“I’m gonna punch you,” the teen tells his younger brothers – whether it is their silly songs, their loud talking, or actions designed to provoke. I’m not really worried about the “I’m-gonna-punch-you” threat.
That’s brothers building boundaries, uncomfortably building boundaries (for post on Types of Brotherly Physical Contact, click here) – and, often, code for “I need quiet time” – brothers communicate holisticly with an arsenal of choices: humor, story telling, warnings, helping, encouraging, praying, directions, messages, and back-off words.
In school, though – in school it’s different.
“I was thisclose to punching someone today,” I’ve heard all of my boys say. The provacation is usually someone disrupting class, someone bullying another classmate, possibly bullying them. The girl in me, that God put there to nurture, to comfort, to hug – it rebels against those words, those actions.
Don’t get me wrong – if someone ever punch my son, I’d want them to defend themselves. Sometimes I think that if the good-guys could defend, there’d be fewer discipline problems in school – but, the good-guys get suspended for defending themselves these days.
When my sons say, “I was thisclose to punching someone,” I realize they have reached the end of their rope, their buttons are being pushed, their boundaries overrun – or, maybe, someone sitting behind them tapped a pencil to a staccato beat during an entire class.
Frustration, though, is really no reason for punching.
We drove, this teen and I, to pick up his brothers. “I was thisclose to punching someone” – and I remembered a youth who wanted to hurt another son ( click here to read: Unoffical Day of Prayer to Stop School Violence), threatened to stab him in the back and kill him. At first, I wanted law-and-order justice – until God whispered what he really needed: someone praying for him.
Looking at the road in front of us, I told this son what I thought was really going on:
“The urge to punch someone is really a call from God to pray the person you want to punch – except that call has been hijacked by the devil.”
He wasn’t buying it . . . but I was.
But if I say it over and over again, he might one day live it and believe it.
57) a mother-in-law who has open-heartedly and with grace helped me cut out the pieces for my very first quilt – helped and taught, handling with dexterity and acceptance the way I learn new things.
58) blue polka dots on white cotton material
59) material with a vintage feel, prints mixing yellow, pinks, and blues
60) courage that pushed me from the safety of ignorance into the midst of a color challenge to finally make my blue cotton quilt
61) I’ve read all the Jane Austen Books, the Bronte sisters books, seen all the I Love Lucy’s – but the realization I haven’t read, seen or done all – starting my quilt showed me that – and seeing the movie the movie “Love Letters” with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton, and holding grandbaby girl.
62) Walking up 3 concrete steps, walking toward restoration, choosing to leave behind a broken moment, refusing to let that brokenness break anything more than a moment.
63) the dinner blessing that included, “and bless the hands that prepared our dinner.”
64) My oldest son giving father words to his new daughter, kissing her before handing her over to his wife.
65) A little crease in baby girl’s cheek, between her nose and mouth
66) My husband, holding baby girl for the first time,
67) telling his son a story filled with laughter – baby girl furrowing her brow at the new sound before falling asleep in this new Papaw’s arms, her Papaw.
68) a grocery store green pepper and summertime canned tomatoes in soup.
69) a blue ottoman beside a son’s bed that allows me to lean comfortably and listen during bedtime conversation.
70) “Did you count your freckles today? Did you come home with 10 toes? What’s it like without the bully in the bathroom” –serious and silly questions to fill my question-quota my son demands at bedtime.
71) not having the boys rack up squats on the way to church on Sunday
72) a phone call about a job interview on Friday- Yeah!
73) my soldier son calling me in mistake: “Sorry, mom – I didn’t mean to call” he said. “Never tell your mom you didn’t mean to call – just say, “Love you , Mom,” I laughed. “Love you, mom,” he said.
74) sitting, knitting with a group of women at Sweet Sallie’s Bakery and coffee shop, with a sugar-free caramel macchioato, sharing a morning, knitting words and making friends.
75) going places, like the World Foods shop, ordering 2 Rueben sandwiches and a lb of pancetta, the owner, friends with my DIL’s family, asking about sweet baby girl and saying nice words about my son who had come in earlier to pick up lunch for he and his sweet wife. Community roots digging deep – relationships grow from knowing, knowing, and knowing, loving like the Father loves.
76) the wind, though it tormented me tonight, wouldn’t let me cook my steaks on the grill, rib-eye steaks that I’d been saving for a celebration moment, when life’s ordinary sweetness was the celebration – and I turned to the wind and said, “God, can you turn it off for 5 minutes. It’s blowing out my grill.” In retrospect, I sounded like one of my sons tattling on another son. The wind, it kept blowing – and the steaks, they kept not cooking. Stove-top steaks don’t do rib-eye steaks justice – but God has been wanting me to learn to jump tracks lately, to soften for His changes without breaking – and the wind, well, it tossled my hair, blew out the burners like a Crosby and Hope absurd scene, and I chose joy instead of pouting because I did not get my way. Plans blown amuck is how it could have ended. My plans were for blessing – so I focused on blessing instead of grilled steaks.
77) clouds that fall from the sky, cocooning my home – and me. Driving home from school, up the hill into the mists, like the world is left behind and it is just us, a cottage in the clouds.
78) My little guy helping me carry the tall Kitchen Christmas Tree to the basement where we discovered it fit perfectly between the rafters so we wouldn’t have to hang it horizontally from the ceiling.
79) My little guy coming up behind me, as I’m typing this, sitting on the couch. He wraps his arms around my neck, saying, “Hug” – and I stop and savor!