“I shouldn’t have yelled at her.”
“I was impatient…selfish.”
“Why couldn’t she just listen and get to bed on time?”
“I should go upstairs and apologize.”
“She might already be asleep. Maybe I shouldn’t go.”
I put down the dish rag, sighed at yet another #momfail and slowly climbed the stairs. I couldn’t relax or get on with my two hours of free time (aka “catch up on the laundry” time) until I apologized for my behavior.
The boys had finally gone to bed, but Josey likes to stall at bedtime…more so than the boys. She lingered around, searching for a school library book. If there’s an excuse out there, our kids will grab it and go with it around 8:30 p.m: “I forgot to have you sign my folder…I need my red shirt to be washed…I’m sooooo hungry!”
I’m still debating which time of day is the worst for me: morning or nighttime. In the morning I’m tired, still trying to wake up from my slumber, and there are some mornings where the coffee just isn’t working. Inevitably there is one out of three children who woke up on the wrong side of bed, so crankypants is hard to deal with…and then there are school lunches, mismatching socks, and lost van keys to contend with more often than I’d like to admit. Nighttime is similar, only I’ve put a full day in, and I’m running on empty. It can be a real struggle. The finish line is in sight but with one little, “Mom, I didn’t take my medicine” or “I forgot to study for my test tomorrow!” I tend to erupt.
That’s what happened one night recently. Josey wasn’t in bed, and I needed to prepare for a class I was teaching the next day. I was exhausted, stressed, and angry, and so I yelled. She didn’t deserve the words that came out of my mouth. The wrath of mom was in full effect, and I regretted it so much once she trudged up the stairs, looking sad and defeated.
I wish that I could say that this occurrence was rare, but it isn’t rare. It’s more common than I’d like to admit. And so, I’m convicted. I wrestle with my poor behavior and modeling. I beat myself up, but then I typically go back to one word:
That night I crept into my daughter’s room and lied down beside her in the bed. She’s almost as big as I am at nine-years-old, but I cannot forget that she is still a child. I leaned down and saw that she was not yet asleep.
“Josey, I’m so sorry for blowing up at you before bedtime. You didn’t deserve that. I should have been more patient, exercised more self-control. Will you forgive me?”
We complicate forgiveness sometimes. We over analyze the when, where, why, and how, but it is really quite simple. It’s acknowledging that we did wrong, asking for forgiveness, and moving on. Hopefully that interaction can repair a broken heart. Most of the time I have to ask forgiveness from the people I love the most, those I hold so dear, care for fiercely.
It’s humbling. It’s letting your guard down and airing out your weaknesses. It’s admitting imperfection and failure. And who likes to do that? Ugh.
Moms make mistakes.
But we can also make amends.
That night Josey smiled and turned toward me. I think she was surprised that I had climbed those stairs again (for what felt like the hundredth time that night). She accepted my apology, followed by a hug and kiss.
She will have to do the same with her child someday. It is because she saw me acknowledge my failures and ask for forgiveness that it won’t be an unusual or uncomfortable interaction.
It’s a part of life. We all need to ask for forgiveness and accept forgiveness. It truly is a band-aid that can heal even the deepest cut.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.