Saturday, November 8, 2014

World's OKest Mom

Today's blog title is brought to you by a friend of mine in book club who introduced me to this phrase. I have not stopped laughing about it yet. She's a hilarious person and I really wish we had more time to spend together. That list? Of people I need more time with? It's long.

This week I washed my son's Pokemon cards in the washer. Don't panic! You did not accidentally time travel back to the mid-90s. It turns out Pokemon cards are popular again. At least in my little corner of the world. And, I don't need to hear from you if you think Pokemon cards are from the devil or Illuminati or whatever. I can promise you my kid does not believe pocket monsters are real. Nor does he believe that Pokemon powers are real. We've covered it. We even discussed some bad theology in the Pokemon cartoon theme song. I wish I were kidding.

ANYWAY. Let's just cut to the chase and I'll tell you that I am a terrible pocket checker. Heaven knows it is all I can do to get the clothes clean and dry. Do not try to add any steps like checking pockets. It does not even cross my mind, ever, to check a pocket when I'm doing laundry. And I realize this is like playing the laundry roulette every time. I wish I was more conscientious. But I'm not. Therefore, my child's entire stash of Pokemon cards went through the wash cycle.

When I realized what I had done, I was calm and rational. No, wait. It did not go that way at all. I freaked totally out. And then I hid them. All the mangled, faded, sad, curled up cards got stashed out of sight. I have no idea why I didn't just throw them out. I could not bring myself to tell him what happened, so I kept mum.

In the meantime, he was not mentioning his cards. And, I can't be sure, but I think it's because he thought they were lost and was afraid I would be mad about him losing them. So, he hid.

Do you see what happened here? I could see it all along. Hiding the truth because I didn't want to deal with the emotional reaction. And, to strip it down even more? I didn't want him to be disappointed in me. He didn't tell me the truth because he didn't want me to be disappointed in him.

Pokemon cards are no big deal. But our reactions were a big deal. I definitely do not want this to be our pattern of reacting. Because one day the stakes will be much higher.

I spend a lot of time trying to keep from kids from experiencing pain. I think there is good in this. I think it is instinctual. Babies survive because mothers have an innate drive to keep them alive. Part of that includes keeping them from harm. This is important. But, the truth is, pain will come. This is the way of life. Sometimes they will be forced to face things they should not. What we do in these moments matters most.

I only have one answer for this. The only thing I know to do when my kids are facing any kind of hurt, big or small, is teach them to turn to God. When I experience pain, am I honest with them about how I feel? Do I hide? Or do I let them watch some of the process-the crying, the praying, the turning to God. Not in the trite way of turning to God, but in that way you do when you don't know what else to do. I want my kids to know that facing pain is a normal part of life. But, we are not left to do it on our own.

I am kinder to myself when I realize I'm going to blow it with my kids. Probably multiple times a day. World's OKest Mom is a title I will proudly bear. I will remind myself with each misstep that I am giving my kids the chance to rely on God a little more each day!

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