Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sometimes, You Just Get Silent

I've said it before, and I still believe it's true.

I think the hardest phase of parenting is...
...the one you're in right now.
Because you've made it through the phases you've been through. And they didn't kill you.
You're pretty sure it's going to get better. Somehow. So you have hope for the future.
But the phase you're in right now? It's so hard!!!
Because it's the present.
And you're living it.

And, wow. Some of these present days are really tough.

Last week Brian and I had a good, albeit difficult, conversation with our 20-year-old son. (Actually, I didn't do much of the conversing. I was mostly biting my tongue and praying.) And I guess the "success" of that discourse threw me off, because I thought it meant we had reached a point of being able to talk things out rationally.
I figured we could now get past emotion and rely on reason to guide our interactions.
Apparently, I was mistaken.
Because yesterday that same son was really upset about something. He'd gone fishing all day Sunday and was uploading footage onto my computer yesterday to edit into an awesome video for his Youtube channel. In the process, he discovered that none of the video included audio. Something happened - and he didn't know what - which resulted in "my whole day being wasted!" So, Josh said. He was mad.
And pretty sad, too. I heard it in the tears that almost dripped from his voice.
So I went into problem-solving-mother-mode and I tried to suggest things which might make his outlook a little brighter. Cuz it really stunk seeing and hearing my boy so disappointed. I made my best effort at being both sensitive to his pain and realistically optomistic. The ideas I offered were - I thought - good ones. It's stuff I would have tried if I were in the same position. And it all seemed reasonable to me. If Josh could get past his emotion, I thought he would benefit from my opinions.
But, no.
My son was able to come up with a rejection for each proposal I made. Even when I tried to explain myself more clearly. He wasn't having any of it. And it seemed like we were about to start raising our voices with each other. Over a situation in which I was just trying to help!
So I got silent.
Because I didn't want to get into a shouting match while trying to help my son.
And as I sat in the silence I prayed for him, asking God to lift his heart. I thought of 101 encouraging words I'd like to say, scriptures I'd like to share, and pieces of advice I'd like to give. But I stayed silent. Because God wasn't nudging me to speak.
Only to pray.

For an instant, I longed for the days when I could simply pick Josh up and give him a kiss - and see all his troubles fade away. Because I wanted so much to ease his burden. But then I remembered those were also the days of car seats, and poopy diapers, and temper tantrums, and a bunch of other things I don't miss - and I decided to be thankful for today.
Yeah. Even though I've been doing this mom-thing for nearly 22 years (Tomorrow. Elizabeth turns 22 tomorrow!) it's still hard. Every day is a new situation and I'm learning as I go.
How thankful I am that when I don't know what to do I can just get silent - and pray!


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