Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Words... Big Lessons

Hats off to the creator and marketer of the now infamous Pillow Pet. I mean, it's a pillow, it's a pet... what's not to love about that? Ironically, Madalyn had something identical to the Pillow Pet when she was a wee little tot. It was a grey cat head in the shape of a pillow, and, though it was smaller in size than the normal Pillow Pets we see in the stores now, it rolled up and velcroed all the same. She used it in her crib as a pillow when she was a toddler. Couldn't tell you where it is now, but it's long been replaced by a lamb and a lady bug.

Last night, we made a mad dash to Walmart. I only needed snacks for the kids for school. Madalyn had three dollars in her wallet, and she just knew she could purchase something of value with it. She wanted to look at the toys, which we rarely ever do, and I agreed hoping to find some ideas for Christmas but all the while explaining she most certainly would NOT be making a purchase and neither would I.

"Oh, I love this! I want to get this!"
"Madalyn, it's $49.95, and you have $3."
"Well, I could give you my money and you could do the rest..."
"Christmas is only a month away. We are not buying a toy."

Similar conversations went on about various items or differing prices. Since her brother wasn't with us, I was trying to let her look and keep myself patient. Patience is not always my top virtue, especially with Madalyn. We had finally made it through the girl aisles with sanity in tact, and we turned out onto the main aisle to get what we really needed when she saw them...

They aren't your average Pillow Pets. No... they are pets in little houses that unzip and break forth for play! When it's pillow time again, you can zip the little pet back into its home. I remember having something similar to this notion as a child (hello, Puffalumps?!?!) and thinking it was quite nifty, but looking at it as a parent, all I am thinking is, "Why in the world couldn't have I had this idea and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits that go along with it?"

We entered a mode of frantic we seldom visit anymore. The six year old just had to have the puppy that zipped into the dog house. Like had to have it. But she had two things going against her... 1) I don't have an extra $20 to spare these days (especially with Christmas literally right around the bend), and 2) she's already got 2 pillow pets at home. It's hard to feel sorry for a child that has as much as my little girl. Granted, she may not have as much as another, but she certainly has an adequate amount of things of things to keep her entertained at home. And I am not typically a mom that purchases toys just because. My kids may get to pick something at the dollar store if we go, but that's about it outside of birthdays or special occasions.

She cried and whined and pleaded and cried some more. All through the store, the whole way home, up the stairs, she carried on. And on. And on. I mainly tried to remain quiet because my voice has a tendency to rise in pitch and volume when she gets like this. But then, she began to say things like, "You're just a meany mama... you never let me get anything... you always buy stuff for you and never for me... I wished I didn't live with a meany mama like you..." It was the latter phrase that dug into my heart. I know that it shouldn't, but it did.

Just the night before, I had awaken to the pitter patter that her slender feet make on the short pile of the carpet when there's no other noise in the house. A little lightening and low rumbling thunder brought her to my side of the bed. I welcomed her in as I slipped out to visit the restroom. When I got back into the bedroom, she was nestled in to my spot in the king size bed, all rolled up like a burrito, and I couldn't bare to bother her. I made my way to the couch and curled up with a couple of blankets for the rest of the night. She doesn't understand that part of being her mama. She has no idea the things I have gone without because her legs and feet continue to grow and I want to to continue being here when they teeter off the school bus in the afternoon. She doesn't understand how her words stung my heart especially after a night of crappy sleep on the couch. The little words from her little mouth just hurt... they hurt more than they should.

I quietly put her in the tub, talking as little as possible. Her tears finally subsided shortly after we turned the water off, and within five minutes, she had called me back in the bathroom.

"Will you bathe me, Mama?"
"Now you need me to do something for you? And why should I do anything for you, Madalyn, after the way you have behaved and treated me tonight?"
"Well, I'm sorry..." {less than convincing, I assure you}
"No, you're not sorry. You're not sorry at all, or you would have called me in here to tell me so, not to get me to do something for you. I will most certainly not bathe you. You can do it yourself tonight."

I made my way down stairs to avoid causing her bodily harm, my blood pressure still rising by the moment. I sat down with my laptop and eased my brain with a little Facebook check. That helps any situation, you know... staring aimlessly at meaningless information on a computer screen. Five minutes or so went by, and there she came, nothing but a towel wrapped around her little self, big brown eyes with a little puddle of tears welling inside them.

"Mama... I am sorry I said you were a meany mama. You're a good mama."
"Thank you, Madalyn. I know you don't mean what you say sometimes, but it does hurt my feelings. You know Mama has feelings too. Let's go get bathed."

As I knelt down beside the tub to wash her hair, I heard this gentle voice... How do you think I feel, Tamara, when you do the same to Me?

Oh, Lord... forgive me when I act like a six year old child that doesn't get her way. Forgive me for the times I don't trust that You will give me everything I need. Give me patience in dealing with my children just as You have been patient with me as I spiritually mature. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring the pain of death so that I can experience the freedom of forgiveness through your Holy Name. Amen.

No comments: