Sunday, May 31, 2015

What I've learned about truth is this....

How many Sunday posts have I started with the words, We didn't make it to church this morning because.....  Well, add this one to the list.

I just saw kid 1 rolling our lawn mower down the street with the look of anywhere but home is a good place to be written all over his face.  Maybe he was taking it to a pawn shop to get money for ticket to Anywhere But Here, USA.  Or maybe he was just out looking for some work.  He and I had words this morning.  Then a mother - son stare off.  And he towered over me and tried to squinch up his eyes to look intimidating and I pretty much told him that if he does that again, he might die.   Thus the walk down the street with the lawnmower.  

And kid 2 took out the trash, fussing the whole way about mistreatment, unfairness and his rights as an American citizen....because it's not even his trash day.  And kid 3 rolled and squirmed all over my bed in a pile of laundry trying to get me to give up on his assignment of folding it.

So it all went to hell on a Sunday when we woke and tried to get everyone ready for church.  But they were all in a video game trance or a teenager sleep coma.  And there were attempts at wearing flip flops and stained shirts, and there were cold showers because we ran out of hot water, and there were no pop-tarts which sent everyone over the edge.   So father and sons had a heart to heart in the boys' messy bedroom and all ended up with Sunday morning chores to pay mom and dad back for the added years of stress to our lives.  So then we were so late to church that we opted out.  Walking in that late is just kind of a big sign on our family that says Look at us, we stink at Sundays. 

So that's that.  Here's what happened in the days before....

I couldn't get to work Friday morning because of this...

This is the White Rock Lake spillway which has made news headlines and attracted visitors by the ton.  It also brought traffic to a stop and those of us not sightseeing couldn't get where we needed to be.  So I sat there in the traffic and called the gym and said I would be late. But they told me to go home because the gym's power was out anyway.... So I went home and did a load of laundry till I heard the power was back on and made my way back up there for class #2.  And I walked in to my class and found my group all busy at work and happily aerobically dancing without me which made me feel like I was the target of a giant practical joke.  Like when you invite someone to a party and tell them it's a costume party but it's really not and they show up dressed as a giant rabbit.

Then when I left the gym, someone had parked so close to the driver door on my car that I couldn't get in so I had to climb in through the back seat and over the front to get in.  Which is, I think, a new yoga move that I just made up. 

Then I went home and got a phone call from both Kid 3's teacher and the assistant principal. Apparently my little darling and some friends have been playing the slapping game at school.  Much like a game of tag, but instead of chasing someone you just slap them on the back without the teacher knowing.  Sounds fun. 

And Mr. Principal started to lecture me about the shame in such behavior at school and then, my oh my, mentioned something about kid 3 possibly causing permanent damage to his friend that got the last slap.   And that is exactly the point in time when I spun around twice, slipped into my toughest skin and transformed into Super Mom to defend my child's honor.  

So we talked.  Then I sent this to kid 3's teacher via email to take care of that as well:  


Dear Ms.Teacher, 

I spoke with the Assistant Principal this afternoon. 

I had already warned (kid 3) about playing the slapping game at school.  But it has apparently been going on for quite some time and not a single teacher has stopped it yet.  So, as his consequence he will serve his detention Monday afternoon.   
However, he has no additional consequences at home, as he did not really hit anyone with an intent to harm.  And as I told Mr. Principal, boys show friendship and affection through physical play.  And I know this better than most, as I am raising three of the most physically playful ones on the planet. 

And what I told (kid 3) is this.... that he deserves his detention at school for not thinking through his decision to play the slap game in the first place.  But more importantly, I told him that I am ever so proud of him for what happened next.  That he went to his friend, checked on him, apologized, and made sure their friendship is as strong as ever.  I am proud that (kid 3) was caring enough to recognize that a friend was hurt and went to him out of caring and compassion to say he was sorry. 

THAT is a strong and beautiful quality that I am so proud as a mother to see shining in my son.  


Y'all.  Y'all.  OH MY GOSH was I mad. Mad that I got a phone call from a teacher saying my kid purposely hit another kid.  Mad that when I called the school and spoke with the principal, that he told me that the handprint may have caused permanent damage.  PERMANENT DAMAGE.  To which I told him that I hope when he actually has kids of his own one day that he will be able to tell the difference between play and violence.  Because if he has boys, he's gonna definitely need to brush up on those things.  

I did offer, as well, for him to come spend some time locked in a closed room with my 3 boys so he can get a crash course on  A) how to survive, and  B) lessons of love and life as told by young boys.  But he didn't take me up on the invitation.  

