Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Never Thought

I would have to say with out a doubt the hardest part of my widowhood is single parenting.  I have a wonderful little almost 4 year old boy.  He is cute, adorable, full of love, but every ounce of age 4 and boy!  While he is my greatest joy, he is also my greatest challenge.

One of the biggest struggles I have had in parenting this past year is understanding the balance between correction and grace.  See I am a person who does everything by the book.  Every action has a clear cut response.  There is a proper way to handle situations.  This was how I parented up until Nov. 24, 2010.  But on that day when "daddy" died, the rule book changed.  All of a sudden there is no magical formula.  The boy who once would lay in bed for over an hour and fall asleep on his own disappeared.  The solutions I once had to solve his behaviors no longer work.  Everyone has their opinions and their advice, a rule book of their own.  But what they don't understand is the rule book doesn't work anymore.  What worked last week, may not work tonight.

Then add in grief.  I'm a healthy adult. I have a strong relationship with the Lord.  I have even gone through some counseling.  Yet I am still grieving.  I am still processing. I am still healing.  With all the coping mechanisms I have in place, I still get overwhelmed, overloaded, and my emotional capacity reduced.  Now picture a 4 year old:  no coping skills, no counseling, no processing, no relationship with the Lord.  No wonder he acts out from time to time.  No wonder he runs and hides.  No wonder he doesn't want to be alone in bed.

Here comes the balance.  How do I know if my son's behaviors are acting out in defiance, or acting out in grief?  And how do I respond?  I want to comfort grief, and discipline defiance, but the lines are not that clear.  There really is no way for me to know.  So I trust in God to lead me.  His Spirit inside of me, guides me when to be gentle and when to be firm.  I'm not saying I always get it right, because I don't.  But I am in a process, and I feel the longer I walk in it, the better at parenting this grieving boy I become.

I never thought I would lay in bed with my son at night to help him fall asleep... but I do.  I never thought I would let him crawl in bed with me in the middle of the night each night... but he does.  I never thought I would be that mom who counts to 3 to get her son to listen... but it works.  I never thought I would be that mom who puts that cute puppy back pack on her son while on a trip.... you know the one with the really long tail that just happens to have a handle?  My heart is to take the best care of my son, and if it means throwing out the rule book, looking away from other's opinions and judgements, and letting that still small voice of God lead me in handling my son, I will do it.

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