Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Lesson I Learned

(March 4th Journal)

Well, my nephew had a party tonight. It had an awesome, pirate theme. My boys adore Caden & were excited to have a fun time—and it turned out great (most of it, anyway).

Tyson was the only kid wearing an eye patch when I showed up, and he wore it practically the whole time, which cracks me up. After he got his totally awesome balloon pirate sword, he lifted the eye-patch up so he could run faster and jab better. All of a sudden, he had a melt-down on the playground, though, and began running to me in shambles. For a couple seconds I braced myself to take my usual “You’re just fine” approach to the situation until he told me another kid had thrown sand in his eyes. The closer he got to me, I could tell this melt-down was a merited one. Once he was in my arms I could see that the little tears by his eyes were actually filled with muddy sand. He was literally crying sand out of his eyes. I felt so bad for him, but I still kept my cool.
At the bathroom, I cupped my hands and filled them with water while he tried to open blink his eyes open in the water to wash out the sand. After doing this several times for each eye and thinking we were making progress, I pulled on his little face under his eye to see inside his lower eyelid. Much to my dismay, his eye was still lined with granules of sand. That finally ticked me off enough and I muttered something like, “I can’t believe that kid actually threw sand directly INTO your eyes. Who would do that?! That…little…jerk!” I knew I probably shouldn’t name call in front of Tyson like that, and I never have done that until tonight, but I was so mad that I justified by saying that kid deserved it…after all, what he did to my kid was RUDE! But I immediately started to regret what I said when I noticed Tyson reacting to the situation by stamping his little foot and thinking about what he was going to say about the kid, too. But my heart softened in the instant he exclaimed, “That…little….goof-ball!” I smiled and we kept washing out sand from his eyes. It really was awful and he kept crying out little granules of sand. I had to remind him over and over not to rub his eyes, and it broke my heart every time he’d blink and say, “That REALLY hurts!”
Well, it gets better. We finally got down to 2 largely visible grains (one in each eye). They could only be seen deep in the crevice of his lower eye-lid and the white of his eye. It wasn’t close enough to the edge for me to feel comfortable trying to get it out, so we went to Mitch for moral support and help. As we walked over to Mitch, Tyson once again caught me off-guard as he told the story: “Dad! That cute little kid over there with the band-aid on his head threw sand in my eyes, and it really hurts!”

What a tender and precious moment in time. Who would have thought that this experience would leave me with a good feeling? No one in their right mind would initially think that something good would come from this 30-40 minute ordeal, but it did. If you think about it, it really was an ORDEAL. With all the time it took to rinse all the grains of sand out of his eyes, not only was my son in a crisis, but we missed the opening of all the birthday presents, and the singing. But, my kid did what I taught him to do…in fact, he did it better than I did. : ) He was forgiving. Just like Jesus taught us to be. He taught me a lesson: That cute, little goof-ball, with the band-aid on his head is as precious as gold to his mommy, too. In the end, it’s all okay. In the end, we’re all treasured as God’s children...each just as loveable, unique, and wanted as the next. And it helped our mood to get to eat a pirate cake, too.

…….I also learned…or remembered, rather, how important it is to have your child apologize when they do something wrong. It’s very possible that the sand-throwing-culprit’s mommy wasn’t even aware of what happened, and I hold no malice. But, I’m all the more grateful that when my son threw sand just a few days ago, that I saw it and made him apologize. It’s just an important practice and I hope to teach my kids to be conscious of the way other people’s feelings are affected by their actions and to make their wrongs right.

It’s quite the life over there on the, really, quite the life--a real pirate showed up & I snapped a picture of him. I don't know where on earth he came from!