This morning our pastor preached about husbands loving their wives– even when the wives aren’t exactly being lovable (clearly he wasn’t talking about me when he said that). In fact, what he actually said was that quite often, loving as Christ loves the church can be a frustrating, annoying, irritating, (etc. etc.) irksome burden.
Art has been calling me his Irksome Burden ever since.
Hey, never taking anything seriously might not work for everyone, but it’s gotten us this far.
Anyway, we do take things seriously, just not ourselves. We do, however,take seriously the fact that our sons can’t seem to get along for more than six seconds without trying to rip each other’s eyeballs out. Through the nostrils. (Isn’t that the best ever mental picture?)
I tend to complain about the fighting, arguing, and constant sniping at each other to my gal pals online. My gal pals, so full of wisdom, and also apparently sick of hearing me whine, always have great advice on how to deal with things. So last week when the fighting had gotten out of hand yet again, I sat my errant sons down upon the Couch of Correction and informed them that I was tired of the fighting and so I wanted them to look at each other and say something they liked about their brother.
I swear one of my friends said this would work.
She said that they would see how great the other brother is, and probably end up giggling and laughing on the couch, at which point I could send them on their merry way.
Yeah. Ha. Ha. Ha.
“Ryan,” I said in my best longsuffering, I’m-not-mad-I’m-disappointed voice, “I want you to think of something that you like about Sam and say it to him.”
For the first time in six and a half years, the boy was absolutely quiet.
I repeated the instructions. Ryan looked back at me in a way I hadn’t expected till much closer to puberty.
Finally, after a very awkward, painful, and increasingly IRKSOME silence, Ryan came up with something:
“I like that I love him.”
Snort. Nice try buddy. Notice how this is actually something good about Ryan.
I tried again, because hope springs eternal, and anyway at this point I had no idea what else to do. Another long, miserable silence punctuated by “I’m thinking. I just can’t think of anything” ensued. I decided maybe he needed a little prompt.
“Ryan. Look at Sammy and say, ‘I like that you–‘ and then fill in the blank.”
I’m pretty sure at this point my son rolled his eyes. WHO taught my six year old to roll his eyes? After awhile he finally came up with something.
“I like that you colorpicturesforme?” He was looking at me, not at his brother, which is ridiculous because I never color pictures for him, but of course he wanted to know if this was acceptable.
Let’s just say that he was not the only one rolling his eyes. He was on a roll now, and came up with other gems like “I like that you give me things” and “I like that you share your toys with me,” and since we all know that there is no chance on earth Sam shared anything with Ryan ever, this was just a blatant attempt to put ideas into Sam’s head.
Eventually I let my little miscreants off the couch, because I felt that we had all learned a valuable lesson.
Which is, of course, that my children are impossible to parent.
Actually, it did kind of make me wonder if I don’t praise my sons enough in front of each other. Trust me to take a “teaching moment” for my sons and turn it into an opportunity for guilt and self-flagellation. But that’s neither here nor there.
I guess that while God is teaching my husband how to love by putting an irksome burden like me into his life (for better or for worse, till death do us part, poor guy), He’s teaching me patience and, well, more patience by using my kids.
At least they’ll move out eventually. My poor husband isn’t so lucky.