It was 2 a.m.
2 a.m. in a night that had already been long.
The almost-three-year-old had been in bed with me since 11 p.m. Tossing and turning one minute...kicking and hitting the next...sleeping fitfully in between.
At 2 a.m. he awoke again, this time in a rage. He didn't want to be comforted. He began hitting and kicking. He wouldn't stop. There was no comforting him...not talking him out of it. So, I removed myself from this situation by putting him in his room.
As I walked back across the hall I heard things beginning to be thrown. Thankfully they were soft things...pillows, blankets, stuffed animals. He cleared his bed.
Once cleared he moved on to the toys. A football went flying. (Thank you Nerf for being soft enough not to damage) Again I heard his hands among the toys until he secured his next weapon. In the darkness I saw the outline of my sweet baby boy. He stepped out of his room...he was in the hall...he was coming toward me...his arm reached back and I knew what was about to happen. Whatever he had in his hand was being thrown at me. I was ready to dodge. Thankfully it was only a small plastic ball not a large metal truck.
It was 2 a.m. I was calm...amazingly even in my sleepiness none of this riled me up...it just hurt my heart.
I wasn't sure what else to do...he didn't want to be calmed by me.
So, I picked him up, reminding him sternly that throwing things at people was not allowed, and carried him to his sick daddy who was sleeping in the other room trying to keep his germs contained. Feeling bad about awaking my sick husband, still I did it. "Honey, I'm sorry, but I don't know what to do with him. You're going to have to take him."
With that I returned to my bed, knowing the little one would be cared for, hoping for sleep.
But sleep didn't come easily. Rather than being able to just relax and rest, I couldn't help but think of him...wonder.
He hasn't been feeling well...does he need to go the doctor?
Sometimes I'm exactly what he needs to be comforted, sometimes it just doesn't happen...how do I know which time is which?
His brother went through a really difficult phase right when he turned three...is that what's going on now?
I love him, I'm not mad, I just don't know what he needs...does he know that I love him? does he feel abandoned? does he know what he needs?
As I continued to hope for sleep my last thoughts lay not with my child but with God. How does God do it? So often we are like a three-year-old. So often we are pushing away that which we need most. So often we are challenging the love that just wants to embrace us, to calm us. So often we demand separation when what we need to closeness. And yet God's love is unfailing...it continues...always.
And so does mine. That little child cannot hit or kick or cry or scream or throw fits or throw trucks enough to get me stop loving him. It's not possible. I learned that from God.
And at 7 a.m. when he awoke, it was with a smile and a hug. A little boy wanting a little love from his mommy. A mommy glad to give it.