Are there days you just want to pull out your hair because there is something in your life that is driving you crazy, and you want it gone?
Ya, I’ve had lots of days like that too! I feel like there is a mountain in the way, that I can’t move. Over the years I have gained some perspective and know now that some of those mountains were molehills…
I had opened their bedroom door. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a square inch of rug to be seen in the whole room. Clothes, books, gadgets and gizmos were strewn everywhere. I think there may have been a bed somewhere amid it all. Sighing, I closed the door and went to find my child.
I didn’t consider myself a nagger or guilt tripper, but I had been on my child many times about their messy room and I seemed to be getting nowhere. It’s not that I really cared if they had a messy room or a clean one, my goal was to save their marriage in advance…
My child was only thirteen.
In my mind, twenty years later, my kids were going to be divorced, due to their bad habits causing enormous fights. We had four teenagers and not a single one of our kids were gifted the neat-and-tidy gene. You can just imagine the state our home was in.
When Vance and I got married, his toss-everything-on-the-floor habit, drove me crazy. We bickered about it constantly. His socks would sit two inches away from the laundry basket. His clean clothes never made it into his dresser, and he was quite happy to live out of a hamper. In his mind, these were all my jobs, and if I didn’t do them, he would just leave them. I’m happy to say we have switched roles many years later. He now picks up after me, as he somehow over time became the neater one of the two of us.
One day as I was bemoaning the fact to Vance that the kid’s messy rooms were driving me crazy. He said to me, “Cindy, are you going to have this battle with the kids every day during their teenage years? It’s not worth it. You need to pick your battles. This isn’t the one I would chose. Shut their bedroom doors and don’t go in there.”
That was the end of the battle.
Our four youngest kids all moved out in the past few years, and as they each moved, I went in their rooms to clean out whatever was left behind. Essays, poems, teddy bears, toy cars, trinkets, dolls, and posters were their old treasures. I sat on each of their beds and thought of all the wonderful memories we had with each of our teenagers. As I sat amidst their messes each time, I wasn’t sitting there wishing I had nagged them more about neatness.
Their rooms had been a place of refuge to them, where they could cry over the things a typical teenager cries over, or text someone they were dating, or escape their brother’s autism, when he was having a bad day. They could sort out their life’s problems in this small space.
Recently my youngest son Eythan married Jazmin. When he proposed to her, I apologized in advance over my messy child and told her it was all Vance’s fault. She laughed and said it wasn’t going to be a problem, because she wasn’t a neat-freak. I felt relief… they could now live in wedded bliss.
Due to quite a bit of their first year of marriage going to be spent in Arizona getting cancer treatment for Jazmin, they decided to move in with us, so they didn’t have the cost of rent when paying for expensive treatment. Eythan could also work in our maple syrup business on the weeks he was home. They only had a day before they flew out on their honeymoon, to set up their new home in our basement. But they had many other tasks that were of more importance, that needed to be done.
While they were honeymooning, Jazmin’s dad, Aaron, had driven a trailer filled with their wedding gifts, furniture and belongings from Eythan’s apartment, and her childhood home in Sudbury, to our home in Sault Ste. Marie.
They were both sick when they got back from their honeymoon and had to leave a few days later to go to Arizona. Eythan had the flu and Jazmin had pain in her lower back from the cancer on her kidney and was also starting to get flu symptoms. They had brought a car load of belongings and threw them into the basement, hoping to also unload the trailer of furniture they have sitting in our driveway, and set up their new life. Jazmin especially, was excited to organize their new home…
Nice and neat… before they went to Arizona.
But now their life sits strewn through our basement and packed into a trailer… waiting for them.
I go down into the basement each morning to get meat out of the freezer and pray for my son and his wife each day as I walk passed their future. Do you think for a moment I care about the mess in my basement? I would happily live with that chaos for the rest of my life, if it meant Jazmin had no cancer and her suffering was over.
When our kids earned their license and could drive, we would ask them what time they thought they’d be back. Sometimes they would be ten or fifteen minutes past curfew. Vance told me he did not want to argue with the kids over their curfew unless of course they were way past it, and hadn’t given us a heads-up with a text explaining the situation.
He wanted to give them the same grace period he and I gave each other when we were out. Sometimes one of us was later than we said we’d be, and we didn’t stress over it. Life happens and people can need us, and we can be a bit late… we leave room for that.
We now wait for Eythan and Jazmin to come home… It seems as though they are way past curfew.
We wait as Jazmin battles cancer…
Is there something in your life you feel is a ‘mountain’ right now? Will it impact the world, the future, or someone’s life? Or is it just a messy room, or someone came in five minutes late, or a child got a ‘C’ on their report card? Maybe it’s a molehill.
Pick your battle and make sure it’s worth it.
You have your kids for a moment in time…
Use your moments wisely, and throw in a hug or an I love you!
Father’s do no exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 NIV
Believing and hoping