I hate to admit it but it's true. I gave up. Parenting is hard! Parenting with eternity in mind is beyond hard!! I felt like a failure. No matter what I tried my relationship with Little Big Boy Man got worse and worse. There was screaming. There was crying. There was even a moment where I lost it completely; and, well let's just say it was not my best moment. In fact I don't think I could have sank any lower. Something had to change and I knew that something had to be me.
We were not connecting. Too often we were talking to each other without understanding. We'd be saying the same thing but in different ways. I'm saying 'ham and cheese'; he's saying 'jambon et fromage'. It was like that with everything. I didn't know him. I was so busy trying to make him into the man I thought he should be that I never got to know who he was right then.
I needed to see my son for who he was. And I needed to know what he needed from me.
So after a few more tears and a few frustrated prayers I knew what I had to do. We needed a clean slate. But to get that clean slate I needed to come clean. I needed to be honest with my son about what I was feeling. I needed to confess my sins against him and seek forgiveness. And I needed to listen as he unloaded what was in his heart.
And that was not easy.
What I learned is that my high-strung little man didn't believe I loved him. What?!? I said it all the time. I was disciplining him "...as a father the son he delights in." Oops! I realized I wasn't delighting in my son. Just the opposite. I had grown to dread even being in the same room. This life I so eagerly brought into the world was now a source of anguish. And as much as I thought I did a great job hiding that, he picked up on it (funny how children are better at reading body language). And to him it meant I didn't love him.
The other thing I learned was that I was unintentionally shunning his attempts to show me love. Little Big Boy Man is physical touch. I am soooo not. I was getting upset and annoyed at the constant touching. Even the physical altercations he so frequently started were just his need to feel love.
About this time I learned of a mother-son weekend retreat at a local christian camp. And though I dreaded the idea, I signed us up. I don't know what I thought the weekend would do for our relationship, but I was willing to try. There I found acceptance from the other moms when I unburdened my heart. There I found my son.
I'd like to say we're doing just great but I would be a liar. What I can say is that I've changed. Our relationship is getting better; a little every day. Sometimes we take two steps back, but we quickly recover and move forward.
It will take a long time to regain the trust and respect I lost. But now I have hope.