My kids fight.
It’s hard to admit that out loud, but I said it. They fight, and argue, and use mean words, and hit, and shove, and yell at each other. It’s not pretty. And it makes me so frustrated.
When the boys go out to play basketball, inevitably, one of them quits. Or one of them cheats. Or one of them decides to change the rules mid-game. And then, one of them comes in crying.
In the morning before school, brother insults sister. And sister hurls one back. The bickering lasts until the moment someone announces, “Bus!’ and they rush out the door. I’m left hoping the argument doesn’t follow them down the driveway, up the steps, and into those brown, faux-leather seats.
The littlest isn’t to be left out. He’s only one, but he’s already learned the art of the sibling squabble.
When big sister gets in his face, he squeals loudly enough for her ears to hurt. Then he pulls back his little hand with plump fingers, ready to swipe at her. She forgets just how small he is and shoves him away. Before I know it, they’re both crying.
My kids can make each other so stinking mad. They know exactly which buttons to push. They know the words that will likely hurt the most. They know the “move” they can do to inflict the most pain.
And after a particularly rough day when they’re all tucked in their separate beds, I lie down in my own and wonder where we went wrong. I wonder why God chose me to be their mom when I can’t even seem to teach them to like each other. I replay the day and count the number of times I disciplined them, told them to be kind, to stay away from each other, not to repay wrong with wrong, and for heaven’s sake, just get along. On those long, exhausting, less than pleasant days, I only see the rough moments.
My vision is laser-focused on the failures. They’re so consuming I forget about the moments that were equally wonderful.
I forget about the time little brother did big brother’s chore for him just to be nice. I forget about how big sister waited excitedly to burst into baby brother’s room so she could be the first to tell him good morning. I forget about the oldest reading to the middle and the way he listened to her and said thanks as she handed his book back to him. Or the way the three oldest sat together on the couch, reading jokes online and making each other laugh until they cried.
Yes, my kids fight. And all too often, those moments overwhelm me.
And I forget they were made for each other. Not just made to be my son or my daughter. But they were uniquely and purposefully created to be a brother or a sister, to be the youngest or oldest or the in-betweenest, to be a part of our family.
God knew all about their buttons and how they would push them again and again. And He knew all about their hearts and how they would need each other again and again.
And so, if your kids fight, I hope you know you’re not alone. Please don’t crawl under your covers at night ashamed of the arguments, fights, and all-out brawls from the day that’s finally come to an end.
Instead, climb out from under your covers and walk through their rooms. In the soft glow of the nightlight, look over their sleeping faces. Soak in the silence of a quiet house. As the fights and insults of the day replay in your mind, take a minute to match each of those feelings of failure with moments of sweetness. I think you’ll find them if you look long enough.
And then return to your bed, tired mama. Rest in the peace of knowing God designed your family and each of your children. And get some rest. Because tomorrow’s a new day. And the fight will begin again—the fight for perspective in a house full of little people trying to figure out how to love each other.