This one I was going to hide. Ignore. Sweep under the rug. In fact, I was so intent on not sharing (admitting?) it, I didn’t even tell my mom or sister. Unheard of. That should’ve been my first clue.
I’m doing my first online Bible Study of the book Am I Messing Up My Kids? by Lysa TerKeurst. I have my morning quiet time, read a chapter, and study things like working on turning my emotions over to the Lord, praising God and making choices that honor Him. It sets a wonderful tone for my day and fills me with hope and affirmation for the mom I am now, and the one I hope to become.
So this time, I figured I’d just keep the incident to myself. You know, pray about it, journal about it, work through it myself.
Just keep it between me and God.
Monday we returned from our family vacation to Whistler. It’s a place we’ve all come to love, majestic in its beauty, a place where I powerfully—and without a doubt— feel the closeness of God. In the shimmering of the trembling aspens. The heights of the snow-capped mountains. The crisp clearness of the lakes. One of our favorite things to do is stand on the wooden bridge over the Fitzsimmons Creek, admiring the water below us. The strength of the current. The booming of the water. It’s more than a meandering creek, it’s a rushing river. My boys also love to throw rocks from the river beds. We wonder about how strong it is. What would happen if we fell in? Could we walk across? Would we even be able to stand? Would it carry us away to the ocean?
Yesterday started out pleasantly enough. My 11-year-old wanted to use a gift card and some of his birthday money to buy some more storage space for his Xbox 360. He was thinking about forty bucks. We drove to the video game store and, to our dismay, learned that a 250 mb refurbished hard drive was $99. We decided to contemplate our options and left. He started to weigh if it was worth that kind of money. Would he just wait til Christmas? How could he download the game he wanted to play with his friends? What to do? Over and over he pondered the questions, and then decided to delete everything on his hard drive to make room for this one game. He sat in the Xbox room, deleting games, as I googled Xbox storage.
And this is where I got swept up in the current of his crisis.
I am determined to find an answer. Solve. Fix. Figure out. Is there another way besides spending $99?
I call the store to find out about using a flash drive as storage. Yes, it can be done! We simply need to format it. It’s brilliant! We have one! Problem solved! I’ve done it.
It’s like I am being pulled along, unable to stop, flailing. I’ve lost my balance. I am swirling in this fierce river.
I reach down to look for the USB drive on the Xbox. I thought my son was still deleting games. No. He’s playing one. His favorite. I jar the box. The disc starts making a terrible sound. Spinning. Crunching almost.
My son ejects the disc, which is covered with scratch after scratch. Rings of them.
“You ruined my favorite game,” he cries. To make matters worse, his friend is there.
I am under water now. I can’t get my footing. I rush away downstream. Help….
I ask him to come into our bedroom.
I quietly try to explain that I was just trying to help. I am seething with anger.
It’s ruined. It’s ruined.
I grab the disc and, like a child throwing a temper tantrum who seems to say, “You want to see ruined?” I bend it in half and throw it across the room.
He collapses against the wall, crumples really, whimpering with tears.
He is on one side of the bed, I am on the other.
I am now on one side of the raging river, and he’s on the other.
The water is too deep. Too strong. Too powerful.
I can’t reach him.
I literally feel sick. What have I done?
He returns to his friend. I soon hear them laughing and having fun.
Not me. I’m still sickened.
I look in the mirror and finally—finally—I do pray.
It was one of my lowest-feeling points as a mom.
Which, I realize, is exactly the reason I can’t hide it, just letting it wash away downstream.
As I’m learning through this study, it is through the sharing and talking about—through community—that the ugly loses its hold.
Because just like that river that can pull you under and whisk you away, that’s not what I remember it for.
I remember it for it’s awe-inspiring beauty as we admire and enjoy it as a family.