Blame it on the rain, the pregnancy, the long dark days, the fact that we are still adjusting to a new city, eating too many gummy bears, the girls not napping, a messy house, my own foul mood, or the fact that 99% of my shirts barely cover my belly anymore. I was NOT a nice Mommy this afternoon. The day started off well, including an outing to the children’s museum with friends, and then just seemed to plummet into an abyss of grouchiness. Napping didn’t happen for them, which means it didn’t happen for me and these days that is a big problem. Um, catastrophic at times. I was not on my “A game” if you will and seemed to direct all of my frustration, loneliness, and discontent at my girls. NOT my finest hours as a mom.
The day came to an unfortunate end as the girls were putting their pajamas on for bed. After receiving two warnings (yes, I was desperate so extra chances were abundant) that she should put on her fuzzy pink hippo jammies immediately or I would do it for her, little Molé seemed shocked when I picked up the ensemble and began forcing it over her head. The horror of not being able to do it “with myself” was more than she could bear. And though yes, she is 2 1/2, Molé is not a card carrying member of meltdown city. Her sister on the other hand may in fact be the future president. At any rate, the girl lost it and well, so did I. I think that my meltdown was actually more impressive, not to brag, because it involved random threats like, “Get in your bed” or “I’ll take your chewy nose bear,” whereas she couldn’t muster much more than howling and shrieking (and there was a bit of back arching too). After I stormed out of their room, I came to mine and tried to catch my breath. I needed a major timeout. After about ten minutes I went back in, guilt churning in my stomach, and sang to them.
The amazing thing? You would have thought that I had tucked them in with cotton candy, bubbles, tickles, and sunshine ten minutes before. They seemed to have no recollection of my bad behavior and welcomed me back with kisses and thankfulness for the song. Um, what? And yet isn’t that how it is? I am humbled, daily, at the ability of my children to offer me grace and forgiveness. There are so many times when I hold onto my frustration long past the end of the timeout and past the time where I have said “I forgive you.” My forgiveness can be incomplete at best and theirs seems abundant, complete, and in love. As I try to model for them so desperately the incredible, out of this world abundant grace of God I find that THEY are the ones who are teaching me. It is their behavior that needs to be emulated. Their genuine embrace and desire to reenter our relationship with intimacy and love after I have hurt or disappointed them is amazing. And I’m desperately trying to be more like them.
I’m hoping with some good rest, encouraging words from The Doc (it’s ridiculous how fantastic he is), and grace from God himself that tomorrow will be a new day. It probably won’t be tantrum free, but I pray it will be more and more marked by an ability to embrace when it’s hard. Really, really hard. I’m grateful that in the middle of this job of teaching, molding and instructing God has provided these sweet little ones to teach me as well.