Monday, February 11, 2013

the other parent

In our Sunday School class we're doing a unit on marriage.  I feel ridiculously blessed to be in the marriage that I'm in, but of course there are a bazillion things I can learn on how to do this thing better.  This week there was a nugget that stuck with me big time (all the way til monday!).  We talked about loving our spouse the way that God would want us to love His child.  does that make sense?  like, seeing God as the Father-in-law.  Because Steve is God's son, I need to treat him in a way that would be acceptable to his Father.

I have so many thoughts on that topic alone, but today, as I was thinking about that, something else struck me.  hard.

My kids used to be obsessed with playing "the little kids."  Basically, it means that they would go outside, walk up to the door, ring the doorbell, and tell me that their parents died (or some other horrific story about why they don't have parents) and ask if they could stay at my house.  So I would invite them in and show them around and explain all the messes and who could stay where, and what we would be having for supper, and all sorts of things, as if they were someone else's kids.

and they LOVED this game.  we played it just about every day.  They often wanted to play it more than once a day, but ya know, I can only "play" with my kids so much.  I'm just not a play-er, I guess.

But ok, so when we're playing "the little kids" and supper is done, I kindly call to the kids and say, "ok!  everything is ready!  I'm so glad I made extra food tonight so we have enough for you!  Please come into the dining room, it's right over here!"  and if they didn't come right away, I would say, "uh oh!  I forgot to tell you the rule at our house is 'obey right away!' so you need to come right when I call!" in a super annoying, high pitched voice.  and then after supper I'd kindly show everyone what to do with their dishes and what the expectations were until bedtime, and it was all so sweet and controlled and easy.

when we're not playing "the little kids" a typical evening in the Hydeen household sounds a little more like this:
"let's EEEEEEAT!"
"why are you not coming?  turn that thing off, RIGHT NOW."
"I feel like I'm being ignored!  Wanna know a really good way to make Mommy get really crabby really fast?  make me feel like I'm being ignored!"
"I don't care if you don't like this. it's what we're having.  you don't have to eat it if you don't want to."
"no, I will NOT make you something else."
"oh, hey, I know!  how about, 'thanks Mom, for making food for us because there are so many people all over the world who don't have ANY food, so I'm really glad that this will be my THIRD meal of the day, and that YOU prepared all of them!'"

you probably get the point.

for some reason, when I'm talking to my kids, I have an impressive ability to talk like a sassy teenager.  the weirdest part is that I don't think I ever even talked like that as a teenager.  but I sure know how to.  and even though I can't STAND the sound of what's coming out of my mouth, it's so hard for me to just switch gears.

But I would never talk to someone else's kids like that!!! I have scolded someone else's child once, thinking it was MY child who said it, and as soon as I figured out what i'd done, I totally switched tones and explained to the other child why we shouldn't say whatever-they-said.

how embarrassing!!!!

and so today I'm feeling a bit convicted that maybe along with seeing Steve through the lens of "God's child," I ALSO need to remember that God is my CHILDREN'S other parent, too.  and goodness sakes, if I heard another adult speaking to my kids the way I speak to my kids, my mama bear would come out and I would have hair standing up on the back of my neck, ready to fight.

I love those three more than I can even begin to explain on a keyboard, or even with real words.  There are no analogies that could get it quite right.  It's huge, it's crazy, it's a fierce love.  and it's NOT very evident in my words.  my voice. my tone.

having an 8 year old with all sorts of new experiences and questions and such has been a RIDE, let me tell you.  but even when I'm caught off guard, I feel like I do a decent job of answering questions, or discussing situations, or whatever.  I feel like my words quite often come from God, and he allows me to explain things in ways that sometimes even surprise me.  Because I need him to step in for me. :)  So I know, if I decide to allow him to step into the daily communication with my kids, He'll do that too.  I just have to be willing to let him.

I have to use my "the little kids" voice a little more, and the sassy teenager voice a little less.  I have to put the effort into making my TONE match my LOVE, instead of my frustration.  I have to remind myself to look at the situation through someone else's eyes, just for a second.  I have to remember that God is the other parent, and not only that, but he's right here in front of me.  and if I wouldn't say it to someone else's kid, I shouldn't say it to mine.

because guess what.  they ARE Someone else's kid too.

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