September 12, 2005

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

You know, parenthood is a very curious experience.

Last week was the beginning of school for the Llama-ettes and in all the excitement and anticipation, they had been acting rather more wayward than normal. This resulted in a fair amount of Dad Losing His Temper, with all the traditional accompanying words and gestures.

I was brooding about this Sunday morning, as I don't especially like falling into this trap. While I have no qualms whatsoever about trying to run a tight ship, I recognize my inability to keep my temper in check sometimes in doing so as a personal weakness. Thus, the Psalm we read at Church jumped right out at me. I pass it on for what it's worth:

PSALM 103:8-13

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger and of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us,
nor will he keep his anger for ever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.

As a father cares for his children,
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.

It always gives me the shivers when Providence reaches out and taps me on the shoulder like that.

But some Divine carrot went with that stick as well. Yesterday was Homecoming Sunday at our Church. It's the kick off of the Church year, the traditional day for people to sign up for various activities and committees and, truth be told, a kind of general amnesty for everybody who has spent the summer shirking attendance. We celebrate it by having a big parish picnic out on the grounds after the services. (As I am on the Parish Life Committee, this was my first big project of the year.)

As far as the Llama-ettes are concerned, the alpha and omega of the day was the moonbounce. Indeed, it was practically all they could talk about for a couple of days ahead of time and as soon as we got out in the grounds they made a beeline for it.

A little while later, as I was chatting with somebody, I spotted the seven year old coming toward me with her Nats hat pulled well down over her eyes. When she got to me, I saw that her right eye was swollen shut - it turned out that she had stopped a fist with it while bouncing about.

Now, of course, these things happen. But what I couldn't get over was how calm she was about it. Normally, I would have expected her to be having hysterics, especially as she had been on a Brownie sleepover the night before and was quite tired. This tendency of hers to go ballistic has been the chief behavioral problem the Missus and I have faced with her over the years, and indeed, is one of the primary causes of my own short temper. But no, she held herself together. And even better: it turned out that the punch had been quite the accident. (I know the boy who did it - he's extremely big and strong for his age and doesn't always realize it.) Apparently, the boy immediately apologized. And my girl shook hands with him and said, "That's okay."

This is great. This is good. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your child take that next step on the path to maturity. I'm sure we'll have plenty more temper tantrums and there will be days when it seems she's actually slipping backwards, but episodes like this are what give us the energy to keep at it. I couldn't have been more proud of the way the gel handled herself.

Incidently, as we went off to find some ice, I explained that she might wind up with a black eye from the punch. At first, she was rather apprehensive at the prospect of a bruise. Later on, when it became clear that she wasn't going to get one, she was rather disappointed.

Posted by Robert at September 12, 2005 09:34 AM | TrackBack