Parenting is hard. This post is from a young mother in my church. Her young children are among my newest piano students. She is in the throes of parenting, when some days seem like failures. I remember them well.
My oldest two children are just 11 months apart… Irish twins, which is fun because I’d always wanted twins. The sibling bickering, though, was sometimes unbearable, and honestly put me over the edge.
My “favorite” parenting failure to share with young parents happened shortly after I began attending my church. My kids were 3 and 4 at the time, and were rehearsing for the children’s Christmas play. It had been a particularly painful day of bickering and I had just had enough. As I drove them to church on a Sunday evening, for rehearsal, they bickered the entire way there. By the time we got to the parking lot, I was over the edge. I parked the car and helped them out of the car. As they got out, they, once again, began fighting. I put my arms together, straight out in front of me, and put them in between my fighting kids, and then spread them apart to separate the kids from one another. As I did that, my son, who was always my dramatic kid, literally threw himself down on the pavement, as if I had thrown him there! Horrified, I reached down with one arm and grabbed him by the jacket and picked him up, screaming at him the whole time. To this day, I will never forget the look on the face of the father who as dropping his kids off for rehearsal! I’m sure he thought I was Joan Crawford!
I took both kids by the hand and marched them into the church, where I ran smack into the senior pastor, who was standing by his office. I’ve always been a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, and wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I couldn’t hide the fact that I was furious. He looked down at them and said gently, “you know your mother loves you?”
Terrified, my kids looked up at him, afraid to say anything lest the mommy dearest in me be unleashed again, and barely nodded their heads up and down, big crocodile tears filling their eyes. I dared not look at him, and just kept my head down as led them down the stairs to the rehearsal room.
When I came back up the stairs, he was still standing there. There was a brief pause as I wondered what he’d say to me, whether he would chastise my parenting, or accuse me of throwing my son down in the parking lot. He looked at me with gentleness and said, “you know what I do on days like this?”
“What?” I said cautiously.
“I take a pillow…..” he started to say as he made a bear hug motion with his arms. My mind was trying desperately to finish his sentence for him, but I was at a loss for words. As he finished his bear hug on himself, I realized that he was trying to tell me he’d hug the pillow to releive frustration, I kind of laughed and said (without filtering first), “oh, I thought you meant you’d put it over their faces to smother them!”
He was admittedly taken off guard by my comment and laughed a surprised laugh and said, “oh no! Don’t let that get around. That’s how rumors get started…. pastor X told me to….”.
And with that moment of laughter, the ice was broken. We were just standing there, parent to parent, passing down lesson-learned to lesson-needed-to-be-learned, exactly how God intended us to mentor one another. He didn’t judge what had just transpired. He didn’t make me feel like an awful parent. He simply let me know that he had been where I was, and experienced the frustration of parenting
“I cleaned up broke glass today… only God’s Grace can help me handle the fragile soul that threw it” Absolutely my favorite part of this post. Only God’s Grace.
Grace Notes, my friends. Grace notes.
Be blessed today, my friends. Whether your frustration is in parenting or some other aspect of life, rest assured His Grace is sufficient for all our needs.
Love you all,