Friday, August 23, 2013

Life's Little Lessons

Life has a way of teaching us it's lessons, doesn't it? Both through hard struggle & exhilarating accomplishment, we are taught & grown & stretched in this life. I believe the lessons that stick the strongest with us are often times those ones that we worked hard for, or in some cases, had to fall down hard for.

My Jett, he's been both working hard & falling hard lately. Life is teaching. Lessons are being grasped. And as a mother, I am becoming more & more aware of the opportunities there are to teach & show grace to my children as they brave this big world of lessons. There is much to be strained from this big bowl of parenthood I am swirling around in if I open my eyes & seek it.

Last Friday I had a list of errands to run, Goodwill being the first to check off my list {it's the end of August & you know what that means--time to start thinking about piecing together Halloween costumes}. I don't know about all you mommas out there, but getting out of the house to run errands with two little ones, it always proves to be a nightmare. It's just hard. And by the end of it all, I'm a sweaty, crabby mess that just wants to get home with my bags of groceries & two kids, swearing the entire way home that I'm never leaving the house. Ever. Again. Anyone else feel the same? Oh please, tell me somebody else feels the same.

Okay, back to the story. Goodwill. An old, worn pair of denim overalls for Jett's Halloween costume. A weathered urn that I picked up, sat back down & picked up once again, this time placing it in my cart realizing there were lots of places in my house that it could be a perfect fit for. A mini candelabra. A pair of black shoes for Lulla's Halloween costume. I was happy with my findings & eager to get out while the getting was good--meaning while my children weren't falling apart & while I still had enough gas in me to get me through the next stop--grocery shopping. I was skimming one more section as we were headed to the front of the store when I caught Jett hanging on the handle of the cart--the cart that his sister was sitting in. I got after him, quite sternly, because this hanging thing he's's a problem. He hangs on our bedroom door handles at home. He hangs on the refrigerator door. He hangs on the clothing rods in our master closet. We caught him hanging on the back windshield wiper to my SUV. He's been in a heap of trouble lately for hanging on things that aren't meant for hanging on. We've explained the consequences. We've disciplined for it. We've talked through horrible scenarios that could result in his this newfound excitement for dangling from things.  So this day, I told him to stop, told him he could tip the cart over, told him he knows better. I turned away only to hear in the next few seconds, a great big bang of a CRASH!!!!!! Sure enough, he'd hung on the handle just as soon as I'd turned my head & this time ended up pulling the cart over. He was lying on the concrete floor, flat on his back, most of his body pinned underneath the cart. Lulla was laying on top of his chest, still buckled into the cart, both her legs bent underneath the handle. It was silence as my panicked self rushed to them, trying to pull the cart up, while holding onto Lulla as her top-heaviness was trying to pull her forward out of the cart. It wasn't long before the shock of what had happened was setting in & they both began wailing. I picked Lulla up out of the cart, mostly worried she had hit her head when she fell forward or broken her legs by the way they both had been lodged underneath the handle of the cart but as I looked all over her body, I didn't see any evidence that she was terribly hurt, only that she was scared. Jett was sitting up on the ground now, holding his left leg, saying it hurt around his shin. It had a pretty decent red mark appearing so I felt around on it & asked him to walk on it, which he did just fine. He was crying huge tears & began repeating, "I'm sorry, Mommy! I'm so sorry, Mommy! I'm sorry I hurt Sissy! I'm sorry! I'm sorry I broke your pot! I'm really sorry I broke your pot! {I hadn't even realized, but everything from the cart had flown out in the cart wreck & he was apologizing because the urn had broken & shattered into pieces.} " He was so remorseful. So scared. In that moment, I was flooded with emotion. I was terrified at the thought that both of my children could have been hurt terribly & I was so thankful that they fell the way they did, thankful to God for protecting them. I was angry, angry that it had to come to this for Jett to finally realize his actions are dangerous. I felt compassion, knowing by Jett's face & the reaction he was showing, that he truly was so sorry for his actions. And so I took a moment there in the middle of Goodwill while I was kneeling, Lulla propped on one knee & Jett cradled in my other arm to tell him this is why Mommy & Daddy are always after him to stop hanging on things. Not because we are mean. Not because we don't want him to have fun. Because really bad things can happen & we truly do know what is safe & what isn't. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have had to say a word in that moment & the lesson Jett gleaned that day would have stuck like crazy glue. But he was already in my arms & we needed a little breather before we got up & went on our way, anyhow, so I took the opportunity to explain through the lesson life had just tossed him.

