It was an idyllic afternoon, mid sixties, sunny, leaves falling around our feet. We stood there at the park, Kel and I, watching the kids tunnel through the recesses of the playground.
Nothing could be sweeter, and then? Our two year old son smacked his sister in the face, hard.
We delegated who would comfort and who would discipline, I drew the short straw and hauled him to the van to take a time-out in his car seat miss out on the rest of park time.
Flash forward to later, after a nice family dinner, when it happened again: They got into a heated moment and he smacked her in the face.
He’s a two year old boy in every sense of the word, alive, energetic and ready to fight the universe… whether he agrees with it or not.
Whatever you say, he says the other thing.
Anytime you smother kiss on his cheeks, he wipes them off.
If you serve oatmeal, he wants eggs.
When his sister says “yes yay!” he says “nope, no!”
He’s a walking, talking, two-year-old cliché.
It happens in more years than just our second…. it happens in marriage, at work, at the grocery store.
So what does one do when caught in “that stage?” In the land of endless battles and “no!?”
You love anyway, even and especially when you don’t want to.
Because we all get love when we don’t deserve it, and that’s probably when we need it most. Seasons arise in our hearts where we play the role of Hosea’s wife and do unlovable things just to see if everyone leaves.
It’s our inner two year old.
So tonight after “no” number 174 and face smack number 2, when we were tucking Caedmon in for the punishment of an early bedtime, we didn’t chastise him or run him down.
There was correction, there was explanation of consequences… but mostly? We told him how much we loved him anyway.
All three of us gathered around his tiny bed, kissed his angry face and told him: “Hey, we love you even though you hit and hurt… we’re not going anywhere… but you need to call it a night, let’s do another day tomorrow.
So here’s a story and a song and a thousand kisses, here’s grace and love and another reminder from the God who does it best that there’s nothing you can do to make us love you less.