Thursday, July 26, 2012

Forgiveness and the art of long-distance harrassment

It has occurred to me that I may have chosen an inopportune time to begin making every moment count during my eldest son's last year at home since we are currently residing on opposite sides of the state. Annie and I are enjoying some extra summertime fun with cousins and extended family while the menfolk are back at home tending to soccer schedules and their busy social lives (Superdad is simply working).  It has also occurred to me that if Jack were at all aware of my little plan he would likely say I picked the perfect time to embark on my journey.

Awesome. You go, Mom. Get this all out of your system, write about it, read a couple of books and we will all pray that you will have moved on to something else by the time you come back home. No, seriously, I'm totally with you on this, Mom.  Yawn....

Exactly why it might be best if he were none the wiser about my personal challenge to myself. Better to just surprise him with spontaneous moments of fun like, Hey Jack? Let's go explore the magic of Clorox and a toilet bowl brush together! Or, I don't know what we are having for dinner. What are you making? Without a doubt, the element of surprise can only work in my favor.

This also provides me the perfect opportunity to practice the art of long distance harrassment via text.  I know people think texting was invented to provide teenagers with an underground, unmonitored form of communication (and there is something to that) but mothers would be wise to use this and all technology to their advantage.  Our rule in our household is, we pay for the cell phone therefore you must answer any and all calls or texts from mom or dad promptly and politely. I tried to insist on cheerful, grammatically correct responses, but that seemed to be pushing it.

I really am careful not to abuse the gift of parental texting, but it certainly can come in handy.  For example, right now when I am 280 miles away from home. 

Good morning boys! Hope you are enjoying the sunshine (ie. get out of the basement!) Please remember that your father will not enjoy coming home to all of your breakfast, lunch and snack dishes. In other words, clean up after yourselves. Annie and I miss you! Have a great day!

What scintillating responses can I expect from my morning greetings?

Tim: k thanks

Jack: gotcha

Parenting is nothing if not rewarding.

And while the temporary long distance relationship between myself and my boys might not be ideal it does provide other rich possibilities.  Because, of course, while I might have been inspired by my eldest son's impending departure to elevate the purposefulness of my mothering, it is by no means limited to his and my interactions.  I have two other children who need me on my A-game just as much.  So, I am trying to use this abundance of one-on-one time with my daughter to my advantage.

Last night, the fates smiled on me or, rather, they laughed and said, Ha! Here you go! You want to practice being patient, loving and kind?!? Okey doke! 

Annie had spent the better part of the afternoon carefully painting a miniature ceramic tea set. Having declared her masterpiece complete it was left to dry on the breakfast table.  Whether intrigued by the smells or just having been cooped up inside too much in the 90+ degree heat, our 7 month old puppy decided to take a look at said masterpiece.  In his admiration of her artistry he knocked one of the tiny tea cups to the tile floor below.  Ummm... it did not survive the fall.

There were tears. There were angry words about the puppy whom she otherwise loves deeply. There were declarations of never being able to sleep, eat, smile, play, laugh...again. And finally, there was the careful collection of the pieces and a mother's attempt to quietly, calmly, optimistically glue them back together.

At bedtime, after all the tears had dried and Annie had reconciled with her beloved pup, I told her that I was proud of her. I was proud that she had been able to overcome deep disappointment and find reason to smile again. I was proud that she had forgiven her puppy and let him know that he was still loved in spite of his mistakes. I was proud she was willing to still take pride in her creation even if it isn't perfect now. And I told her that I knew God was proud of her, too.

She asked why?

Because God is always happy when we find it in our hearts to forgive others for their mistakes. Even puppies.



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