My son is two. [Insert automatic sympathy/condolences here]
Actually, it hasn’t been terrible; it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected. Most days I want him to stay two forever! Learning to talk and the innocence of his actions melt my heart. But boy does he have his DAYS. Days where the theme of our life is tantrum after tantrum, triggered by either too many emotions going on in his little head at once or not getting his way.
My initial reaction is usually impatience, “Joshua, I don’t have time for this.” or “Today was supposed to be a special day.” Sometimes my reaction is pure frustration because his feelings don’t fit into MY schedule! I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…Thankfully it doesn’t take me long to realize my sin in reaction to his sin.
As soon as I carry him to a quiet room and rock him in my arms, I am overcome with sympathy. Sympathy because I feel his pain, I know all too well what it feels like to have your life's needs and wants out of your hands. The want or need to be in control isn’t something that suddenly disappears with age; am I right?
Am I the only one who has had temper tantrums as an adult? Probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever admitted on the internet… but I mean full blown, out-loud temper tantrums not something quietly in your head/heart?
Looking back, I would say my early twenties were probably a mirror reflection of my sons toddler years. Here I was a (newly) married, financially stable, independent young woman. Life should have been fantastic but my immaturity clashed with my life’s expectations frequently. I hadn’t established the inner-peace and dependence on Christ needed to handle life’s disappointments. I needed to have another “toddler” season in order to understand the freedom found in Christ. It took me awhile to unlearn some sinful behavior and establish stronger bonds in my relationship with God.
In those moments of my adult tantrums, I remember simply wanting someone to hold me and speak truth to me. It probably would’ve been hard to hear over my sobbing but some of it would’ve gotten through.
Now, I have the opportunity to do just that with my wild two year old. I get to be the one to hold him and speak truth to him. Surely some of it has got to get through to him at some point! So instead of reacting to his emotions with my emotions I will fight to respond with peace, grace and love.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11