On Friday morning, my eldest scalawag pushed his little brother for absolutely no reason. I had been convinced that everything was going well: everybody had been in a good mood, their Advent Calendars had contained cute little figurines which they were happy about. We had enjoyed fresh baguette for breakfast. Everyone had done their mise en place.
I don’t know. Maybe I was foolish to actually have the real genuine thought, “Today is going to be a good day.”
Then, it was time to get our coats on and leave, and when I had my back turned, the eldest pushed the youngest for no reason whatsoever and all the fury started.
If things hadn’t been going well, I probably wouldn’t have felt the whiplash the way I did. But going from real thoughts like, “maybe this parenting thing isn’t so bad,” to “is he bleeding?” and “let me look at your teeth” is a shock to the system.
It is typical that someone is freaking out as we are walking out the door. But on Friday morning, I just wasn’t ready for it. Getting un-used to screaming and stomping goes so fast.
We got down to the car. I didn’t feel much like talking. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to lecture. That never works anyway.
And then, only about two minutes into the drive, the eldest apologized to his little brother what had happened between them on the way out the door. There was a little edge of something earnest in his way of speaking, which, because I am hyper-vigilant to the point of PTSD about his mood swings, I reached out and grabbed onto.
“You know what’s so cool?” I said, trying to not sound preachy.
“What?” he replied, still with a refreshingly interested tone of voice.
“All points expire at midnight and we get to start over again every morning.”
There was silence in the car for a moment.
“What points?” he asked.
“You know. All the times we mess up during the day. They’re like black marks on the day. They get erased and in the morning we get to start over again.”
“Like the sunrise?” the littlest scalawag asked. It so happened that just at that moment, a few rays of sunlight blinded us on our way to school.
“Exactly like the sunrise,” I replied.
We settled into a companionable silence.
“Why were you talking about points?” my eldest asked a few minutes later.
I instantly regretted having used that metaphor. It was just like my eldest to get caught up in the details. I started to give a sigh, but then the little one chimed in.
“Cause you said you were sorry for pushing me and I erased your point.”
I held my breath. I was sure that my eldest would take umbrage at being told he had earned and subsequently lost a point.
Nothing happened but thoughtful silence. Naturally, my eyes welled up with tears.
“You know what’s really cool?” I said, hesitantly. “When we erase other people’s points, God erases our points, too. He really likes it when we erase each other’s points.”
I’m not sure that this point hit its mark. But I definitely needed the reminder.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3: 22-23