Some weeks our schedules can feel so full: T-ball practice, Muffins with Mom at school, a birthday party, occupational therapy, and the dog needs to go to the vet. Sometimes the entire month can feel that way. I have noticed in those times when I am constantly surrounded with noise and distraction I can quickly get off course in my relationship with God, my husband, and my children.
I am also very aware that in busy seasons, my four-year-old son can become very unregulated. Throw in a change of schedule and you might as well drive my car right off a cliff. Some days in busy seasons can be particularly difficult with tantrums, stubbornness, and more tantrums. On those days, my flesh wants to push my son away: “You are too much right now.” “Stop screaming!” “I can’t deal with you anymore.”
But as most parents know, our child’s behavior is typically trying to communicate something to us. It could be something simple: “I am hungry” or “I am tired.” It could be more complex though: “I’m afraid,” “I don’t know what is happening,” or “I don’t feel safe.” While we still definitely employ time-outs (Mommy needs a three-minute break some days too, right?), we have a tradition in our home to follow up especially difficult days with some “time-in” together. With our son, this special time together typically happens at bedtime. We finish our normal routine of brushing teeth, reading a story, and saying our prayers, and instead of tucking him in, I grab his favorite blanket, wrap him up tight (just like he likes it), sit in the rocking chair, and rock my big boy to sleep.
At first I had to fake some of these nights together. My flesh would scream that this was MY time for a break. I selfishly only did this because it was what his body needed. I knew he would fall asleep more quickly if I just rocked him; however, over time, I have grown to cherish these moments with my little boy. It’s quiet, it’s calm—two words that I can’t typically use to describe our time together. He reaches up to rub my ears, and pretty soon I start to feel his breathing get heavy as the weight of his little body sinks into me. Sometimes I put him in bed at this point, but some nights I just keep rocking.
In this time-in of stillness, I hear God speaking to me: Do you feel how easily frustrated you get when he has a rough day? That’s how I feel when you try to do life, especially the busy seasons, on your own. Yet, do you feel how much you love him? I love you so much more. In that moment, there is healing. As much as I enjoy this close, intimate time with my son, I quickly realize that my Father craves this same relationship with me even more.