Parenting. It takes some energy. Here's a story from March 2008 when my son Baker was almost 12 that recalls a time when I expended a good bit of energy, but got even more in return.
My 6th grade son can be very high maintenance. Like this one Wednesday night. Baker had make-up work from being absent one day the previous week, plus it was church night (three hours—gone.) In addition, my husband had been on a business trip and when Daddy is out of town, Baker is out of sorts. Suffice to say that on that night, Baker was putting us through the emotional wringer.
So there we sat at the kitchen table at 9:30 trying to finish his science homework project which included a drawing and a report—both of which he had been working on already but just couldn't get them finished. I sat here with him for a full hour and a half—he went to bed at 11:00—until he got it done.
“Try starting the sentence with this, Baker. . .”
“The colors look great in your picture—you think you should go over that title with a black pen though?”
“Move on to the next paragraph now. . .”
On and on it went. I was trying to get some work done in between answering his questions, but it seemed that if I took my mind off his task for one moment, he was overwhelmed or distracted. It was painful. I was tired. I had things to do.
Finally the child finished and went to bed, but not before issuing orders: “ Don't forget to lock the doors, mom. Check the garage door. Make sure you turn on the alarm system. .. .” Help me. Go to bed for the sake of your mother if not for yourself.
I went downstairs to lock up, went back by his room to assure him it was done, kissed him goodnight and walked out.
Heavens what now? Deep breath. Patience restored.
“I just wanted to thank you so much for sitting at the table with me and helping me get my work done. You know, it’s sad, but some kids don't have a mother who would do that just for some little science report for their son. Thanks a lot.”
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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