When Adam goes out of town for business, the kids & I usually have a fun evening. We go out to dinner, come home & watch a special movie & enjoy a special treat (usually popcorn). After that the boys go to bed & Ava ends up staying in my bed for the night.
Last night started out as planned. We went out to dinner & came home.
That’s when it happened.
I could tell something was up. Ava was hiding something.
I asked her about it. She told me she wasn’t hiding anything. Now, I’m a big believer in giving people every opportunity to step up when they do something wrong, especially when a lie is involved. So, I gave her the chance to come clean & asked her again. Only this time, I also told her, that its never okay to lie about something, so if she needed to tell me something, this was the time to do it.
She looked me in the eyes and said, “Mommy, I promise I’m not hiding anything.”
She went upstairs to her room. I followed quietly behind & waited upstairs until she headed back downstairs.
Now, I faced a dilemma. Did I really want to go into her room? I went back & forth on this. At first, I thought maybe I should just let this go. We still have to do all our “special” things that we do when Adam is away. I didn’t want to wreck that.
And that’s when it hit me.
I didn’t want to go into her room because I was afraid of what I was going to find. It wasn’t the item I was worried about. I was afraid I was going to discover a lie.
Well, I went into her room & found what she was hiding.
I went downstairs & asked Ava to come up to her room with me. Instantly she asked, “Is it something bad?” I didn’t answer her. I couldn’t. I knew I felt disappointed & honestly I didn’t know what to say.
We got to her room & I asked her again if she was hiding something. She kept saying over & over, “I promise I’m not.” I finally told her to stop saying “I promise” because it stung more & more each time she said it.
I took a breath & told her to get me the thing she was hiding from her closet. She looked at me, then hung her head & brought back what I asked for.
I didn’t speak for a long time. Finally, I asked her if she knew why I was sad. She guessed it was because she hid something. “No,” I replied, “its because you lied to me. This was never really about the object. Its about the lie.”
In fact that’s why I haven’t mentioned what it is she did. It wasn’t the action that upset me, so much as it was the fact that she lied about it.
She started crying & telling me how sorry she was. I told her, “You know what? I’m sorry to.”
That’s when she said something that struck me.
“Why are you sorry when I do something wrong?”
“Because,” I told her, “I care & love you so much that when you do something wrong, I feel sorry too.”
Well, I ended up sending her to bed right away where she cried for a good half hour.
She came into my room a little while after she stopped crying. I thought she was going to ask to stay up or to stay in my room with me. But, she didn’t. She climbed up into my lap, threw her arms around me & told me that she was “so, very sorry” that she lied to me.
I kissed her & told her that no matter what she does, she needs to be able to tell me about it & not lie. I don’t ever want her to be afraid to talk to me. I told her how important it was for her to remember that (please God let her remember this when she’s a teenager!)
She then went back to her room.
And then she came back to mine in the middle of the night.
And that’s where she stayed.
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