I know the theory. Too well. But my stubborn heart has a hard time embracing humility. I know I’m mostly right (in my eyes) and I won’t budge.
It’s Friday. I have a lot on my plate. I registered jackie for music school in the morning. We moved the drier from the apartment into to our friends downstairs, to leave it ready for rent and give the renters the keys. We moved the kayaks to our storage room and vacuumed the tops of the kitchen cabinets. One last sweep.
I dropped off a notarized declaration to the post office, got Rufus a harness and dog food, and took the girls swimming.
in the afternoon I had a zoom meeting to organize an adoption conference in a month. And our friends came over for dinner and drinks and catchup after a month of not seeing each other. Life is hectic.
last night I was walking right at 10:30 pm and washing ivy’s hair at 11 as she really wanted to take a bath… after we had a most exciting dinner with old time friends.
back to the point of my story. I’ve been thinking about my lack of patience and parental stubbornness. As I tell ivy to not jump in puddles as we came out of the hot sowers and swimming pool (so we were practically wet, but the puddles were dirtier and colder) she still slaps her Flipflops around. Till she gets to a deeper pool of water. She splashes me too and I yell at her. “Why don’t you listen!” We get in the car. She is somber. I feel remorse. I also feel I was right but the atmosphere is heavy. And I know it was not a big deal. Why do I get to stuck on getting my way? It doesn’t really matter. I want them to listen, but the more I want that the less they listen. Or so it seems.
I turn back, I reach my hand out and say: “it’s just water. I’m sorry I yelled at you.” She then starts to sob. I am learning now, it’s the good kind of cry. Letting out tension. Through tears she says: “I still love you” and I know right then and there, i did the right thing apologizing for my reaction.
I found out from jackie, that whenever we scold ivy, she gets all stoic goes to her room and mumbles under her breath: “mommy is mean”. When daddy scolds her she mumbles “daddy is stupid”. It’s her way to cope with the tension, the contrast of feelings of love and frustration or disappointment.
I have never felt more inadequate to do something on a regular basis, like I do for parenting. I try and try. And it doesn’t get any easier. The job changes. The kids grow. I am more tired. But occasionally I get a glimpse of hope. They hear. They apply. They respond well. I apologize. They learn a ton of goodness from my humanity. We understand each other from one look across the room.
I am often too easily annoyed by my kids. Even the adorable witty clever things they do and say. I read right through them. But on the same day, I feel extraordinary love for them. I like them. I delight in them. And I cling onto those short moments of truth, of beauty, and I pray for more humble klebte where I do the right thing. And they grow to be wise and loving and kind. My kids would be righteous and brave and shine the grace of god in the world. And may my impatience and tiredness be forgiven and redeemed. And may ashes turn into beauty. Always.