I’ve asked Ruby to take a timeout in her room. Apparently, while I was gone for a mere 60 minutes, she managed to throw a huge fit regarding what type of lemonade to drink. She wanted to open the new bottle when there was an open bottle of blueberry lemonade in the fridge. Zac tried to point her in the right direction – the half-full carafe – but she insisted. He stood his ground. Result? Ruby threw a fit.
I figured we’d end up here. She was awake after 10:00 last night. We hit 98 degrees (not the boy band) in Shelton yesterday. Which means it cooled down to all of 80 degrees by our bedtime, around 10:00 p.m. After we’d retired, Ruby came in wanting to fill her cup with water. That’s how I know she was still up.
This morning went well. The afternoon, so-so. But eventually all good things like controlled behavior come to an end when you’re sleep-deprived. Some of us have TMI moments. Others throw things.
I sent her to her room to cool off. Or I should say, I tried. She apologized, to me and to Zac. She hugged Zac. She put her shoes and coat away, tidying up her contribution to the downstairs chaos.
“Mom, I’m really, really sorry,” she said, her big eyes sad.
“I know,” I said. “But you still haven’t done what I asked you to do.”
Eventually, she tromped up to her room. She came back down, five minutes later, lugging her green princess suitcase. It was stuffed to the gills. She was moving out.
“I hope you’re happy when I’m gone,” she said, frowning in my general direction. “You won’t have a daughter anymore.”
“I’ll miss you. I love you,” I said. I meant it, too. I even smiled at her.
“You don’t have to go.”
Ruby rolled her eyes.
Then she turned her head and rolled herself and suitcase out to the carport.
“I’m gonna live outside,” she informed us. And she was gone.
Times like this make me wonder about our decision to reproduce. Truly.
How many times have I acted the same way? Ruby and I aren’t so different. I want it my wa-a-a-y! And now, if you please. Ruby has a will of iron. But it needs to be tempered so others can stand to be around her. We’re a family here. We love each other and we look out for our own.
The Lord does the same with us. He’s called me on my bad attitudes and poor excuses. He’s made me face up to my selfish acts. He loves me, and boundaries for behavior are part of the package. We want the best for Ruby. We love her, too. Boundaries mean we care. This means a life lived without manipulating others or bombastic rage aimed at those we love. It means a life lived in the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5).
In the meantime, I need to grow up. Our kids need to see us modeling good behavior, guided by the Spirit, in order to know what it looks like and how to do it. So I’m praying for me right now, too. Ruby and I have an opportunity to grow together in godliness in this moment.