Written last year right after Liam started school for the first time.
The power my three-year old son has over me is ridiculous. Truly I am the boss, and I can make proclamations "because I said so." But Liam can wound me and has been doing so a lot lately. The problem is that Liam LOVES school. Now this delights me most of the time; when Liam tells me, “I don’t want to be with you right now, Mama. Can you take me back to school?”… I’m not so delighted. And when he declared to me this morning on our way to school, “"Mama, I don't like to go to school with you in the mornings. I wish I could ride on a school bus," I cried.
Of course, I didn't take into consideration the fact that I was already tired and stressed, or that big yellow school buses are really cool to a three year old, or that riding in the car together every morning to school was really not that exciting to him even though it was special to me. I just felt hurt. Liam was puzzled, but seemingly unmoved by my tears, and I dropped him off at preschool feeling rejected and unloved.
My irrational, mama-brain was racing with thoughts like, I love this kid more than anything...in fact, I would die for him...and he doesn't even want to be with me! Our morning drive to school is my favorite time of day…how could he prefer a school bus…BESIDES, I gave birth to him! Labor trumps cool yellow school buses every time!!!
I am usually much more level-headed and slower to such extreme emotion, but I think the intensity of my love for my ornery three-year-old makes my heart a bigger target for his words’ implications, even when he doesn’t even understand them. He does not know why his silly Mama gets so emotional about school buses; he is unaware of his power.
Which makes me wonder...have I hurt God like this?
I may not be so blunt when I tell God I’d rather not hang out right now, but I do say that with my actions all the time. Excuse me, God, I don’t want to be with you right now. I want to watch one more episode of Bones. Or No thanks on that prayer date, Lord, I’ve gotta finish People Magazine. I am constantly forgetting that God has claimed me as his child, and just like Liam can hurt me, I have the power to hurt God, to make him feel rejected.
Hopefully, I am more like Liam in my response to this realization. I got a call from the preschool room during my second period class. Liam had a sudden, unexplained tummy ache and needed to see me right away. I went to get him and received his lifeline-like hug. He buried his flushed face in my neck, and crying said, “I love you, Mama. I just need to be with you.”
After fifteen minutes of snuggling, Liam’s tummy ache/guilt went away, and he felt recovered enough to go play outside with his classmates. As he ran away without a backward glance, I thanked God for this reassurance of Liam’s love. And I said a little prayer: I love you, Lord. I just need to be with you.