What I really wanted to do after the Goodwill trip was call it a day & go home. But we were a twenty minute drive from home & a two minute drive from Hy-Vee. My cupboards were bare. My grocery list was long. So I sucked it up & we did our grocery shopping. And let me tell you, I have never seen Jett more quiet & well behaved in the grocery store as I did this day. He didn't make a peep. He didn't beg for junkfood. He didn't tell his sister, "I'be had enough!" when she smacked him in the head, repeatedly. Still as a little mouse, he was. And come to think of it, I haven't caught him hanging on a single closet rod, door handle or windshield wiper since last Friday.

Some of the lessons that stick the most are the ones we have to fall down hard for.

But luckily, not all lessons are learned the hard way. Some are brought to us through great opportunities--opportunities to stretch ourselves, to grow within, to nurture within ourselves the seedlings of accomplishment that are lying on the surface needing to be watered & pruned until they begin blooming on their own. And my Jett, he's been having lessons like this, as well.

About three weeks ago, we were at Target & Jett, like every other three year old, likes to spend a good amount of time in the toy aisles when we are at there. When our day isn't rushed & we have the extra time, I like to let him browse. I like that most days he learns that we walk away from those toy aisles without buying a thing, & that just because he wants something, doesn't always mean he gets it. And sometimes I love watching his face light up when I am able surprise him & say, "Throw it in the cart. You can have that toy today, buddy." On this particular day, he had set eyes on a remote control plane character from the newly released Planes movie & he was giddy with excitement. He wanted it. Baaaad. You know the drill. They get so excited, carrying on about how cool it is. Their eyes are eager, filled to the brim with pure childhood. You want to buy it for them. You want them to have it. You want to make them happy. But this plane was 40 bucks, & for me, that's just too much money to spend on an toy on a random Wednesday afternoon. So I explained that the plane was indeed very cool, but that it also cost a lot of money & perhaps for a special occasion he could get a plane like that. He accepted what I'd told him & he mentioned that maybe he could get it when he goes to see the movie & I agreed that was a good idea & that we'd talk about it. But my momma wheels began turning...

Back up a few days. Jared & I had come to the decision, after noticing that Jett's thumb sucking was increasing significantly throughout the day, that we needed to find a way to curb it. Honestly, I wasn't  all that concerned about the thumb sucking in general, & neither is Jett's pediatric dentist. But, Jared & I agreed we would like to see him doing it much less. But we knew the only way to stop the thumb sucking was to get rid of the trigger--a nasty old ratty tatty Hallmark dog that goes by the name of Belle.  Jett ditched Monkey months ago & began clinging to this dog, Belle & Belle is attached to Jett at all times. In the car. On the couch. Throughout the house. To church. Everywhere we go, Belle goes. Kicking her to the curb was the real challenge that was lying in front of us, not really the thumb sucking.

So one day, Momma came up with a plan of attack that included a chart, some star stickers, a month of work {30 days to kick a bad habit, right?} & the prize Jett has his heart set on at the end of this accomplishment.

The deal was this: The dog stays in Jett's bed. She doesn't come dowstairs. She doesn't go in the car. She doesn't watch t.v. with him. He is allowed to have her at naptime & bedtime, only.

And I'm proud to announce, that other than the first few initial weepy moments when the reality of what was happening was setting in, Jett has been on board like a champ!

We've only got a week left until the remote control plane {that is sitting in a Target bag in my front entry closet because I couldn't risk it not being at Target at the end of this} will land it's wheels into the arms of our Jett Jett. He has done so well & Jared & I & all of Jett's grandparents {who have joined in the fun of rewarding him as well for this big accomplishment}, are beyond proud of him. But the best part of all this? Seeing how proud he is of himself. Inside his heart, something is happening--self confidence, a sense of accomplishment, a speck of work ethic, it's all building. And you can tell by looking at him, by the way he announces to his loved ones that he is done sucking his thumb, that what is stirring inside his heart, it feels good to him.

Some of the lessons that stick the most, are the ones we work hard for.

Lesson learning's been happening all across the board around here & I am grateful to this life, for coming alongside this momma & giving me the nudge to grow my child, through both the tough times & exciting ones. My boy is better for it. He is carrying within him traits of character & strength that only a few short weeks ago, he hadn't yet discovered in himself.

I am paying close attention these days. Opportunity everywhere. Lessons to be gleaned. Ways to grow. For me as a momma & for my littles.

Life has a way of teaching it's lessons, that's for sure.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how the trips to the store for me are often dreaded. I want so much to get out of the house, but the fight with the kids is often too much to deal with. I'm glad the kids are ok after their tumble. Its hard when they have to learn lessons the hard way.