A Severe Mercy

There's an old book with that title. Reminds me of today.

I read my daughter her "letter" from this morning's post, explaining the our find and what we were doing to correct her. Then, I returned with a sippie cup of milk, cheerios, and an apple (in bed!), let her go to the restroom each hour. She napped the first hour.

When I returned, she held out her hands to me, hugged me, sorrowfully, and cried.

My melting heart...don't melt, don't melt, it's not time! (Not visibly anyway).

I said, "An hour has passed. Now you may play in your room if you wish."

"But, I'm bored!"

"There is much here. You may play if you wish. Let's go to the restroom, just in case." fortunately, she took full advantage of all her opportunities. Trained by "waiting" in school some by now, I guess.

"Okay." she said, obediently.


I had promised her a midmorning snack. White chocolate covered pretzels and apple juice. This time, in a small cup with a lid and lime green bendy straw. Found her sitting, slumped shoulders, on the side of her bed. No pants from overnight. Feet propped on a dim little sort of plastic bunny lamp she likes.

"Mom. This is hard punishment."

"Yes honey. Your dad and I feel it's time. You were not learning. It is hard. I will be back in an hour."

"But, there's nothing to do."

"You may play if you wish. But, remember to stay in your room. Do not call at me. I will be back in one hour."

Gently closing the door.

In the meantime, I had to explain all this to brothers...they'd never seen the like. We worked on brother's science project. Me somewhat distracted. Him, motivated, wanting so much to go to Grandma's (where Grandad, also cherished, happens to live).

So, big brother and little brother go to Grandmas. There's Goldilocks in the wrong fairy tail, banished to the castle.

Nope...nope, don't go there, Mom.

I went back up for the check, a few minutes late this time, sending them off. Not mentioning this whole drama to Grandparents...they'd probably have me hog tied, though it is the right thing to do.

I took her to the restroom. While there, she saw the notebook I'd written the letter in on the counter and before I got there, began re-reading it, slowly. Asking me questions about it. About whether Dad was involved. I told her his memory of one Dad doing it for two days to make a real strong impression. She said, "Thanks Mom, for telling him ONLY four hours!" I took credit. He never would have done two days. Still. She thinks if she doesn't learn it, she might get two days next time. Sometimes the threat of "worse" for a while is a good thing, unreal as it might be. I got the book from her and closed it. She saw pink. She said, "What is that book anyway?" Loves notebooks, just like Mom.

I said, "Well, I started writing in it a long time ago. I was going to put it in your stocking. I will read you a few right now if you want me to."

So, while she finished "business", I read to her..."Dear one, Today was your first day of school. I'm so proud of you..." and another day, "Today is the last day of your first week of school. So far, all 100s, 'Great!', 'Excellent!' Keep up the great work! I knew you could do it!" And so on. Small trials she overcame. Things about her I love. Little things. Things that make her who she is. Flowers cut out and placed there. Beads. Strips of colorful paper. PostIt notes. Love notes. Just for her.

I read two then and told her I'd come up and read the rest to her if she made her bed and tidied her room up for me. (Knowing she'd have a sleepover guest later she didn't know about just yet).

I heard her stomping around, running up a rampage to get that room clean. I was so excited to go sit with her in her pink room, all shades, on her soft comforter, and feel her sunshine return as love poured back into her. I was so glad God convicted me to start those books early this year when school started, and I needed a place to pray for them. To remember. To feel part of their days still, hating to let them go. I've written once or twice a month as I feel love for them, proud of them, find a scripture to pray for them. I sit in my favorite chair by the window and write them a one minute note. No big deal. A pleasure.

But today, a big deal.

I took the book up to her, covered up her legs, and we read. She red to me. I read to her. She read silently, laughing that each was signed, predictably, "Love, Mom".

Who else?

Every page, she'd flip it and say, "Let me guess....Love, Mom! Yup. I knew it."

For Christmas, guess what I'll have to do? Surprise! Other letters...from (I'll collect a few at Thanksgiving time for her to put in there. A book of those who love you.)

I let her choose what we had for lunch. Pizza Hut Buffet. She took a coloring book. Crayons. Though we didn't have to wait, she wanted to color with Mom in the booth. A tradition.

We colored by number. I asked them to put a cheese pizza on the buffet...twice, before they did....just for her. We ordered soft drinks in stead of water.

Now, she watches a movie with a girlfriend.

What surprises me about the whole day is the change in her whole demeanor. Broken. Humble. Collected. Calm. A new sense of control. Conduct. Respect. I expected a war...but we didn't make it a war. No discussion. No argument. No talking. Here is your punishment and how we will do this.

I hope all battles in her life for character are this precious to me, but I doubt they will be.

God has taught me much today about the graceful way to take what you had coming and learn. She is so graceful.

A treasured day.

Now...trying to want to cook dinner. Not happening! Hon, Mr. Meat and Potatoes, can we just eat cereal? I'm tired. Pizza's out of the question.


1 comment:

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I remember when I used to put my initials on everything. Unfortunately for me, it took a long time to outgrow. My friends used to write messages in my closet when I had a party or sleepover. By high school, it looked like one big message. My parents did not discover it until they switched rooms when I left for college. I guess that's the price they payed for making me wash and put away my own clothes! haha And then my final act of "grafiti" was on my senior trip. A group of 10 girls stayed at my parents condo at the beach. We all signed our names on the wall behind one of the beds to commemorate our freedom. No one ever found out about that one! I hope this facination is not hereditary!