I yelled at my oldest son during our Bible reading today because he wasn’t paying attention–again.  It had been building, my frustration at his vacancy, and it finally bubbled over into a scalding lecture on listening and respect and responsibility.  My words multiplied, crowding each other over the sharp cliff of my anger.  Lemmings, all of them, dead on arrival.

My son’s face grew cloudy, then distant.  I was losing it during Bible time.  The irony was not lost on me.

After the fracas was over (and, so help me, I was more than a little right. He doesn’t pay attention half the time), we hugged each other.  My temper had cooled and things had gotten clearer:  He doesn’t listen and I take it personally.  I think about my life and I wonder if I’m doing a good enough job with these kids.  Are they learning what they need to learn?  Are they growing in character?  Will they like me when when they’re grown?

Will I like them?

My son threw his arm around my shoulders.  He’s already taller than I am and he likes to prove it on occasion.

“I love you, Mom,” he said, his voice high, then popping low.

“I love you, too, babe.  You’re gonna kill me, but I love you.”

And just like that things were OK again, at least until next time.

In the meantime I’m asking God to help me stop yelling at my kids when they act like middle schoolers–and I’m asking him to help my son become a better listener (I’m helping God a bit by threatening to take away the XBox if I don’t see improvement).

Parenting isn’t for cowards.  And homeschooling?  Sheesh.  So while I have lots of things to be thankful for this season, the one that stands out the most is grace.  I’m thankful for grace.  For hundreds of do-overs.  And for sons who throw their lanky arms over my shoulders and say I love you.

Happy Thanksgiving.