Pomp Your Circumstance

Begin:   Looking out amongst the crowded gymnasium one can sense the excitement of a generation about to take their first steps into the world.  Clad in caps and gowns, with messages lovingly taped to the top, making sure the tassel is in the right place, we can feel their anticipation.  Young ladies cast an eye down to the single flower given them by a loved one.  The boys jostle one another, …

too much pent up energy to vocalize what they are thinking.  It’s easier to punch each other than to tell someone how they feel.  Questions loom in the air, “will we see each other again?  Is this really it?  Where do we go from here?  Did we really make it?  What do we do now?” Can you hear them?  The nervous laughter, the louder than normal jokes about home room giving way to their lining up one last time.  The music swells, the Pomp and Circumstance we know so well.  It is the end of an era; the beginning of another.   The beginning, what is that?  How do we begin?  What is the beginning if this moment is the end?   We watch as the next generation of young dreamers’ file down the aisle, some choking back tears, others stifling a laugh or two.  They learned to line up this way years ago when kindergarten meant tying shoes and nap time.  Today they line up and take the walk one last time, journeying into their unknown, to begin again.     Our thoughts and dreams give way to action; a new era ushers in a chance to begin and to lean into a state of reinvention.   Watershed moments bring us to the ends of ourselves, to the foot of the cross, to the end, and a chance to begin again.  There are many who can relate to being called to begin.  Moses was commissioned to lead a people to freedom, to be the voice of redemption, to begin a movement.  Joseph saw visions in dreams, suffered terrible scrutiny from family members, lived through the betrayal of his brothers, and was called to begin a legacy.  Mary began a relationship with a carpenter, brought forth a child, thus beginning a new covenant of grace and peace. We are also asked to begin, to initiate goodness, peace, and compassion for one another.  The means in which we start the process does not and cannot look the same.    The beauty of the process of beginning is that is must look different because the road we journey is as individual as snowflakes that fall.  Being a people who can introduce one another to love and kindness is perhaps one of the highest callings we undertake.  Sometimes it is scary to begin a journey towards something unknown.  The voices of reason scream at us, questioning our resolve, the talent we possess, the practicality of a dream so dear.  Yet, we can begin that journey with a small step, knowing that if done with a pure heart and honest motivation, there is little we cannot accomplish.  Our Creator knows this and wants our success more than we can imagine.  This benevolent Maker infuses us with all the means necessary to entertain those dreams and desires, the desire is there for us to take the steps in faith, to begin the task of being.  With the excitement of a young graduate we can embrace the exhilaration of another new journey and a moment steeped in beginning. “‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’ Acts 26:16-18

Calgon?

I posted on my facebook last night that I was mad enough at my children to spit nails.  I was frustrated by the lack of respect, the insanity of clutter all around my house, the general confusion as the end of the school year takes hold and summer descends.  I also wrote that I feel alone in this parenting gig.  It was of some comfort to hear that there are other parents, many not that younger than me, that feel the same.

I almost kicked myself for vocalizing that.  Then, I stopped.  Why should I be afraid or apologetic for admitting that sometimes I do not have a clue how to do this?  There are moments that I do not want to be climbed on, or my food eaten from my plate.  There are also times that I do not want to share my bath, my bed, or my emotions.  Sometimes I simply want to be left alone.  Even, as I write this, I have my oldest standing right next to my chair swiveling it back and forth…..now my youngest has come over to ask me to open his tiny muffin package, hurling a litany of questions as I open it. 

Do not get me wrong, I love, love, love my boys and I have a connection with them that transcends anything else I have ever experienced.    I did not and do not have that connection with my family.  My mother will tell me, “But you would not let any of us love you.  So I stopped trying.”  Ok.  I don’t understand the connection my boys and I have, but it is spiritual as well as tangible and it defies definition.  It is love, pure and simple.

That does not mean in the dark part of me that I do not struggle with being a mom.  This is incredibly hard heart work.  It is an all-consuming, up at dawn, never-ending roller coaster that most of the time I embrace wholly.  But…there are times.

My oldest current diagnosis sticks.  ADD, Bi-polar, and extremely gifted.  He is a high needs boy with energy and passion to spare.  He is much like his mama, I just don’t have the ADD or bi-polar.  I was high energy, passionate, stubborn, and independent….WAIT!  I still am.   My oldest is also highly intuitive, compassionate, giving, and perceptive.  He has been with me on my Seminary journey the whole time, and at 8 years can speak to the heart of some complicated issues.  He asks theological questions that have no easy answers, and he works them out for himself.  He is my emotional barometer.  If something is off, I can count on him to sense it, just as I do.  He simply does not have the vocabulary or experience to understand what is happening.  YET.

