Saying “yes” to sabotage

I came across a blog by Jen Hatmaker this past holiday season* about kids who “sabotage” or in my words “WRECK” big days.

Well, we have had some major big days lately and our share of sabotaging.

Elam turned 6 this December 7.  He said he always loves December because he “gets spoiled.”  Well that came true again this year.  He had a birthday party at the Y, complete with a visit from his swim coach (on her only day off from going into the Y!) and treats at Kindergarten then swim practice and a “get to do whatever you want to” night following.

We had a big swim party at the Y.  He was so excited!

We had a big swim party at the Y. He was so excited!

Calista had her first piano recital.  She was so nervous every time I mentioned in the weeks leading I stopped mentioning it.  Then the morning of, she was terrified.  When the time came to leave, she stopped talking but kept moving.  As we sat listening to her friends play, she would look at me painfully aware her time was approaching.

But when the moment came, she picked up her books, squared her shoulders and took a deep breath.  She swept her hair back from her face and bravely marched to the front of the room.  She said her name loudly and clearly, announced her songs and proceeded to play in front of a crowd for the first time.

It was a recital complete with a testimony from our piano teacher about how she wishes her students would all play for God’s glory.  What a big day!

Elam is learning how to become a better swimmer and diver.  We take him to swim twice every week and although sometimes he doesn’t “want” to go, he is really improving and enjoys it.

So in the midst of all of this, our youngest plays and swims along.  We play upstairs at the Y, using weights, exercise balls and Bosus.  I am teaching him good squat form and how to run fast.













XS is also enduring his first dental work since we brought him home from China. Unbeknownst to us, his teeth have developmental issues.  When his mother was pregnant, she wasn’t eating enough of the right things at the right time and so two cavities have formed.  It makes us very sad for his mother and for him!  There is nothing we can do except fill those suckers.

When the novocaine was going in, the dentist told him to sit on his hands.  He didn't move from that position for 45 minutes until after he stood up!

When the novocaine was going in, the dentist told him to sit on his hands. He didn’t move from that position for 45 minutes until after he stood up!

Have you ever watched anyone get a cavity?  I don’t suggest it.  I was in agony from start to finish.  That novocaine needle was so very long.  And it must have taken the dentist 15 minutes to push that thing into his little mouth.  Our dentist goes to our church and I was so grateful for her patience and encouragement through the whole thing.  It was an education, although I don’t think I’ll look the next time so much (which will be Tuesday. Merry Christmas to us!)

This kid is certainly a wonder of opposites.  Wouldn’t you think a 4.5 year old might fight off the novocain needle, drilling in his teeth or even sitting still for 45 minutes.  But no, he was an angel.

However, throw him into his brother’s birthday (HIS HIS HIS – It’s all HIS! XS kept saying during the party and gifts) and he was a disaster. Thanksgiving was about to put me to drinking.  He had two MAJOR tantrums where he could not calm down.  Even when I tried to make some Chinese food (he had been complaining I NEVER make it anymore) he complained that Calista was getting “spicy” rice (she was putting butter and salt on hers).  Sabotage.

Some days I don’t know what to expect from him.  He can fly through a whole day, then not be able to find one small item and it throws him into a fit.  He can flourish at the dentist and then later, wake up from a nap, cry getting ready to go to the bus and only until we are halfway down the street tell me he wet his pants while napping.  That was NOT a pretty afternoon for us.

It is exhausting I tell you.  I don’t like him much when he sabotages events, transitions and especially special occasions.  It makes me angry, wishing life would go back to two kids who can manage their emotions and not yell at the slightest irritation.

I know I had hard days as a mom of "only" 2, but sometimes I selfishly wish for it again.

I know I had hard days as a mom of “only” 2, but sometimes I selfishly wish for it again.

Christmas is days away.  We have coasted through school programs with practice, church programs and grandparent visits.  We have had meltdowns about seat belt buckles (I mean seriously every.single.time!), how little milk I put in his cereal, stepping into deep snow and a myriad of other things that make XS make the throat “egh!” sound that pitches me into the next hemisphere of irritation.  I am quietly dreading the next week.

I am supposed to be the adult.  I am the one who said “yes Lord.  May it be unto us according to your word.”  No matter the discomfort we said yes and went with eyes wide open into this family of 3.

But sometimes I want to whine and say ENOUGH.

Our finances show the discomfort.  Especially since we lost a VERY important (and expensive to replace) document last spring and still haven’t received a replacement.  This makes it impossible to do our taxes for 2014, or 2015…

Our family life is uncomfortable.  At home with the 5 of us or when we travel and the kid has a major meltdown at Grandma’s for no apparent reason.  Or when we walk down to the bus and he is angry about the straps on his snow pants.  If I had a nickel for every time we walk the 2 blocks to the bus stop and he is screaming and yelling and crying behind me as I hurry to meet the big kids…

Our marriage gets uncomfortable.  We take turns when he acts up so we keep our cool.  But even the rock that my husband is starts to crumble sometimes.  It’s not fun when both of your parents are disciplining you and running out of patience.  And it’s not fun to disagree on what to do when the kid hasn’t stopped crying for over an hour.

And don’t even get me started about Brian’s travel schedule starting this week…  I’ll have to dig deep my friends and be the adult because I AM the ONLY adult.

But this is the season of Christ’s birth.  And I sat in church today, thinking about the sermon I would preach on Christmas Eve.

Mary was young – 12-14 scholars think.  God told her she would become pregnant (every young girl’s dream!) but it would come BEFORE her coming together with Joseph.  She would also bring Jesus into the world away from home and possibly away from familiar faces and hands.

Mary had to have been faith-filled, but she must have been uncomfortable!  Pregnancy is no fun but I cannot imagine being pregnant at such a young age and under such circumstances.

But she did it to bring Christ to the world.

The sermon I would preach is that we all can be Mary if we say yes.  We can hear from God (I’m sure He say something to say to you) and it probably won’t be expected, easy or comfy.  We can choose to say yes and in the process, we can do our part to sharing Christ to this world.


I will admit I am uncomfortable right now being a mom to XS.  It is no fun to hear the complaining, the critiques and the “egh” every time he hasn’t found what he is looking for. I will admit I want to run away sometimes and I do (Saturday I ran at 7am in 9 degrees to get away).

And even here as I write perhaps way too long of a blog about this I find there is no cute way to tie these thoughts and click “publish.”  We aren’t at the end of all of this.  In fact I’m bracing myself for when Brian comes home tonight with all 3 kids and we will probably walk through one more cry-fest before day’s end.

But I’ll guess that if you asked us, “if you knew all of this would you have said ‘yes’?” we would say yes.  Yes.


You can read Hatmaker’s blog here:

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