Thursday, January 26, 2012

Redemption with Donuts

You would think I would learn, but no.
Apparently I am a slow learner with this raising teenagers stuff.
Had to nag the boy on the way to school,
When he's not even awake yet, not fully human.
Just raw emotion, sleepy body and hormones tumbled together 
and slumped in the seat beside me.

"Don't forget you have one day of tuba practice to make up," I say.

I forgot my mantra of kindness and gentleness:
No corrections or negativity on the way to school.

Because, really, who needs to start his day hearing that?

Not surprisingly, a conflict was born, 
Created by me, the one who boasts of being a peacemaker.
Tears in the voice, anger a little too close to the suface.

And then the TONE and the accusations and the raised voice:
You aren't listening, Mom.
You NEVER listen.

Suddenly my desire to take him for donuts was gone, 
a good plan interrupted.
There is expressing himself and there is being disrespectful.
He had crossed the line.
"That's it. I'm not taking you for donuts."
And I didn't.

Oh, there was great gnashing of teeth and renting of clothes.
"I wasn't yelling; YOU are the one who started it."
"I didn't MEAN to raise my voice."
And finally, quietly, "I'm sorry, Mom."

These are the "gray area" moments of parenting when I waffle.
Yes, I want to set limits and consequences and follow through.
Yes, I want my son to speak respectfully, even when he's upset.
But the bigger goal for me, for us, the bigger question:
What can I do to help restore connection, to make it right?
How can I show grace, that it's okay to ask for a do-over?

This day I said, 
"If you can be nice, we might be able to go a little later."

No for now, but not forever.
The consequence is not getting it when you wanted it
but the possibility is still there.

In his silence, I could sense the emotional movement
from disappointment
to consideration
to acceptance. 

Him smiling and the investment was worth it.

Thankful for daily opportunities to offer grace,
Even with donuts.