Parenting can be absolutely exhausting.
I had one of these days last week.
We just welcomed our third boy, Soul River Thompson, into the world. I took all three boys to Pullen Park for the evening so Daphne, my wife, could get a mani and pedi with her twin sister. She just got through carrying a baby for 9 months, not to mention labor, so she certainly deserved it.
When we got home after the park, I got the boys washed, fed and ready for bed. The book my oldest son, Declan, picked for the night was a kid’s version of Star Wars. For whatever reason, Declan likes to interrupt me when I read. Every. Single. Night. To talk about things that have nothing to do with what I happen to be reading.
It had been a sweet, but long day and I was wearing out. I got frustrated with Declan for interrupting and he could tell.
I finished the book. Prayed with the boys. Then Kissed em goodnight. Exhausted, I plopped down on the couch next to Daphne, who had recently returned home with some beautifully painted toes.
“Daddy, I don’t love you anymore!”
They never just go to sleep! Literally 20 seconds after plopping down Declan yelled down the hall, “Daddy, I don’t love you anymore!” My mind raced. Is he serious? After all I’ve done for him. I couldn’t believe it. It was unlike him to say something like this.
I went back to his room and did what every self-respecting parent would do. I spanked the tar outta him. Kidding!
What’s the real issue?
I climbed in bed with Declan to talk it out. I wasn’t mad. Sure, I hated hearing him say those words. But I knew he didn’t mean it.
“Declan, is Daddy perfect? (by now he absolutely knows I’m not). I mess up all the time. There was only one perfect person to ever live. You know who that is right? Jesus. Will you please forgive me for getting frustrated with you buddy?” He shook his head yes, too upset to utter the actual word.
“Do you think Daddy loves you when you do things you shouldn’t do?”
I assured him, as best I could, that I did. I’m not sure how much he was able to take in. But I wanted so desperately for him to know in the depth of his soul, that I’d always love him. It would never go away. He doesn’t, nor will he ever have to, worry about earning my love. I simply just love him because he’s mine. The God of the Holy Bible feels the exact same way about you. And me.
I know that this will be something that we, as father and son, continue to work through. As humans, it’s incredibly hard for us to accept and grasp unmerited, undeserved love. We feel so unworthy. So undeserving. So insecure. We feel we must earn it.
It made me think of my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus. I know He loves me. So much so that He gave His life for me (John 3:16). I mean, I know this in my head, but it doesn’t always make its way to my heart. Often, when I mess up, feel down, or tragedy strikes, I question. I doubt. I lash out and say and do things I don’t mean. Just like my sweet son Declan.
Parenting’s not a one-way street.
No relationship is. My kids are teaching me so much! About life. About myself. Even about God!
Be bold. Be brave. Keep the faith,