Micah has had separation anxiety from Matt and I off and on since he was about nine or ten months old. It's ranged from the mild (he's over it in five minutes) to the severe (he just simply won't stop crying until we come get him). Matt and I are big softies and we've never been able to just let him cry it out the entire time. I'm mostly referring to when we leave him in nursery for church or with babysitters at my Bible study.
My study has actually been one particular place that Micah rarely ever gets upset to go to. He seems to love it, which is always a huge relief for me. (See also: crying often results in I-can't-think-about-anything-else-until-he-stops and so it must stop.) But this one particular week a couple of months ago I dropped him off thinking all was well...and he had a complete melt-down. Complete. Melt-down. I was totally confused and thrown off and quite frankly, had no idea what to do.
There were other moms dropping off their kids and I was trying to get the situation resolved quickly. (Also see also: this was not working.)
So, thinking fast, I said, Micah, do you want to come with Mommy and get a treat and then you can eat it in here with your friends? I was thinking Distraction Was the Key. Obviously, he stopped crying quickly, we went and got the treat, and headed back to eat it with his friends. Because that's what we had agreed upon. Except that he forgot that he had signed on that dotted line. Because we were not even back to the nursery yet and he was crying.
As most of you can probably guess, the second time trying to drop him off was exponentially worse than the first time. Why didn't I foresee that? How could I not have known?
I was acting on what I knew to be best at that time. I didn't have prior experience to draw from. I didn't read that chapter in the book. My best thought at that time was that a distraction would probably work and since he loves treats so much it would probably make him forget that I was leaving. But I was wrong. Obviously. And I'm sure the other moms standing around could have easily told me that. And if it were me four years from now, three years ago, I would have probably judged her in my Inside Voice.
Not too long ago I saw a mom with her kids and her toddler had a bottle with kool-aid in it. First thoughts: judgment. Second thoughts: more judgment. It actually didn't hit me until today that that's exactly what I was doing. I didn't see a person. Another mama. Beautiful kids. I saw an unhealthy choice and I threw the baby out with the bathwater.
Can I tell you the most refreshing people for me to be around? They're those who don't feel the need to be Correcty Correcterson. I can make a bad decision and not fear their judgment. I can choose differently than they would and not fear that I'll somehow hear about how they're right and "other people" who choose differently are wrong (passive aggressive language results in inner combustible flames in my cerebrum). Yes, there's a place for speaking the truth. In love. Lovingly.
Not in self-righteousness. Not in pride. Not in judgmentalism. I remember Beth Moore saying one time that if anything in us gets the slightest happiness or self-satisfaction in calling a certain person out, then we are probably not the person to call that person out. Unless we can do it humbly and gently and lovingly, then there is probably somebody better. (That's my paraphrase.)
So, just some thoughts I've had swirling around as Matt and I pursue authentic friendships with others. How about you? Who are some of your favorite types of people to be around?
And...just because I can.