I was a wretch of a parent today. I was so short-tempered. My son’s incessant pleadings for undivided attention were more irksome than cute. His intentional disobedience at the park, his destructive toy-throwing down the staircase, and the way in which he emptied the entire contents of the salt shaker on the kitchen floor put me over the edge; I snapped at him. I yelled at him. I made him cry. And it felt awful.
But tonight, while I was laying with him as he was getting ready to fall asleep, he grabbed my arm and slung it around him. Then he took his arm and draped it across my neck and gently stroked my hair. He fell asleep with our arms still around each other, and I couldn’t help but squirt a few tears.
There’s nothing more pure, and at times undeserved, than the love of a small child. They grant forgiveness in a way that is so quick and so complete. Ten years from now, the things I say and do will cut him far more deeply, leaving wounds that will take much longer and much more effort to heal.
Thank goodness we get a trial period to work out the kinks, right?
In that moment, I realized that despite my flaws and the fact that on some days I’m not great at being his mom, my son loves me anyway–simply because I’m his mom. I learned such great lessons today on forgiveness, patience, and unconditional love…from a two year old.
Being a parent is nothing short of an exercise in self-discovery. I’m slowly learning that it’s a humbling business being totally responsible for another human being. My character flaws and shortcomings have been highlighted and exposed more profoundly in this endeavor than any other, including marriage or career.
But one of the most important lessons I’m learning–and hope that I can teach my kids–is that I’m far from perfect; sometimes I get stressed and overwhelmed, but when I’m unkind or wrong I need to apologize and try to do better. I’ve actually made it a point to verbally apologize to my two year old when I lose my temper. Is there any better formula for success in any relationship than a willingness to admit our faults, coupled with a humble plea for forgiveness? Maybe chocolate chip cookies, but those don’t last as long (especially in my house).
The love within a family is so unique and so precious, and I’m grateful for a son who’s teaching me to be better at showing it.