Momo is kind of like an octopus. He has just two arms, but I promise it somehow multiplies into eight. Eight very curious little tentacles that blindly grab at any object he spies from the corner of his eyes. I don’t so much mind dealing with eight curious tentacles. But since he’s big brother, Tigerlily naturally follows suit and wants the exact same thing. The exact same thing. And so, with every item that each of those eight tentacles grabs, another fight begins to brew.
The worst is when he finds stickers. I am still foolish enough to leave stickers sitting around. Then there are also those post-it notes I leave everywhere, which I still rely on as my second brain. Post-it note to self: I need to find another means of organization.
Once his little tentacles gets a hold of these lovely items, it becomes his mission to peel them all off and stick them somewhere. Ofcourse. Because that’s what sticky things are for. It’s also one of the few things the kids share really well with each other. They join with unified purpose in this mission to stick them everywhere.
It’s my own fault really. You would think 3 years of motherhood would have taught me, by now, not to leave sticky things around. Especially sticky things as attractive as colorful stickers.
And you would think motherhood would have also taught me, by now, not to leave behind my stickers around. My stickers… the nice and pretty ones I have for making cards or scrapbooking. I don’t do that kind of stuff much these days, but once in a while, I pull them out and sort of dream. Then I somehow forget to put them away, probably because I am still dreaming that I can go back to my artsy crafty days.
Well, Momo recently found some of these nice stickers and went to town. It only takes just a few seconds to make great progress. I was reading something on my computer at the time, but instinctively glanced over my shoulders when it was suddenly a few decibels more quiet.
Seeing my stickers in his hands, I swiftly swooped down and snatched them away. I don’t even remember what I said, but whatever it was, I know I said it with harshness and a mean irritated heart. He looked up with eyes wide and surprised. Silence hung between us for a little over a second. And then the quiver of his lower lip, trembling with hurt. Eyes turned downward. Then the tears. One by one, they spilled over his lashes and trailed down his flushed cheeks.
Over some stupid stickers.
I don’t use the word “stupid” in our household, but in this case, this was really stupid. Stupid of me.
Not because it’s okay for him to mess with my stuff. And not because I hesitate to reprimand when deserved. I don’t fret about hurt feelings when discipline is in order.
But over stickers? Stickers that were bought on sale, no less. That’s just stupid.
I threw aside the stickers and scooped Momo into my lap. He’s getting big, but he still fits just right. I’m so happy he still loves curling up onto my lap.
Wiping away the tears, I apologized and told him with more passion than necessary when talking to a 3 yr old, “You are more important to me than a bunch of stupid stickers.”
Do you know that, Momo? Do you know that, Tigerlily? You are precious to me. I simply don’t say this enough.
Because no matter how much I love wholeheartedly and sincerely, it’s so easy to let a stupid sheet of stickers (or any other nonsense fill-in-the-blank thing that comes up about a million times in a typical day) to justify harshness without virtue or purpose. It takes time and layers of quiet loving to build up the heart, but harsh words slash through it all within a matter of seconds and leave a gash that stings right to the core.
Some kinds of hurt have benefit. But this doesn’t.