There's something about Jamie most people don't know. He has no clue who his father is. Well, he has a CLUE, but not a good lead. He was raised thinking this one man was his father and after two DNA tests it turns out...nope, not him. There was one other guy his mom said it might be and we contacted him sometime back and after the initial momentum, the dude dropped the ball and we didn't pick it back up for him. He wasn't really someone we wanted to be a big part of our life anyways, all things considered, but still...it has to be weird not knowing exactly who your dad is.
Jamie's main role model was his grandfather, who I hear was a pretty excellent guy. I never got a chance to know him. He passed away when I was two months shy of bringing Kyle into the world. I know there are parts about him that show through in Jamie, but we still both wonder about his real dad. I mean, especially when it comes to things like medical history. Some guy out there has 7 grandkids and a really amazing man for a son, and he has nothing to do with him. This just blows my mind on a regular basis.
But what amazes me even more is despite this glaring hole in Jamie's life, he is the most amazing father. Balanced, fair, loving, inspiring, always on the lookout for ways to bless his wife and his children, compelling us to be better people. His role is a hard one and he does it with amazing grace. He has taken this role seriously and every now and then he calls me to the mat. I never love it, but I love him for it.
Yesterday was one such day and I just got one word for y'all: OUCH!! He called me out big time and in doing so, called himself out and we had to deal with the fact that there is something we are screwing up. I got really mad at the kids yesterday over something kind of lame. They lost something I needed and this happens on a regular basis. I get so offended, thinking they could at least TRY to consider me. You know, the martyr thing. Being upset about this thing wasn't the problem..my reaction was. I apologized to everyone before I left, but still, Jamie noticed something and so he wrote me this big thing. I was afraid to read it, so he paraphrased it and I was left feeling like...wow...you know what I mean? He's right.
I could do the same thing I asked and paraphrase the whole thing, but I'll let his words speak for themselves. I am humbled.
This morning you had promised something to someone that you do not know. I understand that you were trying to bless someone with our excess. You have a heart of giving, and that is a beautiful thing. However, something went awry and some of the other parts that you had promised could not be found. I understand that this embarrassed you. It would do the same to me. But the way that you responded was not appropriate. You were very angry and dissatisfied with your family. I wish that you would have stopped and looked at their faces. Calla looked as if she could cry when she was outside looking. You tore down your family and cut strings trying to serve someone else who is not part of this family. You allowed your embarrassment to manifest as anger toward your family.
This is a frequently occurring thing. On many occasions you have something go missing and tend to think that the kids are out to get you. Believe me, I know it is frustrating. The boys take off with my tools (mainly Elijah) all of the time. So what happens if I get angry and vent my frustration on them? They will finally leave them alone. And yes, I am guilty of that one. Is that the outcome that I want? Do I really want Eli to leave my tools alone? If he didn't ever try to use them to create anything, I could probably always find them. Is it so important to me to be able find things when I need them to stifle his development? I don’t think that it is.
Think about the things that go missing for you or just messed with. Knitting needles, crochet needles, makeup, pens, notebooks. I am sure there are plenty other things that come to mind right now. And I know that we have “lame brain” kids that leave things here and there and don’t pay attention. Why do they mess with your things? It is because they want to be like you. Think about Eli building shit and playing the banjo.
I would like to call to attention what the kitchen or your bedroom looks like when you are “creating” something. A new dish or desert will leave things all over the place in the kitchen. When sewing, there are scraps of fabric and needles all over the place. When knitting or tearing apart a sweater little wisps of yarn abound. Why is that? Because you are in the moment and focused on creating something. The thought on your mind is “I wonder what this will taste like or look like”. And you can’t wait to share it with someone else and be proud of your creation. I will do a similar thing when I am working on the house or something in the garage. I am not thinking about the clean up or organization of things, I am thinking about what I have created. Then, afterwards we have the responsibility developed in us to take action to remedy the situation. The kids are not quite there yet, but when something does go missing it is an opportunity to develop them.
Maybe the little bag of bottle parts got thrown into the trash. I am sure they were probably on the floor. With kids trying to clean up, they probably grabbed them with another pile of something and didn't even notice they were throwing away something of value. I am sure that they were focused on making Mom happy by cleaning the van. Also, I bet that kids look at donate stuff like trash. It is something that they see as going away as if it is not important to us. So why does it matter if it gets thrown away? We don’t need it, right?
The anger and frustration that we show your family when things like this happens is wrong. We should not let material things get in the way of building relationships in our family. Let’s do a hypothetical situation. Let’s say Eli was messing with my banjo and dropped it and it broke in two pieces. Would it benefit anything if I threw a hellacious fit? He would already feel miserable that he did something that let me down. That would build his character and cause him to be much more careful. If I am forgiving of him and not condemning I will maintain a good relationship with him. Maybe even tie some strings. If I yell and throw a fit, he may decide he wants nothing to do with banjos ever again, and feel guilt that may stay with him for a lifetime.
So what if they lose or destroy things? The following verse comes to mind.
Matthew 6:20 - But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Please take this to the cross with me Melissa. I think that once we do, you will notice that this will no longer be a problem. We need to take these opportunities that come as a chance to build their character, not tear it down.
He's right. I am humbled. Even after 15 years of doing this Mom gig, I'm still taking it to the cross. Probably always will I suppose because I don't know where else I'd find such grace. My frustrations might be based in righteousness but boy my reactions aren't. To know better, is to do better, right??