I live in a house strewn with underwear and mismatched socks.  A house where the choke hold and the body slam have been perfected.  A house where I have to move the couch back into place every day following wrestling matches and sofa gymnastics.  I live in a house full of boys that play and fight and love all the same way.  They touch and roll and yell and hit and throw and make messes that usually end up okay in the end.  And only in a handful of occasions has it escalated to actual anger and violence.  It's happened.  And it will surely happen again.  But that's also part of learning to work out their differences and practice how to forgive and forget. 

And of course I called the mom of the kid that got the red hand print slap and offered my sincere apologies for being the mom of such a bouncing ball of energy.  And then I called husband at work to tell him what I said to the teacher and the principal - and to warn him that I may end up on the news as a hostile parent.  But he told me he was glad I took the phone call instead of him, since I said the things he would only think of saying.  I am mother, hear me roar.

I said the things that needed to be said.  Not just a fly-by- the-seat- of- my-pants rant out of anger.  But with careful thought of things that needed to be addressed for quite some time.  I've had to do that on previous occasions as well.  

And all that being said, here are my thoughts on truth, for what it's worth. 

What I've learned about truth is this.  That all we have is the truth about where and how we fit into this giant world.  And the beautiful thing about truth is that once it's told, it can't be untold.  So it just bounces around till it lands in the right place to do some good.  And the rest is out of our hands.  

And for the truth teller, much needed space is cleared in the heart for better things to move in.  

So I told some truth where it needed to be told.... and then I had peaceful dreams.  

Would you like to comment?

  1. Once again, your actions and words regarding your family, especially those amazing 3 sons, have touched my heart. I hope your blog is reaching lots of people because many need to be blessed by your wisdom as a mom raising sons with a firm hand and a sense of humor.

    Lynne B.

    1. Raising them with a firm hand and the very new threat of losing those darned cell phones! Two of the boys just got phones for the very first time last week and now I have leverage in the behavior department. Insert evil mom laugh here.
      And as far as the blog goes, I think it gets out there. But you can always share anything that you feel may benefit others. I love sharing ! I'm so glad you are reading along.

  2. I love that you changed into your Super Mom thick skin and said what needed to be said. We all need to do that occasionally. I've had principal experiences a couple of times this year and handled it okay, but walked away feeling I could have done better, especially when you know the accusation isn't correct.

  3. Christi, I know!!!! Oh my gosh, it's frustrating that they all too often act like they are the experts on our kids, and kids in general, when we are the ones raising them. I know my kid is fully capable of hitting someone. Luckily up until now... and that weird water bottle throwing incident last year,... he has managed to control himself. It's just that when play is misconstrued as harmful, we teach our kids not to be themselves, not to be joyful, and not to be in constant practice of self control. And we all need the practice in that. And I think we all revert back to our childhood selves when talking to teachers and principals - we have that built in fear of doing wrong and being reprimanded. So we call them Mr and Mrs and defer to them when we need to just think it through first. And I am well aware that there are more times they do things well than times they don't, and I am very thankful for the safety and care at school for my kids. It's just that every now and then, we need to pave a brighter path for our kiddos when no one else is doing it. Let's keep climbing this mom mountain together, my friend.

  4. I had a similar situation. One time my son who is in first grade was in trouble for swinging his jacket around at recess and hitting another kid. I knew it wasn't serious, but between that and just minor behavioral issues I really laid down the law at home. I tried my best to show him how serious I was about the consequences of making bad choices. From then on he turned things around and had a fantastic year. EXCEPT this one time when he and a friend opened up another teacher's advent calendar while visiting her room because they wanted to get a peak at what was in it. That's when I got the email about the disrespect and how disappointed the teacher was and why it warranted a note home. So, I asked my son about it. He bawled his eyes out and explained how they were looking at the calendar and that other teacher yelled at them and he apologized to both teachers already. Sorry, this is such a long story, but the point is I pretty much reacted the same as you. I told that teacher that he had already apologized and he was remorseful, and I didn't see a reason for any further action for something so trivial. He had been shamed enough already. You have to know when to support our teachers, but we also have to know when we need to stand up for our kids.

    1. So true... and how about that sweet kiddo looking in his teacher's advent calendar for the excitement of what it means. How about using that as a moment to reinforce not only the reason for the season, but in your son's case, the way waiting for something can be just as special. Thank you for sharing.


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