It is a perfect summer night. The oppressive heat of the day has given way to a lazy breeze that brings some relief from the mugginess. Darkness begins to invade the edges of town and people become brave enough to step out of their cool houses. Hoses start up in an effort to give relief to thirsty plants and flowers, feet meander up and down streets, neighbors wave and greet each other.
Little t and Baby Zar and I are finally free from the confines of our house. All day long we have waited for a chance to brave the outdoors. If not for Baby Zar we could have been out a few hours ago, but her little body is already covered in heat rash and she needs cooler temps.
Those cooler temps have arrived, so we venture outside. We water the flowers, wave to the sheriff as he passes by, check on the baby birds in the nest and pick crabapples off the tree. We load up the stroller and go check the train tracks before saying hello to friends across town.
By the time we return home darkness has enveloped us. Fireflies draw Little t into our grassy yard and he runs around squealing with delight. Baby Zar is still sleeping, wrapped close to my body. I am feeling tired and ready for a break from little people. I know that my chances are slim that I can get Little t into bed and have any moments of quiet before Baby Zar wakes up to eat and start her nighttime routine. It is late and I am feeling antsy.
I prod Little t along, telling him it is time to come inside. My voice gets more and more stern with each plea. He seems oblivious to anything but the twinkling bugs that float just out of his grasp. I grow impatient and bossy. He gives me a glance and an ‘Okay Momma’ as he takes one step in my direction. Another light blinks to his left and he is off across the grass in pursuit. I am sweating bullets, frustrated and done playing games. With sharpness in my voice, I once again tell him to come inside, that it is late and I am tired of him not listening. I count to three, I bribe him, I beg and plead, finally I direct him inside with a hand on his arm. He hates it and I get even more upset.
The wrestling continues through a poopy diaper, a quick shower, reading a book and turning out the light. My frustration with the cutest little boy in the world escalates with each second that ticks by. By the time I walk out of his room after final kisses and hugs I am exhausted and suffering from a majorly bad attitude. I grumble to myself about his behavior and how unfair it is to me.
Later that night as I lay in bed feeing Baby Zar, God brings the evening back to mind and convicts me of the way I handled it. See, Little t is a really really great kid. I know I am biased, but for the most part he is pretty outstanding. He is adaptable and gracious with us as parents. He does well at taking our crazy lifestyle in stride and usually does so with a smile on his face. I know this, but I found myself grumbling about him all evening. He wasn’t fast enough, he didn’t listen enough, he just wanted to do his own thing, he didn’t respect my requests of him, he took advantage of me giving him a little extra time to play outside, etc.
But in those moments, I heard God saying, “you can’t blame Little t for something that he doesn’t understand or have control over. He has no concept of time or what it means to be late. You are his mom and it is your job to help lead him into good practices. If you wanted him in bed 15 minutes earlier, you should have left 15 minutes earlier.” I realized that I was in the wrong. I have a tendency to push things to the limit but yet be frustrated when there is no give or things don’t go my way. I thought back over the last few weeks and how often I have not gently helped Little t along, and then been angry with him when he dawdled or when I got tired, or his time infringed on mine, etc. It was a good reminder for me of how I need to be molding and shaping him, but also how I can’t get upset with him for something that is largely my responsibility.
It has also opened my eyes to my relationship with my heavenly Father. I see myself as both Tariq and I. I get anxious and antsy…I play the impatient one when I comes to the future and God’s direction. I constantly find myself trying to pull my weight in decisions and wishing God would reveal the next steps just a little faster. I also like Tariq get so easily distracted and swayed by the tiniest little things along the journey. God never nags, but I wonder how often He is patiently waiting for me to put one foot in front of the other and step out in faith as He leads. All while I am dawdling, getting caught up in meaningless things of the day to day…my mind drifting from Him.
These days are busy and overwhelming. I want to love my family and grace and patience, but I fall so short. I want to wait patiently for the next steps, but I wring my hands and fret. I want to ‘be still and know that He is God.’ But I so often jump ahead. I am working hard to bring the pushing and pulling to a halt and rest in Him instead.