Paw Patrol is kinda a big deal in our house. And by kinda a big deal I mean I dream in puppy voices. Both boys love to watch the show any time they can and both of their grandmas loaded them up with Paw Patrol goodies at Christmas. Bez has one of the little trucks, but was missing the pup that went along with it. Every time we would go to a store he would ask if we could see if they had a Rubble he could take home with him. Every time Brandon pulled into the driveway he asked if daddy had brought Rubble to surprise him. Whenever we talked about one of his grandmas he asked if she was going to send him a Rubble (that probably would have been his best bet, but no luck). After weeks of listening to him ask we decided to surprise him with a little Rubble. I found it on Amazon for just a couple of dollars so we ordered it. I knew if he knew about it too early he would drive us nuts asking for it so when we knew it was just a day or two before it would be delivered, we told Bez that Rubble was on his way in the mail. This had a Christmas morning like effect on Bez. He was beyond excited and checked the mail constantly…first thing in the morning, Sunday after church, right before bed…until Rubble finally arrived. When UPS finally delivered the precious package, I was probably as excited as Bez because I knew how happy he would be to finally have it. I pulled the toy puppy out of the package and handed it over and what did I get? Tears. Not a little tear of joy running down his cheek. Nope…it was sobs…loud earth shaking sobs. When I could finally make out what Bez was saying to me and I realized this was not the Rubble he wanted. This Rubble was too small, his legs didn’t move, and he was not wearing a superhero mask (who knew that was even a thing???). I was disappointed that he was so disappointed, but also knew that I had to suck it up and try to teach him to be happy with what he gets, that the one he got was a special gift, and that getting mad would not change anything or convince me to give him what he wanted.
I have a serious love/hate relationship with teachable moments. I know I need to make the most of them, but sometimes it would just be so much more pleasant to give in, let things go, give the kid ice cream for lunch, order the right Rubble and move on with my day with the shred of sanity I have left. I have an even bigger problem with teachable moments when I am the student.
I could probably say that the entirety of last year was a teachable moment for me. I don’t want to ever say that I had a bad year, because God is too good for that. We faced tough stuff, had a lot going on that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves…but God never left us hanging…and we had more blessings than I can count. I will say that we had a lot of disappointments. A lot. Never in my life have I spent so many hours lying awake, unable to sleep. Never been more confused. We took big steps of faith and did things we believed God was leading us to do, only to reach a point where we were left wondering if we’d missed it. If we’d heard God at all. We were hurt…deeply hurt…in situations we had no control over. We lost a special family member, completely unexpectedly.
And then of course there’s the babies. It still takes my breath away when I think about it. I still stare at the empty space in my living room where the baby swing belongs. I still know exactly how big they’d be, still sit in the living room after tucking in the boys and wish I was rocking my baby…like I used to do with Benaiah after Bez went to sleep. I’ve never known a disappointment like burying a baby. I’ve never felt so deflated as when I realized no matter how much I asked my son wasn’t coming back.
I didn’t want to accept these disappointments. I didn’t want to move on. I wanted to kick and scream and throw the mother of all tantrums. This was not what I wanted. Not what I asked for. Not what I expected.
Bez’s disappointment the other day was real. He expected one thing and got something he didn’t want. He didn’t understand why I didn’t fix it right away. But did I give in and give him what he wanted? Nope. I hugged him, told him I was sorry he was sad, and when he was done pouting, I sent him to play with the Rubble he had gotten. He wasn’t thrilled that he hadn’t gotten his way, but the next day he was outside, pulling Rubble in the sled and talking to him while they explored the yard together. He was happy. Thankful for what he had. And he moved on.
I’m not thrilled I didn’t get my way. I still have a lot of unanswered questions. But I know that God is too good for me to sit around disappointed and defeated. Although I didn’t get what I wanted, I’m happy. I’m thankful for what I have. And when I stand and take a step forward, I’m filled with joy that I can’t explain and peace that can only come from Him.
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth” Psalm 34:1