A couple of days ago, Morgan took the two older kids with him to run some errands. Mike had Scouts and Noel went along because, well, let's just say that Mommy needed her to go be with her daddy. Adam caught on that they were leaving just as they were walking out the door and decided that he wanted to go with them. By that time, it was too late to wait for him to get ready to go with them and as the door closed he began to cry.
I picked him up to try to calm him but he would have none of it. I tried my full bag of tricks. "Let's go read a story." "Where is your train? Do you want to play with your train?" "Ooh, look! SpongeBob is on!" "Do you want a cookie?" All I succeeded in doing was making him cry and scream even louder.
So I threw up my hands and walked away. I do that sometimes. I figure if nothing that I'm doing is helping, it's better for there to be distance between me and the tantrum or else pretty soon I'll be on the floor kicking and screaming, too.
I went about my business, tidying the house, folding laundry and keeping Jack out of trouble. Adam screamed and cried for thirty straight minutes, I am not even kidding. Finally, on one of my trips through the living room, I glanced over to where he was laying on the couch. He had reached that point in crying when his breath was coming in big gulping hiccups between each wail. The look on his face was one of such anguish that it literally stopped me where I stood. My kind Heavenly Father chose that moment to offer some gentle teaching. I was reminded of the times that I had found myself in the depths of despair - lonely, hopeless, and wishing for any sort of comfort. I remembered the times that I had literally begged through prayer for Him to send someone to me. "Please let someone call me or knock on my door. I need some comfort right now!"
I was humbled. I offered a quick prayer of repentant thankfulness and then gathered up my sweet little boy in my arms. We sat together on the couch, snuggled under his favorite blanket. I "sshhhed" and whispered calming things into his baby soft hair. He squirmed around until he finally found a comfortable spot on my lap and soon his cries had quieted into an occasional hiccup. After cuddling for about fifteen minutes, he climbed off of my lap and went into his room to play with his little brother.
I stayed on the couch and pondered what had happened. How many times have I pleaded for help and then had that plea answered? How many times have those within my sphere of influence, my children especially, pleaded for help, only to have me place my needs and desires ahead of others?
Sometimes as a mother you really do need to walk away. Sometimes it really is best to get some space between you and the child who is misbehaving. But I had passed the crisis point and was just ignoring him because he was irritating. There was nothing keeping me from offering him the comfort that he needed and which I was capable of giving except my own selfishness.
I marvel sometimes at the times and places in which my Heavenly Father chooses to teach me. It was a lesson I'll not soon forget.