Hi there, you tiny human-
You and I had our very first bad morning yesterday. I wasn’t really surprised because we’ve been expecting it. We knew it would come eventually, because, as I mentioned before, you are a human, and most humans have good days and bad days.
We’ve talked about how people can get angry and sassy when they are hungry. We call it “hangry” (hungry and angry).
I think that we were both “hangry” yesterday morning. You, because you refused to eat whatever I had to offer you, and me, because I’m fairly certain that I currently have a food-borne illness from the cheese fries we bought for you Monday night at Main Event to prevent “BIH” (for the laymen, that would be Bowling Induced Hangriness) and anything I eat stays in my body for about 3.6 seconds.
So, you were sassy and I was sassy and we had a great big sassy sass fest.
After we both took a break from our sass soiree, we were able to talk a little bit about what happened and we both apologized and forgave each other…but we still had that PTSD (Post-Traumatic Sass Disorder) feeling that happens after you’ve just made up with someone.
When I dropped you off at your afternoon camp, I was a little relieved and I’m sure you were too. It was probably good for both of us to be around other people. Distance does make the heart grow a little less sassy.
I had lots of drive time to pray about our morning and my attitude. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that being a part of a family (whatever your place in it) requires much grace and I was sorely lacking in my grace supply this morning.
Kids are sassy. It’s unreasonable of me to expect that you would be well-behaved 100% of the time. That you are well-behaved and in a good mood about 90% of the time is a great testament to how resilient and amazing you are.
I know that you won’t be surprised by this but I was once told, at a job, that I needed to control my face better. If someone is telling me something that I don’t like, they will know it because I will have a mask of disgust on my face before my brain registers that I should probably filter my expression. Ditto for my words sometimes. Driving in my car yesterday, I realized that if I got in trouble every time I sassed someone at work, I would be in trouble ALL THE TIME.
It appears that we are cut from the same cloth, kiddo. You are so expressive that I can tell when you think I’ve made a request that is beneath you. You too have a hard time filtering what you say.
We are sassy people, you and I.
So, the more I thought about the morning, the more I realized that the reason your sass made me sassy is because it was like ME sassing ME.
Why shouldn’t I respond to you with grace and compassion? I have been where you are.
Heck, I’m there right now.
The other thing I realized in the car was this: that I still love you the same. Even though we had a tough morning, I still worried that you were having fun at camp. I still wanted to hear about all of the things that you did. I hoped that your friend was still your friend.
I realized that we can have a hard morning and it doesn’t change the way I feel about you.
When I went to pick you up at 4:00 and you asked me if I wanted to play ping-pong, I knew that we were past the sass of the morning. So, even though I was still hungry and a little weak, we played, and I basically chased the ball around the room for 30 minutes, and your face was so intense that you could have scared the crap out of your opponent (which indeed you might have with today’s foe).
When we came home, you put your entire hard-earned allowance into our donation jar. When I asked if you were sure that you wanted to give all of your money to those who we have been praying for, you responded with,
“Yes, I’m sure. I don’t need it. I already have a home.”
I had to take several deep breaths to keep from weeping openly. I gave you a big hug and kissed you on the head and told you that I love you.
I think yesterday was a microcosm of the entire parenting experience. Parenting is the hardest and best thing that I’ve done. Parenting is this weird mix of feelings and experiences that can be so hard in one second and so incredible in the next.
I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to parent you (even with the bad mornings) for anything.
I’ll love you forever.
(You can read more Dear Son letters by clicking here.)