“She’s an idiot. Why does she want to go to the pool so much.”
“You are the worst brother ever. You don’t ever want to do anything”
“You are stupid. I am sick of sitting by this stupid, stupid pool, stupid head.”
When they are not fighting over who gets the hour of free time. They fight over whose turn it is to go first.
When I am not rock-paper-scissoring these fights, I am dragging one kicking and screaming out of said pool after he has smacked me in front of everyone for asking him to sit down, and not ask me one more time when it is time to leave the “dummy” pool with “dummy Hayley.”
When I am not battling fights at the pool, I am battling them at the cabin, in a tiny room over whether they will play Monopoly or Clue, or even play a game at all. Whether Hunter is “boring,” or Hayley is once again “dumb” for even liking board games.
We were only away two days, and if the kids were not entertained every second they did not know what to do. They fought like 2 rabid pit bulls. Mommy could not please both, because neither of them seem to like the same things, and if they do it’s definitely not at the same time. The schedule Mommy tried to impose to ensure both got ample time at each activity of their choice is not working. Mom is frantic, has lost her cool, and then some, and needs something to sustain her.
Coffee can only go so far. And, after I head back into the pool. After the curly-headed monster has screamed a couple “nos” at me, and slapped at me again. As he stands there kicking at the fence and grunting, I realize that as I sit back down, I may be surrounded by a ton of people, but I am utterly and helplessly alone.
I don’t have anyone here to help carry this load when I can’t split myself in two.
No one is reassuring me that my parenting decision was not one that will scar him for life.
That my daughter won’t resent all the time her younger brother takes from her.
Instead, this frantic mom wanted to find a corner, and kick at the fence herself. Or, at least find a small hole to crawl into. I was embarrassed, frustrated, feeling under appreciated, and then it happened. The tears I was trying so hard to fight, finally just fell.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Until, one mom saw the tears falling as I sat on the side of that pool. As I sat trying to hide them neatly underneath the big hat I wore.
“What are your kids names? Are they coming back in a few weeks for camp?”
I explained that yes, the oldest one surely, but that curly-headed monster…more than likely-no. He had autism, and with it some issues that he just couldn’t get over that kept him from enjoying it.
“Oh, my oldest has Aspergers. I totally understand. It’s hard.”
There it was. Relief.
Someone who had seen my mommy moment. My “I want to melt right here and disappear” moment, and reached out.
And, even if this Mom didn’t understand what I was going through in that moment, she tried.
I know God is with me. I know in those moments when I feel alone, I can call on Him, and He will be there. However, he has wired us for human connection. And, there are times I desperately need that. And, I am pretty sure you do, too.
And with this connection comes His desire for us to share each other’s burdens. To walk with a mom who is having a hard time. So she isn’t sitting at the pool feeling so alone.
It will take us out of our comfort zones. This I know is true, but it will also breath life into some desperate soul wanting to give up. Hope into a weary parent who sees only their failings.
“I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” Matthew 25:43
In a world that appears to be hurting and hiding it well, reaching outside your comfort zone, provides light to someone who may feel all alone in their struggles. May give someone the ability to reach out next time they feel like giving up. Screaming. Or running for the hills. Most importantly, it shows them the love of our Savior.
We are called to be that light to others as a community of believers, but the question is- are we? Are we like that Mom at the pool, willing to see the tears that fall, and get a little messy with them? Or do we steer clear, not wanting to have anything to do with that? When we ask someone how they are doing, do we really stop and wait for their answer? Or, are we offering fly-by conversation out of obligation, an “I’m asking how you are because I have to’s” with no desire to really know? Jesus certainly never stopped to wonder if someone was worthy of his time when he saw others hurting, or marched on intent on getting to his next stop. Neither should we.
Let’s be a little more messy. Jump in, walk with someone a while, and leave people a little less alone. You could be just the friend someone needs that particular moment or day. You could be the hope that Mom needs to just keep going. The reason someone’s tears suddenly disappear. The reason someone doesn’t melt into a puddle at the pool. It may take some time. It may be uncomfortable, but it will ensure that no one ever walks through their mess alone.