He is also a global thinker.  I remember the day before he started kindergarten.  I found him in the bathroom, sobbing over an episode of Bindy, the Jungle Girl.  The show demonstrated the plight of the whales and dolphins, and here was my son, sobbing because he could not solve the problem.  My heart broke.  I sat in bed that night and thanked the Creator for such a son, and sobbed for the hurt his heart experiences on a daily basis.  I can’t take it away from him.  I can advocate for him and with him, I cannot take it from him. HE has the gift of mercy, and sometimes that is weighty.

He also drives me up the wall quicker than any person I know.  Right now he is watching a show and his energy has him opening and shutting the tv cabinet door with his feet.  Mindlessly, open and close, open and close, as I hear it thump, thud, thump. AAAAAHHHH.  He does not know what he is doing, his body must move.  He does not connect that he is 3/4 my height and the full weight of him in complete motion mode is heavy and I cannot carry him anymore.  He does not realize that climbing on me won’t be an option much longer. 

He also does not realize the words that come out of his mouth are sometimes so hurtful I cannot look at him.  When I hear him yell at me that he wishes he were dead, to go and get a gun and kill him, it stabs in a place I can never articulate to him.  He may understand when he is a parent.  Now I have to choke down the many times that he screams that I hate him, and that he hopes he dies sooner rather than get older.  How do you respond to that….how do you join him?  The only solution I have in those out of control moments, are to hold him close, whisper in his ear, and rock him back and forth.  It is all I know how to do.  Sometimes I know it’s not enough, sometimes I feel like I fail him.  Sometimes I think he would be better off with a stronger and more capable mom.  NEVER do I wish he were not my son.  Re-read that last sentence.  Sometimes I struggle with who I am and who I can be for him, never that he is my son.  He has taught me more about humanity and grace than any person I know.  He is one of 2 living heroes I know…my youngest being the 2nd.

There are moments that haunt me.  When in quiet moments of bedtime conversation, my oldest will look at me and ask if it’s ok if he does not survive past 16?  Uh…what?  “Is it ok, mom, if God calls me home before I turn 16?  Are you ok with that?  You know where I am going.”  UH!!!! NO!   No!  I am not ok with losing my son anytime, anywhere, by any method.  NO!!! You may not go anywhere, let me keep you here, with me.  The biblical story of Abraham and Isaac takes on new meaning in that light.  Surely a loving and merciful Creator would never ask me to give up my son!?  Surely I would be spared the pain and horror of that…SURELY.

Well, ask Mary how she felt to give up her Son.  I guess that puts a different spin on the issue.  DANG!!!!  So, I hold him, cuddle him, give him everything I can in hopes that it is enough. 

Sometimes, though, I am tired.  Sometimes I do not want a high needs child, almost smarter than me at age 8.  Sometimes the hurt at watching him is close enough to the surface that I cannot let him see the tears that escape before I have my mask firmly in place.  Anger seeps through in the middle of the night and I rail silently in my head, grappling for a solution.  Times when my 2 children are arguing so loudly and my oldest slugs the other in the stomach…yes–to hurt him–i see red.  There are also times when my youngest is trying to appease his older brother, doing anything in his power to make his big brother happy…to get him to stop screaming at him, hitting him, kicking him in the back.  These are moments when I have to stop….not to react, to breathe.  I watched one of those the other night as my youngest handed sticker after sticker to his brother…it was his brand new sticker book given to him by his grandma.  I wanted to yell, to scream at my oldest that he had no right to put his little brother, MY son, in this position.  I didn’t.  I shook my head and walked down the hall, knowing I had to let them work it out…keeping one ear open for blood-curdling screams

They come too, sometimes.  The screams.  When my oldest is in the bath and he sees a bug…a bug that incites such fear that he is literally inconsolable for the next 1/2 hour to an hour.  I shake my head, wondering how this is happening to a kid who lives, eats, and breathes insects, science, and anything animal related.  How can seeing this live be so traumatic?  I still don’t know, but then we have 2 screaming because the youngest is now terrified that his brother is screaming bloody murder.  WHAT~~~?

What do you do in that moment?  How do you keep your cool?  Often I do not know.  I know this may have been more heavy than normal, cut me a bit of slack….it is on my mind and heart often.  In the midst of tons of people, I often feel alone, carrying a heavy and dark secret.  The fact is, I hope with all I can that I do ok by him, by both of them.  I pray I will improve as I age, that I will parent with grace and love, and not an iron fist.  I commit them to God each day, believing that the best will come.  Sometimes, though, I am simply tired. 

I must go, the peace that once reigned has been shattered as one has jumped full force onto the back of the other….Super mom to the rescue–one more time.

CALGON!!!??? Take me away????

Shalom,

cahl

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