I’m not a screamer, never have been. After growing up in a home of constant yelling, I vowed that I would not be that wife or mom.
But on rare occasions that vow hits an expiration date and this Jesus loving, pastor’s wife, overtime mom – YELLS! Yep, that’s right. Now you know (sorry to disappoint all those who tell me I’m the most patient person in the world).
Jon wanted to ride along to my chiropractor appointment yesterday afternoon. He patiently waited for me in the car and then we headed to one of his favorite hangouts – McD’s and the golden arches.
We ordered and settled in a booth at the back of the dining room. For a long while I preoccupied myself with my laptop, doing some reading and working on some writing, until I started feeling sleepy and decided to check the time.
If you’re a habitual reader of my adventures with Jon, you know that he is an extremely slow (among other things) eater. I’m not talking about regular slow or even irregular slow but the kind of slow that can get you top honors in the Guinness World Book of Records.
I couldn’t believe it, it was midnight! We’d been there for six hours. No wonder my eyes were shutting.
“Jon,” I said, “we need to leave now. We’ve been here too long and I’m falling asleep. I’ll throw away the trash. Please get your things together, and let’s get out of here.”
Unfortunately, Jon wanted to stay. The next twenty minutes consisted of various forms of me insisting and him resisting.
He wouldn’t get up at first. When he finally did, he tried bolting to the front of the building but I blocked him. With a half full cup of caramel latte in one hand and a partially eaten burger in the other, he went out the side door and started down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of where the car was parked.
I went after him and eventually herded him to the car, opened the door and very firmly instructed him to get in.
At this point, I so wanted to be home and Jon was feeling cornered and angry.
He bent over the seat and slammed his caramel latte into the center console cup holder so hard it exploded like a volcano all over the inside of the car. Sticky brown liquid dripped from the dash, down the side of the console onto the floor, ran inside the crevices of the console and splattered all over both front seats.
It was right there that I lost it. I exploded, just like that drink.
I put my hand on Jon’s shoulder, pushed him into the car and slammed the door.
Then he listened to hot lava erupt from my mouth most of the way home.
Today, the emotion of that moment has faded and I’m aware of my inappropriate reaction. I have apologized to him.
Jon doesn’t possess the ability to realize how his actions affect those around him so he won’t apologize in return. He never does.
Down syndrome limits some of his cognitive ability and autism doesn’t allow him to see past himself and into another’s heart. I know there will be no words or hugs from my son.
But none of that matters. I apologized to him because that is how relationships work, because I love him, and regardless of how frustrating his behaviors can be, because it’s the right thing to do.
God doesn’t ask perfect people to do His work of loving others, only willing hearts are needed. I have learned to quickly forgive and ask for forgiveness (whether it is granted or not) and move on.
Jon may push my buttons once in a while, but more importantly, I know how to push the Mercy reset button every morning, because God’s unending mercies, faithfulness and love are what Jon and I count on to bring us through another day of our unusual life together.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”