Wanna hear a funny story that doesn't involve maggots? I'm calling it a funny story now, because I know it will be tomorrow. But right now, it still makes me cry. It's one of those embarrassing moments that I wish would just go away. Like the time I tripped in front of my mom and sisters on the way into an Old Navy. I tripped and did a forward roll right in the parking lot and we all just kept walking and by the time we stepped through the door, it was like it never happened. Never to be talked about again. Let's put this story on that shelf, too. You can read about it now and laugh about it with your friends but never mention it in front of me, okay?
So Randall decided to go visit a friend today. I was scheduled to sing at church so we had to figure out what to do with the boys. Randall called a babysitter and she stepped in and saved us as she often does. She watched the boys for a few hours and then brought them to church for the first service. We love Dana.
All of my songs were at the beginning of the service and so the kids wouldn't have to stay for all four services, I decided the boys could eat dinner in Randall's office and play on his computer while I sang my three songs during second service and then we'd leave early. So I fed them dinner and gave them a couple of things to snack on and set up their games on the computer with just enough time to catch our prayer before we go out on stage.
We musicians feel so honored to get to serve at our church. We always pray before we go on stage. Usually, thanking God for the opportunity and asking for help as we lead people in worship. I always pray that He won't let me get in the way of what He wants to do in this service. So at the end of our prayer, I tagged on, "and please help my kids not to destroy anything while I'm gone." Wrong prayer.
I went on stage and sang my songs to God in front of people. It was a holy time for me. Then I went backstage to find my kids when I was finished. When I approached the office door, it was ajar and the boys were not sitting in the chairs I left them in. I had a moment of fear that they had escaped. But I was quickly relieved when I saw them behind the door coloring with another pastor, Jon. Here's how our conversation went.
The relief was obvious when I saw them and made a quick nervous laugh, "Oh, I thought I had lost my kids," I say. "Were they okay?" I ask.
"Yeah, I grabbed them and we just came back here and watched a couple of videos on You Tube and started coloring."
"Ok. Thanks…" Wait. Did he just say they came BACK here? "Did they get out?!"
"You didn't see them?"
What do you mean? I was on stage in an auditorium of a few hundred people. "Nope."
Apparently, my kids lost their game on the computer and decided to go find me to fix it. Jon got a call, "The Littleton boys are in the auditorium. Can you come get them?" By the time Jon got to them, they were on the stage next to me and I didn't even see them! He escorted them backstage and took care of them until I got back.
I was furious. Embarrassed. Mortified. 1. I left my kids alone and obviously shouldn't have. 2. They interrupted worship and went to find me and I didn't even notice. 3. Someone had to rescue them for me.
So as I'm falling apart in front of Jon, I just picked up the boys and left. I couldn't find my purse so I made them tag along with me in order not to lose them again while I looked for it. But my purse was on my shoulder so I started to leave but my kids weren't with me again. I found them and took the nearest exit to the door. On my way out, I called Randall just to gave him a heads up that I might leave his kids on the side of a road somewhere. At the same time that I'm on the phone, the kids are yelling at me and calling me "Mean Mommy."
I made it to the car and got the kids strapped in. I just didn't know what to do with my emotions. I explained to the kids that they should have stayed in Daddy's office like I asked them too. And I was very upset that they came looking for me. I told them it was dangerous and embarrassing. But they really had no idea why I would be so upset.
I cried all the way home because I was just done. The kids bickered in the back seat and had a kick fight and whined and yelled and said they were never going to play with me again. I was just done. I felt guilty about wanting to quit being a mom. I felt sorry for myself because I feel like I deserve a vacation from my own kids. I didn't know how to handle my emotions. I was furious because I was embarrassed. Being a parent is hard. Way hard.
Why do we want to be parents in the first place?
Seriously. Why did you want to have kids?
Do you know why I wanted to be a parent? I don't even like kids! I wanted someone who was mine. Someone who looked like me and Randall. Someone I could hold and love. Someone I could share my history with. Someone I could mold and shape to be a world changer.
I don't think I even thought about why I should have kids or not before I made the decision to have them. It was just a compelling desire inside me… to hold my own baby for long, long periods of time. Do you think God gives us that desire in order to teach us something about him?
There is so much joy to be found in children. So much to be learned. If I didn't have my own kids, I would not understand the unconditional love God has for me. He gave his own son for me. Now, I would give my own life for many people. But I can not think of a single person, I would give up my sons life for.
If I didn't have my kids, I would have LONG forgotten what it was like to have a childlike faith.
If I did not have kids, I would not be reminded to stop and pay attention to beauty as often as I am.
My boys are teaching me how to be a good example in all areas of life.
I feel like I have zero patience, but I bet my kids are in the process of teaching me how to be more patient, right now.
They're teaching me how to control my anger and emotions. That's for sure.
They're teaching me the meaning of joy.
God, remind me how to love my children, even when I'm angry. Give me patience and peace. Help me be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Give me wisdom. Don't let me get in the way of what you want to do in and through my boys. May I be a better example to them. May they grow to love others more than themselves. May they grow to love You more than anything.