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     Lord, help me not to punch my son.
   
     It's been a long, long couple of weeks. We survived numerous Christmas parties, breakfast with Santa, a trip to Michigan, a Christmas pageant, two birthday parties for the now 7-year-old (complete with little girl sleep-over), a teething and not sleeping baby, a potty-training toddler, and a sinus infection/bronchitis/pneumonia mix. We made the cookies, we sang the carols, we bought the batteries for the toys. We did it all....
     We did it all and I didn't punch him, not even once. And this is how I know the grace of God is a real and functioning part of my faith, because without it, there would've been swinging and literal gnashing of teeth. So, this is my new prayer. I've decided that I have succeeded in my job as a mother as long as I can make it through the day without socking him directly in the nose. Feeding them, bathing them, tutoring them... these things all fall by the wayside in the light of simply not wailing on them from sun-up to sun-down. And you know, it really takes the pressure off when you only have one goal to focus on!
     When he was caught in a lie this week: "Mom, YOU'RE the liar, not me! You're going to the devil and I don't even care! So is Dad!"

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he told his aunt that he didn't like the gift she gave him and that he wanted money instead, then proceeded to look at my beautiful meal and say that I made all gross food....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he tore his room apart and threw all of his brand new toys into the wall because he got grounded for acting like a complete moron all week....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he almost tore his closet door off and spent 15 minutes blaming ME for losing his swim towel....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he magically lost the ability to read so that I would be forced to do his math homework for him and I called him out on it.... and he proceeded to stick his tongue out and make rude gestures behind my back even though I could see his reflection in the kitchen window the entire time.... and he lied about doing these ridiculous things and then blamed his sister for them.....

     Lord, help me not to shove my foot so far up my son's backside that it comes out of his lying little throat.......!

     I know.... my son has problems. He has diagnoses and takes medication and needs a great deal of understanding. But then again, the same could be said about Pol Pot or Hitler, and I'm betting that their mothers wanted to punch them, too. Along with a large number of other people they encountered.... and, honestly, there are some people that just need a good knock in the head to set them straight. Maybe there would've been less genocide going on if more people would've just punched these crazed tyrants when they were acting like snot-nosed-imbeciles. Now I'm not going to go as far as to say that my son will turn into a ruthless dictator if he's not set straight, but it's just a chance I'm not willing to take.
     Therefore, my prayer is that the Lord help me not to punch my son.... but if someone else were to punch him, say, a sister or a ticked off classmate, I wouldn't exactly hate them for giving him a taste of his own medicine. Especially since every consequence I've given him in the last few weeks has been met with a nasty "I don't care" or "So what?".  I don't care?? So what??? These may just be the lines I feed back to him when he comes to me crying about a black eye that he received on the school bus....
     Except you and I both know I can't really say that (can I?). I'll have to come up with something wise and motherly and mature.... something that points him in the right direction with just the perfect amount of compassion and I-told-you-so-edness. I have to make myself do the Christian thing and pray for him and all his nastiness.... God knows I've had my own share of it that I've dealt out in my own life at times. And I bet there were people (or parents) that wanted to punch me at times, too. I'm feeling rather grateful that they didn't.
     And so tomorrow I will pray my prayer again. And I will purchase a heavy bag to hang in the basement. And I will hit the bag many times every day. And I will remind myself that my son is not a jerk. And I might believe it sometimes, too. And it will be okay. Everything will eventually be okay.

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