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My throat is still scratchy from the lioness sound that came from my mouth. The faces of my children are still replaying in my mind and when I focus on it, my heart starts to race again.

There was no listening. Request after request and still – no compliance. They were picking on each other and pushing each other. Everyone was fixated only on themselves…including me.

“I don’t have the energy for this kind of day” was playing on repeat in my mind as I was folding laundry on the landing.

Noah brought me a bag of grapes and asked me to help him, while Jackson was screaming from the refrigerator, “THERE ARE NO GRAPES!!!” Literally screaming, as if the house was burning. Maybe what he meant to say was “we have no way out!”

I am breathing deep, anticipating that I am reaching my limit, while I sit on the landing and open the bag for Noah.

He reaches his hand in the bag and takes out a grape. It wasn’t perfect – it had a stem on it. Irritated, he grunts and pulls the stem off with his mouth. Before I even have a chance to comment, he turns his head and spits the stem on the floor. Like nothing, he begins to take the bag of grapes back into the kitchen.

“Excuse me,” I said, “Noah, please come over here and pick that up.”

“No thank you,” he says.

“Noah, right now, come over here and pick that up.” I say with more volume and force.

“I don’t know where it is,” he says, melting into a puddle of emotions on the floor.

Just then, Jackson comes back from the “fire” in the kitchen and playfully says “oh you had the grapes!”

“Stop it Jackson!!” Noah screams as he hears him, assuming that Jackson is laughing at him for falling to the floor.

“ENOUGH!!! STOP IT!!!” I roar while I look straight at Noah. “I am so sick of this!” I bark a similar animal-like way.

…Silence.

And more silence.

I knew that if I opened my mouth again, whatever came out would not be helpful or loving. The animal was still in control.

Sitting on the stairs, my head goes down in my hands, and I begin to sob. Releasing all of the anger, fear and frustration I had been trying to smile through during this morning’s chaos.

I whisper with tears dripping off my lips, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

The kids had left. In the kitchen, they were quietly getting their snacks with no trouble. Each took a seat at the counter with their snack while I washed the grapes. It was quiet, and Jackson looked up at me and smiled – a soft, sweet, welcoming smile.

To me it said, “It’s okay to come back.”

And just like that, I looked at each of them and said I was sorry. I said that it was not right for me to yell at them like that and scare them. I don’t want to scare them. I asked each one for forgiveness and each one forgave me. We all hugged one at a time and then the four of us had a big hug and fell to the ground laughing.

I LOVE this morning. I know it might sound crazy to you, but to me, this morning was a blessing. I needed it. I needed it to be where I am now. Fully recognizing how far I have come. I used to growl/roar/bark at them all the time. Weekly, if not daily, I would have that same sort of outburst. I used to make myself big and loud and use a yucky kind of power to get them to do what I wanted.

 

But…I am different now.

 

I have grown. They have raised me, as I am raising them.

 

It took this morning to allow me to see. I haven’t roared in months. I haven’t used big ugly power to control my kids through fear.

 

So I sit now, in my office, while the sitter is out playing with them and I weep. I weep because when we think we are failing, God is often giving us an opportunity to see something beautiful, if we are ready and if we are open.

Not only did I get to see how far I have come, but also I got to see how far WE have come.

My oldest used his gift of empathy and compassion prompted by his own growing heart.

I was reminded that we are all quick to forgive each other and offer grace. I realize that I would much rather be falling on the floor from a group hug after making up, than never having that vulnerable connection at all.

And another beautiful thing I see as I look back on this morning is that we didn’t let it take the day. In months or years past the whole day would have gone down with that growl, but not today. We came back and fought it with love for each other. We fought it by offering a redo…for each of us.

The lioness has gone for the day. I remember that is not how I want to use my power. I want to use my power for love. Noah is no longer in an emotional puddle on the floor but in a ball of snow having a blast outside.

I am thankful for how we have all grown and that God gives us many opportunities to practice.

I am thankful that He has taught me how to reflect and find meaning. Even in the ugly things.