Sunday, May 29, 2011
May 29, 2011 ~ Day 170
Looking For Rainbows
My husband and I were hugging in the kitchen when plaintive, shrill screaming floated through the side-door. Then there was the sound of our eldest son's voice: "Are you okay? You're OK… You're OK..."
"Oh dear…" my husband sighed, as I broke away from his embrace to go see what had happened.
Within three steps I'd made it to the back porch, gut clenched in anticipation of what I might see. Had one of the younger children fallen off of a bicycle? Had they tripped off of one of our concrete steps? Did they find some sort of metal tool in the garage? My mind raced with possibilities.
This is what I actually saw when I popped my head out the side door:
Our younger son laying on the concrete driveway sobbing, trying to cover his head with his hands. His older brother towering over him boxing him in the ears, knocking his head from side to side on the concrete, while mocking him:
"Are you okay?" (HIT)
"You're OK!" (HIT)
"You're OK!" (HIT)
I cannot adequately describe the fury in my heart as I realized that one of our sons was tormenting the other while mocking his tears. A voice came from somewhere inside the most primal part of my being and suddenly we all heard me yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at the top of my lungs.
Shocked, my elder son looked up at me and froze guiltily. He knew that he'd been caught. The little one continued cowering and sobbing on the ground.
"YOU DO NOT TREAT YOUR BROTHER LIKE THAT. GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW!"
The elder son burst into tears and scampered into the house.
"What's going on?" my husband came out of the kitchen.
"Our son was pounding his little brother's skull into the concrete sidewalk is what is going on!"
"I'm sure they were just rough housing."
"No, I was here. I saw it with my own eyes. That was not mutual, and it was not rough housing. Can you go talk to him while I take care of this little guy?"
My husband stalled, a little annoyed. He would probably have preferred to go back to hugging in the kitchen.
"I was just out here a few minutes ago. The boys were messing around with the car seat. They were probably just playing."
"Look, this was not a game. I'm telling you what I saw."
"Well, I didn't see it… so why don't you take care of the discipline, since I don't really know what happened."
* * * * *
Twenty minutes later, things had essentially calmed down. Our younger son was more shaken than hurt, though he ended up with several scrapes along his cheek bone and the side of his face. "My brother was trying to break my head!" he announced cheerily.
The elder brother became hysterical when I told him that he'd lost the privilege of playing hide-and-go-seek with his daddy, but through his tears he was able to convey that he was very hungry. After consulting with their father it turned out that our sons had eaten only a few bites of lunch while visiting their grandparents with daddy, enjoyed a massive amount of sugar and not napped… setting them up for a perfect trifecta of hysteria.
This explained to some degree why after a relatively peaceful and happy month around our house, we'd ended up with an unexpectedly violent altercation. Hungry and tired, they'd fallen into their long held roles as aggressor and victim.
"You have taken away from the peace of our home today," I solemnly admonished my eldest boy, "and made your own brother feel unsafe in your presence. Your job is going to be to figure out how to contribute positively to the feeling of love and happiness in this house and to make your brother believe that he can trust you again."
I brought him some food and left him to brainstorm about ways in which he could give back to our family and make his brother feel safe.
Since it was still technically my personal day and their father was in charge, I went down to the coast for a while to decompress by the ocean. Distraught, I tried to figure out how to apply the Law of Attraction to this situation.
I thought about what Esther Hicks and Abraham say about drawing in what you focus on. "As hard as it is for me to think positive things right now, that is exactly what I need to do!" I realized.
"I'm always grumbling about how frustrated I am with these situations - so maybe I need to let go of this situation and try to recall a moment when our elder boy was taking good care of his little brother. I need to focus on that."
Digging deep, I scavenged my memory for the last time I saw our five year old do something truly sweet for the three year old.
Suddenly, I remembered. One week ago on Sunday, our smaller son announced that he would no longer use the training wheels on his bicycle and he wanted his father to take them off. "I'll practice until I can ride by myself!" He was very determined.
Unfortunately, once the training wheels were off it was very hard for him to stay balanced long enough to get the bike going. "I need a push!" he called out. "Can someone give me a push?"
My husband pushed him for a little while and showed him how to pedal once he had momentum. This only lasted about fifteen minutes though before he had to leave the yard, at which point the three year old was stuck again. "I need momentum!" he cried. "Can somebody PLEASE give me another push?"
"I'll do it!" his big brother said. "I'll push you!"
For a full hour the five year old coached the three year old on biking. He gave him innumerable pushes, told him "Good job!" when he got the bike going, and "It's okay, let's try again!" every time he fell off. My husband spied on them for a little while and then reported back to the kitchen where I was making dinner.
"Honey, it's so cool," he whispered, lest he break this unusual spell of kindness. "Our son is totally helping his little brother learn how to ride a bike. I'm so proud of him!"
"YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!" we heard at that moment. "YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" A minute both boys had rushed into the kitchen where we stood talking.
"Mom!!! He did it!!!"
"Mommy!!! I did it! I rode my bike with no training wheels!!!"
"WOW!!!" my husband and I exclaimed in unison. "We are SO proud of you both!!!"
* * * * *
Sitting on the cliffs this afternoon I took a few deep breaths and focused on this recent positive memory of my sons being sweet with each other. I let that be the only image in my head and heart, and abandoned all of my feelings of frustration and anger over the scene I had witnessed earlier.
When I felt ready, I returned to our house. Noticing that the front lawn looked a bit dry, I went around back to find the watering hose and instead found my sons playing peacefully together, building a ramp.
"I want you to know," I said, "That I calmed myself down today by thinking hard about the times when the two of you have been very good to each other, and especially the times when YOU (looking at the big brother) have been very kind to HIM (looking at the little brother)."
My eldest boy nodded and gave a half smile.
"Okay. I think we should all move on now from what happened… and do something fun. Does anyone want to help mommy water the front lawn?"
"YES!!!!!" they both shouted and came with me to the front of the house. For an hour we played in the water, took turns with the hose, and worked to make our garden a little bit nicer.
My boys discovered that they could actually see rainbows in the arcs of water they sprayed onto our grass, and they gleefully made up stories together about leprechauns living on the other side of the mist.
It was a smooth and easy interaction that I would not have anticipated just two hours earlier. Everyone got soaking wet and we had a lot of fun. My sons were extremely thoughtful to each other for the rest of the evening, even when they grew very tired.
All had been forgiven.
The Law of Attraction is teaching me how to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones… and to train my focus on positive interactions and love within my family rather than fixating on the bad times. I have a long way yet to come before this kind of response is second nature to me… but I can say that it felt better to wrap my brain and heart around the good rather than the ugly.
I believe that my children responded differently to me (and to each other) after I refocused my energy on a positive memory than they would normally have done had I chosen to carry around the burden of their argument for the rest of the day.