“I want to be different.”
I grew up blessed. Really.
I grew up in a family with a mom and a dad who loved each other, loved my brother and I and stuck together. Over 50 years of marriage and they are still together.
Blessed. Something I took for granted.
When as a mom, I became single, I had to step back and consider the impact of the circumstances from my children’s perspective.
I tried to imagine what my life would be like, if my dad had left when I was 4 or 2. What it would be like to see my mom running our family on her own, and see my dad remarried to another woman? How would that make me feel?
Or what if I never knew my mom or dad. If I started my life in a box on the street, then in an institution cared for by many, then on to a family, only to be taken away without any explanation I could understand at 3 years old and given to a hotel room full of strangers and flown across the world? How loved would I feel?
Or to never know my father, to see my mother die, to be moved by a step-father to an orphanage, knowing my younger half-sister and older half-sister, were still “at home”, then met by a stranger and flown across the world? Would I feel loved?
I can’t imagine not having the security of mom and dad. Yet, this is my children’s perspective. Looking at their perspective – hurts. Nothing I can do will change that past.
I read the phrase “therapeutic parenting” on a blog I follow. It caught my thoughts. My heart. “Healing” parenting.
Therapeutic: 1) of or relating to the treatment of disease or disorders by remedial agents or methods 2) providing or assisting in a cure, contributing towards or performed to improve health or general well being
I want to be a therapeutic parent
I want to be a therapeutic parent
-to contribute toward healing and wholeness that God can provide. No matter what a child’s background, this world can be tough and it hurts, and momma needs to help the hurts get better.
But I forget this.
In the busyness of a day, the scramble to get four out the door with backpacks, lunches, coats, instruments, gym clothes…., working, cooking dinners, doing laundry, rescuing the cat, refereeing a fight, correcting an attitude, doling out consequences……and dealing with the self-hurts and buttons too easily pushed of a broken momma myself, I forget this.
Every once in a while a perspective change happens. Something that makes me step back, and say (As Dr. Kathryn Purvis says) “Whoa Nelly!”
That happened this morning.
On the drive into school, Mary was upset. In the whirlwind of our days, (and with her specific self-control challenges) she is too often at the receiving end of criticisms, reprimands, interruptions and even, I hate to say, meanness by her siblings (or at least unthoughtfulness). There is no excuse for it, but there it is.
And also, far worse, on the receiving end of sarcasm, teasing, too many harsh corrections or being ignored BY HER MOMMA. There, I said it. Horrible confession.
This morning, listening to her woe and hurt feelings, my heart just sunk, a big piece broke off and shattered in the car. How can I in the busyness and brokenness of life not see what this is doing to her?
Today, I listened, I sympathized, I talked to her siblings, I apologized for momma’s part in any of it, I prayed.
I hugged her big, when I let her off at school, got back in my van to drive to work and cried.
How could I? So ashamed of myself for allowing myself in my own rush, or anger, or frustration or ____________ (fill in the blank) to be anything less than therapeutic. To actually be adding harm, rather than good?!!
How could I?
I immediately repented, not just for my actions, but for my blindness of not seeing what I was doing. Of letting my self and my self-issues get in the way. Of not being the safe, loving place for my children. How could I?
I promised, by the grace of God, to God and to myself, that it would change NOW.
I have no faith in my own abilities. If I could do this on my own abilities, I would have done it already. I fear failing, again. and again and again. I pray that the awareness that spilled from my heart and eyes this morning will stay with me each and every day. (Please Lord, don't let me forget or worse yet, not care in a moment of rashness!)
I realize momma can’t give what momma doesn’t have, so I have to press into God, be filled with His love for me (and believe it), be filled with His Holy Spirit EVERY DAY, EVERY MOMENT (a tall order)….and then be reminded to always, first, stop and think.
I thought of picturing Jesus, sitting there in the passenger seat as I am driving to school, or in the kitchen as I am making dinner or ever and always right there beside me, listening, watching…would that soften my words? Not a picture of him judging me, but perhaps more a picture of his arm on my shoulder, calming me, encouraging me to speak help, not harm.
I want to be a therapeutic parent. And I want to start now, today, even when I have no real clue on what to do. Their hearts are depending on it. Jesus, please help me, remind me!