a complete challenge ALL NIGHT. Bad attitude. REAL bad attitude was all I heard from his little lips. Complaining about sitting at the table to eat. About saying grace. About the food. About not getting dessert after refusing to eat dinner.
Which I seriously comtemplated NOT making tonight. Teach them what starving kids feel like, that's what I'll do! An evening with no meal. Won't hurt us, right? No soup for you, or you or you!
I made Aaron sit in the dining room chair, and told him he wasn't to get up until I told him he could. He couldn't play, read...nothing. Just think about his behavior. Reflect. It wasn't fun watching him try to hold in his tears. But it was necessary. Until the next round started. Again with the dessert. Fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies: his favorite. Nobody makes them like Mommy. He was crushed that we wouldn't let him have any. (Which I never even made.) The result? Much more bad attitude, this time from both of us. I actually told him that if he couldn't say anything nice I'd tape his mouth shut.
Yep. I said it.
I'll bet you won't find that in our parenting bible study!
And then I thought, "God, if you love me, you slap a piece of tape over MY mouth right now before I say anything else like that."
It was a trying night, but it ended so much better than it began. In a circle, holding hands, taking turns telling Jesus what we were thankful for.
Now, I sit reflecting on today, my 34th birthday, and how different it was.
As soon as I got to work, my dear friend and Beth Moore buddy Sandra greeted me with her rendition of "Happy Birthday." And a plate of fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies.
She's got quite a voice, so the whole place knew it was my birthday. I must have heard it a hundred times. The workday was just right. Not too busy, or too slow. I came home to cards from unexpected people (Love you Angie!), internet messages from old and new-ish friends, and phone messages from even more unexpected people. Two aunts and my brother Gary. I know that sounds strange to say unexpected, but you have to understand that my family is not very affectionate, and we don't see or speak to each other all that much. So having those messages was quite touching.
My mom had told people about my sister's birthday in January and she was so blessed by the calls that mom decided to do the same for me, too. Listening to those messages almost made me cry, in a good way. Thanks, mom!!
The previously misbehaving one called Aaron wished me Happy Birthday ALOT. He gave me good hugs, and those are infrequent, too. I'm not usually his favorite person. (Probably because I tell him I'll tape his mouth shut :-))
My dad brought my teenager home, and Jeff decided to have me blow out my candles while dad was around. So I stood there, surrounded completely by the men in my life: my husband, my three sons, and my dad. Not a female in sight but me.
And they sang to me. Every last one of them. Even the teen boy who's too cool for me. I can't remember my dad ever singing. EVER. Not even in church!
They won't be winning "American Idol" any time soon, but they sure get my vote! I felt so blessed to be with all of them. That very moment could not have been more perfect.
No fights over dinner. An actual conversation with my teenager Michael. Everyone getting along. Nice gifts from my husband. Lots of "I wuv you, Mommy"'s from my 3 year old Eli. But most of all, a truly memorable birthday. This just might be the best one ever.
So, to everyone who played a part today, thank you for a blessed, wonderful, amazing day. Thank you, Father, for another birthday, another year in my journey. I pray that You help me follow Your plan for me and make this year count. Thank you that each day is new, with a whole new set of experiences, whether they be fun, deep, educational, challenging, or just a good old fashioned blessing.
Thank you, for the difference a day makes...