Well, we took on a big job today - two kids, four wisdom teeth apiece removed. They were real troopers. L did tear up a bit afterwards - heightened emotionalism from the anesthesia. R was a regular chatterbox, rather like a drunken magpie. I just love my kids under the effects of laughing gas.
A is the one most affected by all of this, however. She has ever been my weak-stomached child. As the attendant was going over post-op care, she pulled on my arm, whispering to me, "I have to go." I directed her to the girls' room visible from where we sat. "No, I just have to go." I gave her permission to leave us and get a bit of distance while hanging out in the outer hallways, breathing air void of words like blood clots or a hint of deeper red on her sister's lips.
Once home I got everyone settled in, giving my unusually talkative son some visiting time, moving my unusually quiet daughter (who still characteristically craves companionship) into her brother's room so as to be near others, and positioned A with some science work in the lazy boy where she could keep an eye on our invalids. I was going to make a run to pick up the pain meds and a few flicks from Redbox. As I pulled away from the house I saw a neighbor girl had run up to the door and she and my own were visiting.
Surely she knows...the thought tapped at the edge of my mind and I dismissed it, deciding not to follow it up with a call home to make sure. When I'd been gone 10 minutes, my phone rang. It was my little Florence Nightingale.
"Luisa took her gauze out and is spitting up blood in a bowl."
"No, she should not be doing that," I evenly replied.
"Oh," and then ".... stop doing that," I hear in whispered panic.
"Alright honey, this is what I want you to do," I say with what I hope she takes as calming reassurance, "just hold the plastic bag out for her to drop her gauze into. Wet two little squares with water, fold them over twice so they are in quarters, and let her put them into the back corners of her mouth." Sure enough, as I suspected, the others were still in her mouth - and there was only a small amount of blood on a paper towel in a bowl when I returned home.
Poor dear A, she followed my instructions - complete with retching sounds I could hear over the speaker phone. Once done, I told her to have her sister go to the bathroom and wash her hands.
"Ok, there, it's all over" I soothed. "Now take a deep breath and offer thanks to God."
She could barely whisper, "yes ma'am."
When I returned, she and the neighbor girl were just coming down the stairs - inside the house. I excused our little friend, and then dealt with my own daughter. As I suspected, as soon as I'd gone round the corner she'd invited said friend in to visit. Never mind the rule of no friends in the house without permission when parents are gone. She figured that her laid-up big brother was her green light, although she never asked him either. Mind you, I know my child, and I don't think her disobedience was intentional. She simply does things when she is left in charge that seem right to her, but does not necessarily make that mental check I require of whomever I have left in charge - namely me. If she did, the choice would be simple and different.
She wanted to apologize and have it over quickly, but of course I needed her to understand the root of the error of her ways. Otherwise we will have a repeat. Heck! This is a repeat, but we continue to work on it. And equally obvious should be the fact that this created a battle with stubborn-ness as her intention to have this over and done quickly was not what was happening. We had to go a few rounds, she even tried to point out that in the end it all worked out for good because her friend was there to help her with the difficult job of caring for her siblings. Please.... I started to get a clearer idea of how we so quickly came to spitting up blood in a bowl, etc. I was an imaginative girl capable of melodrama too, once. Drama seems to multiply by the number of girls in a room.
Despite her delicate constitution, I left her in charge so that she would die to self (although I gave the bloodier duty to her healing sister, I knew this would still test the older) and serve as I'd entrusted her. My disappointment connected with Ezekial.
Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary. Ezekial 44:8
In the end I believe we got a bit closer to an understanding that I seek her to know and own and walk in naturally.
The day began with wisdom tooth extractions. Yet all day long, each and every day, we work on wisdom implantings. As we train up our children, it is not simply for the sake of our own right relationships with them that we do so. It is as the daily working of tending a garden plot of discipline whereby they may know better how to relate to the One who longs for them to know Him as Father. Amen.