He has stolen again. Not my money, not any of my possessions and still not my joy. (I vowed a long time ago to not let that happen.) But he has stolen again, let me explain.
Pizza squares are in the oven and he’s in his room. I want to share them with him, instead, I am eating them out of vengeance. They were a treat that I thought I would surprise him with, but his behavior today has reduced me to eating them all myself. Do I want to be this person? Do I want to eat chocolate in the closet and cry in the shower? Do I want to spend every waking hour scheduling appointments to see how we can best serve him? Do I want to rehash the argument we had this morning with every professional therapist we know? Do I want to send him to his room just because the sight of him frustrates me? No, I don’t want to, but I do. He’s in his room. I’m eating Pizza Squares. The joy that resides in me is deeply buried by the pain and frustration of the morning, but I still know on a head level that it is there. He can’t steal my joy! He can, however, steal the dream I had of being the mother I wanted to be. I will have to resolve to be the best mother I can to a child who rejects my mothering. I will have to be a mother with a much stronger heart. One who can function with a heart broken in a million pieces…daily.
Today I got an introduction text from a mother who may be in the same shoes as I. I will be called to encourage her when she thinks she is surprising me with all the things that her daughter does to her. She will think she is shocking me with her tales of lying, stealing, cheating and hoarding, but I will laugh a bit and tell her it is to be expected. “These kids do that.” I will tell her that she may never feel the warm, fuzzies that she was hoping to feel. I will tell her that though her parenting style may never feel “normal,” she will survive it. And, I will tell her she is not alone. Just as someone told me in the past.
Oh how I wish I could be the mother I want to be, but he stole that. I guess I’ll just be the mom who eats all the Pizza Squares and shares the love she has in her heart with other moms who are picking up the pieces of theirs. I may not get to be the mom I want to be to this child, but I can be the friend I want to be to other moms. And, I will do it all with the true joy that will always remain in the bottom of my heart through faithful prayer.
When Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” I think he had Pizza Squares in mind! (Nehemiah 8:10)