Gus-Gus loves to go outside. He wears shoes all day and won’t let me take them off, on the off chance he can sneak out the door with one of the big brothers. Lately, he’s started bringing me his jacket too. He doesn’t really talk yet, but I’m pretty he actually said “jacket” when he brought it to me yesterday. I rewarded him with a walk outside.
Last week we had the most wonderful, wet, slushy snowstorm. Wonderful because when I took Gus-Gus outside for his slow toddle to the mailbox, our two sets of footprints were perfectly imprinted in the thin, wet layer of snow—my big, long strides matched up with each half-dozen of his. I stopped to admire, then ran around the house so I wouldn’t disturb them on my way in to grab a camera. I knew there was a metaphor for life in there somewhere. Today, the metaphor smacked me in the face.
Today, my little Buzz was at his rudest and most frustrating. Ever. His mood, combined with the five short hours of sleep I managed last night, meant we were in trouble. Usually, I have a little extra patience for this strong-willed boy of mine, but today I lost my temper. Over and over. I have to admit, yesterday was pretty similar (on my part, not his). Sometime this afternoon, as I was yelling at him to stop being so rude to people, that terrible parenting mirror popped up in front of me. You know, the one that appears when you say “Don’t hit your brother” (spank), or “You don’t need any candy today” (right after sneaking a few pieces yourself), or any of those other lovely parental hypocrisies.
Buzz is mimicking how I’ve been acting lately. A little bit angry, a little bit rude, and completely self-indulgent.
These little people, they watch us so closely, don’t they? I wish I could hide from them sometimes, but parenting is kind of a 24/7 commitment. A friend of mine, years ago, was discussing her faith with me and talked about “walking with Jesus.” I love that phrase, which I had never heard before. We all walk with people, for short or long periods, as they influence our lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I always walked with Jesus, that perfect example? Too often, my footprints veer wildly off His path. My little boys are walking side by side with me for this brief period in their lives, before they leave me to choose their own paths. It is so selfish of me to lead them in wrong directions. Where I go, they follow, and the atmosphere in our home lately has shown that. A little less loving, less considerate, their footprints are just following mine. I think I need to watch my steps more carefully.