I sacrificed a mason jar for a habitat.
Neighbor educated us on caterpillars.
NOT the beautiful butterfly caterpillars I envisioned for science class.
Neighbor cut open a silk web and out came a thousand more caterpillars.
Kids shouted with glee while shoving more caterpillars into their already full mason jar.
Felix asked, "Can I keep the jar inside?"
I answered, "No."
Felix asked again.
I repeated my answer.
Felix asked againandagainandagain.
Fast forward ten minutes, and a little brother discovering what happens when you kick an ant bed. Twice.
Simon, "I wanted those caterpillars and Felix killed 'em!"
me, "What? No, he just dumped them out because I told him they weren't coming inside."
Turns out, Mr. Felix let his anger over my answer dictate his attitude and he annihilated an entire yard full of creepy crawlies.
I wasn't as concerned about the future moths as I was about the anger controlled little boy.
I asked him why he thought it was okay to kill one of God's creatures that he didn't plan to eat(though I did offer him that option). I asked him how he would feel if somebody stomped Max(my parents cat). I read the regret all over his face and decided to back off a little bit.
A bit later, I realized Feefs wasn't within earshot. That's usually the only sign I need to know something is up with one of my clowns. I found him on his bed, quiet. "I don't want to be disturbed right now."-he actually said "disturbed," and then he covered up his little eyeballs and sobbed. I asked him if he felt bad about the caterpillars. Duh. I told him he could ask God to forgive him for killing his caterpillars. Then we talked about letting anger control us and how that might need to be tucked into the prayer, too. "Can you ask Him for me?" he asked. "Nope. I can't ask for forgiveness for you, but all you have to do is ask." I said.
The moment passed and he never did work up the courage to pray out loud. I didn't push it.
Tears were dried, chores were completed, dinner was started. Feefs stayed close throughout. While putting away silverware he asked some pretty great questions about God that made me wish my helper was around. Sean's answers are always better than mine. :/
At bedtime, I double checked with Felix to see if there was anything we needed to pray about. "Nope." he said, not making eye contact.
Once, I came back upstairs to shush them.
On the third time, their carrying on woke up Titus.
Oh snap. He was awake and he'd peed. I was ha-ppy.
At some point during the sheet stripping, undie exchange, bladder emptying chaos, I realized boy1 & boy2 were at each other's throats.
I separated them, tucked T back in and went back to make sure Simon's holding the back of his head wasn't just theatrical. Someone got headbutted, but I'm not sure who the instigator was. Anyways, Simon was the wreck this time. I love that my kids wait until an hour after bedtime to hit me with all life's problems and questions.
"I'm a terrible big brother. I am always mean to Felix." Simon admitted, crying.
I had to measure each word before I spoke it. "Ok..." was all I could get out.
"It's Satan! He's controlling me. I am only mean to Felix, nobody else." he tried.
"You are a child of God, Simon, Satan has no control over you. You have the ability to make choices every single day. You choose to be mean. You choose to leave him out. You choose to speak to him the way you do." I explained.
"I don't know what to do. I don't know why I'm only mean to Felix." What am I supposed to do with that?!
"Well, you need to ask for his forgiveness. Tomorrow is a new day. Remember this feeling when you go to snap at him over something that doesn't matter."
At the end of the night, the three of us ended up on my bed. Simon asked for forgiveness from Felix and the ever forgiving, middle child of mine said, "It's ok, Simon," and accepted his hug. As I asked if they wanted to pray, I didn't expect a positive answer from Felix. Normally, he just listens. Tonight, though, he piped right up with a shaky voice, "God, forgive me for what I did."
I have never had the privilege of hearing such genuine repentance. I am dumbfounded as to why the Almighty would bless me so. I will cherish that moment for a long, long time.