There’s been a lot of stories about parenting in the news lately.
My Facebook feed has been a virtual explosion on some gorilla and a disobedient kid, and an inattentive mom. I really don’t know much about it…
Said no one.
And then I pulled up my computer screen to see a news story about a couple in Japan who apparently punished their child by putting him out of the car in a forest for throwing rocks at cars.
A 7 year old boy.
In the mountains of Japan.
They couldn’t find him for SIX days.
I would be out of my ever loving mind if that happened to us.
I saw that news article and my eyes went wide and my jaw dropped as my breath caught in my chest. My mind went immediately to the time when we were on our way to church.
Because that’s when all matters of psychosis hit our family…on our way to church.
“I hate you! I wish you were never my brother!”
“Would you all just get in the car!! Where are your shoes?! Why is it so hard for you to have shoes on your feet?!”
“But it’s myyyyyyy turn to sit up front!!”
“GET IN THE CAR WE ARE LATE FOR CHURCH!!!!”
One night we were all packed in the car. Jason had to stop at JC Penney for something.
Reagan was in the very back of the car doing what he does best.
Aggravating his siblings. Flip the ear.
Poke the back of the head.
Pull taught the seatbelt.
Throw goldfish crackers.
I love this child so much. I mean, so much.
But of all my children he can take me from euphoria to absolute fool crazy within milliseconds.
I’d had it.
“Get out of the car Reagan.”
“But it’s dark outside.”
“I don’t care. If you can’t manage sitting in the car like a normal human for 10 minutes then you are going to walk to church. I want you to go straight to the sidewalk in front of Penney’s and walk to church.”
I even go around back to help him out of the car. ‘I’m nailing this parenting thing’
Seconds later Jason appears as I guide the tailgate down.
“What are you doing?”
“I told Reagan to walk over to the sidewalk that he was going to walk to church”
You did what?!
It’s okay. We’ll go pick him up. I just wanted to scare him a bit.
He marches to the drivers seat mumbling something. I see he’s not on board with my parenting tactic. So I’m guilt-ed into going and looking for Reagan. I go up to the sidewalk.
I swiftly walk back to the car and tell Jason he’s not there.
I’ll find him! I yell back.
I’m getting frantic.
The parking lot is buzzing, it’s super dark out and he is no where.
I’m running all over the parking lot and then I start to hear: “Are you looking for a little boy?”
He went running through the parking lot!
Are you looking for a kid?
I nod my head and hear, “He went that way!” Pointing toward Winchester Avenue.
I run up the embankment and I’m praying my guts out.
There’s a woman at Auto Zone and she literally yells across the busy highway, “ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A BOY?!”
HE WENT THAT WAY! Pointing down Winchester Avenue
I’m running and praying. God please don’t let him make it to the bridge. He has a dark coat on. It’s pitch black out. People coming off the bridge will NOT be looking for an 8 year old crossing the road. I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I didn’t think he’d take off and run! I should’ve known that his adventurous heart would take this punishment as permission to do something cool.
I pass the liquor store and by now I’m yelling his name against the traffic whizzing by.
A lady pulls out of the drive through and says, “Ma’am I saw a little boy run by a few minutes ago.”
“Ohmygosh! Will you help me find him?” I’m desperate. I don’t care that you are pulling out of a liquor store. Please. Help. Me.
I jump in her Suburban before she has time to tell me no.
We find him coming back to us in front of Holy Family.
Dear God he was so close to the bridge.
My desire to hug and hold him outweighed my desire to punch him in the face. And my desire to take whatever liquor my new friend had just bought…I thanked her for helping me and we went on our way back to find Jason.
No one spoke on the way to church. Well, that is until we got to church and Reagan blurted out that his mom had kicked him out of the car and he’d walked to church to the entire children’s church and youth group.
I tell you that encounter because it’s super evident that I could be gorilla mom.
I’ve been distracted before.
I’ve taken my eyes off what really matters for seconds and something undesirable has happened.
I don’t know the full complete story of the gorilla incident. But I do know that it has sparked a wildfire of Judgy McJudgerson’s out there who apparently have never done anything wrong EVER when it comes to their kids. And I don’t really even care what you think about the gorilla incident.
Can we all offer up a little grace?
Parenting is HARD.
And I am positive that I am going to screw up more.
Crap. This entire day has felt like a giant screw up.
And here’s a news flash: You’re not perfect.
And if you think you are, you’re not and you’re a liar too.
Most days it is all I cling to.
Reagan’s adventure could have gone horribly horribly wrong.
Middle School Librarian out on bond for child endangerment and neglect.
I’m so thankful that wasn’t the headline of the Ashland Daily Independent.
Instead it reads, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love…Psalms 90:14”
And tomorrow, we will try again.