An admission, a confession, an epic fail in parenting 101? How about all the above?
It is hard for me to be this transparent, to admit one of my biggest fails. It's hard for me to know I am a Christian and yet admit this to her, to myself, to say this aloud to family and friends, let alone to all who read this.
I fail as a mom... I fail every.single.day!
We waited for the blessing for ten years, waiting for our halls to be filled with laughter and black finger prints. We waited for the little humans we could teach and mold. The little buddy for dune riding and the little girly girl for mani/pedi dates. We waited.
Then when the pregnancy happened, I ate the right things, I stayed away from the wrong things, I went to the doctor with fear when blood showed up and it shouldn't have... I called the doctor every twinge and twitch that "felt a little off".
Bringing them home we were careful, we "set" the house with all the latest "safety stuff". They slept in our room months longer than they should have. When they got sick they went to the doctor for the common cold and a sneeze and a cough was monitored with a careful eye; after all mom knows what's coming.
That mom could not have predicted, though, this mom I have turned into. Let me preface this "confession".
I know I am a good mom. I know I am a great mom. I know they are loved beyond belief. They know it too...
But even the best moms falter and I have faltered. I have headed down a rabbit hole of unkindness and I know I have some damage to undo.
Before you scratch your head and wonder what the heck I am talking about let me set the stage.
I left the kids in the car the other day, in my friends driveway - she met me outside we chatted for a bit while I dropped off a book. After a few minutes we said good-bye and I headed back to the car. I climbed in and adjusted the rearview mirror, getting ready to say, "ready to go home kids?" but my eye catches my son with tears rolling down his face and my daughter, I see her looking out the window - ignoring my gaze.
I asked "them" what on earth... What could have happened to start this... I am still not sure. I know there was "pillow fight" in which the "pillows" were replaced by the Advent calendars I just purchased. I know there were some nasty words exchanged... But the ones that cut the deepest, created the most damage were the words that my daughter spat at her brother.
"You are the worst brother ever." "You are a spoiled brat."
And there it was... Not the worst brother ever part... I don't ever tell them they are the worst anything... But the spoiled brat part. Ugh! The cutting words... The anger...
Our kids inherit the best and the worst.
My mom was very careful not to call me a brat but it did come out from time to time. I suppose I deserved it, still do sometimes but that doesn't make it okay to say. She was always sorry and it was never something I had certainly planned on including in my discipline repertoire but sadly, it's been said a few times and now it's being repeated.
Insert face-palm here.
My daughter is tough like me. She stuffs her feelings in, like me. She doesn't let the hurt show, also like me... But when that anger surfaces... Oh.my.oh!
I often tell those that know me best... Just because you can't see them, it doesn't mean I don't contain them... Feelings, that is. And it doesn't mean I never get hurt, you just don't usually see it.
But looking at my son, because of course, I have never used those words with him... Seeing the pain, seeing how badly those words cut from his sister. Knowing the last bit of those words came from me...
As soon as we got home, I helped him from the car and gave him a big squeeze and told him how amazing he is. And for my daughter I did the same...
Later at the dinner table I cleared my throat and said some words that don't come so easy...
First I looked at my daughter and said, "I am sorry, mommy should never say those things to you. The words "spoiled brat" hurt and I hope you forgive me. It's not true. I won't use them again."
Her eyes were big, they were unsure and then they softened... "Yes mom, I know you love me."
And I looked at my son and apologized as well... "I am sorry to you too, if I wouldn't have said that to her, she wouldn't have said that to you."
Tucking them in, while praying for their dreams, I asked Our Father for forgiveness as well.
I don't personally deal well with an interrupted life, I don't work well stressed out. And when I am stretched and pulled to the max something has to give, for me, it manifests in anger, frustration and bitterness. It comes out sometimes at others and there is damage.
Thankfully, by the Grace of God, my children, husband, family and friends - I can be forgiven.
I know God prunes what does not belong. I know He reveals individually what needs to go and convicts through His Spirit to make the changes within ourselves. Myself.
I am the vine, you are the branches. If you abide in my word you will bear much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing.
I know the anger is bring pruned. I know, instead, I can look for peace, love and grace. I can apply patience and kindness to replace the frustrations and stresses.
Lord, thank you for revealing a harsh reality. Thank you for showing me with grace I don't always bestow. Lord, help me to look to you for guidance before I even utter a word and Lord, thank you for the boldness to apologize in all circumstances but especially when it matters most, to those it means the most to. I am thankful, grateful, humbled and blessed. Amen.