“He’s going on too long,” I thought. “He’s acting like a brat. Squelch his sense of entitlement or you’re a bad parent, etc.”
Somehow, I paused. King Solomon says, “When the spirit of that ruler comes upon you, don’t leave your place.” I know what it feels like to react. I was fine not leaving my place.
“Why can’t I?” he complained.
“Neither Mommy or I want an animal in the house,” I said calmly.
I paused to look inward. Was there something that felt right?
“I’m not sure why,” I replied.
He paused a moment in the face of my non-reaction. Then he found a new line of entry.
“But Ta, you had animals when you were a kid. Why can’t I?”
He was right: I had had gerbils, dogs, fish. I was staying put.
“That’s true,” I said, “I did.”
“So why can’t I?” he asked.
I could feel his pain. And I was staying put.
“It seems to me I answered that question.”
I don’t remember what happened next. I’m just grateful I didn’t venture out into his storm. He must have moved on because I’m writing this blog right now and not still weathering his requests.
The Talmud says that there are three partners in the creation of a child: God, Mom, and Dad. My understanding is that it’s overwhelmingly God. My role is primarily to be a space for God to show up in ways that are helpful to my kids. When I’m not such a space, it’s best to wait. I have less respect and need for constant personal contribution as a parent.