The Dulcet Tones of Children

"I hate you, Mommy."


"This family drives me crazy."

"You are so mean."

"I want to run away."


"I hate school."

"I hate soccer practice."

"I hate her!"

Ah, the love. The pure, sweet words of children. I would like to say that the preceding diatribe occured over the space of days, or even one entire day. Alas, these words were all voiced between 3:30pm and 5:30pm yesterday, by various children in my family. That's quite a bit of vitriole for a two-hour time slot.

There were tears. Punches were thrown (not by me, I assure you). People did a lot of yelling (including me, I'm sorry to say). One of my favorite dishes broke, which was pure accident and not the result of anger or tantrum, but it made me cry anyway because there were too many other things happening at the same time that made me want to cry as well.

Yesterday was also the first full day of school: COINCIDENCE? I think not. Transitions are hard for everyone, I guess.

One of my kids in particular has really been struggling with the start of school. I find one of the most difficult parts of parenting is being patient with their struggles.

Does that sound awful? What I mean is that when I am trying my best to support them and be encouraging to them and show them options for dealing with something difficult, and when they at the same time are too deep in their struggle to accept much help at all, I get frustrated because they cannot at that moment take the help I am giving.

It's at those moments that I need to remind myself that I am, first and foremost, a farmer. My job is to plant the seeds and nurture them, care for them even before their tender green shoots break the surface of the earth. A farmer does not stick a seed in the ground, pour a little water on it, and then throw her hands up in frustration because the damn plant isn't growing yet. She is patient. She tends to her harvest daily, hourly. She trusts in the work of her hands, long before the fruits appear.

The work is messy, difficult, time-consuming, and charaterized by delayed gratification. The fruit, when it comes, is sweet and lovely and redemptive. Mercy, but I need help remembering that.

* * *


Teacher Mommy said…
So do I. Big time. Thank you for the reminder!
Gabriele said…
Happy gardening! Those seeds will turn into lovely flowers :-)
Viv said…
Let's see, this morning before school started I heard, "listen Lady, don't tell me what to do," and, "stop taunting me Mother," and my favorite of all, "Bat, eyes on the road and wings on the wheel." The last is a George Lopez reference, but, by the time it came out if my oldest child's mouth I was in no mood for comedy. In fact, all of the sweet nothings were whispered by my eldest child, who is the one of my children that is having the hardest time adjusting to the new school year. It just hasn't kicked in that he has to work (hint, most of the snotty comments were made while he was rushing to finish his homework for today) and that I am not going to let him have another year like the 5th grade.
Oh Viv, those are priceless comments. I can just hear my own oldest coming up with those! Wow. Yes, it was homework that elicited at least 50% of those commments from my kids. It's a NIGHTMARE. Much worse, also, for those of us with more than 2 school age kids...
Kelly said…
Yes, yes, yes. I am struggling with this as well. It's hard to be calm and patient and attempt to guide, only to be rebuffed. It's even harder to remember that sometimes our words do sink in, even though it seems otherwise at the time.
Jen said…
Oooh, girl, that's deep. I was about to salt the earth over here, so your post came just in time.

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