She stood at my front door. Tears in her eyes. A toddler in the stroller, by her side. “I blew it,” she said. “ I yelled at her. What’s wrong with me? I wanted this child more than anything. I’ve never done this before.”
She had waited years for a baby. Untold doctor visits. Countless procedures. Numerous miscarriages. Endless tears. But then her joy was complete. A baby girl. Healthy. Strong. Beautiful.
|Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield/FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
I know. Who has a heart to call a precious, wanted, and longed for child sinful?
I did. Let’s just say, I was a bit stressed out that day and was a year's worth of dirty diapers, temper tantrums, and a few yells ahead of her.
“Mary, she’s sinful just like the rest of us.” I said. “She’s going to get on your nerves, pluck your feathers, make you mad, do things wrong.” The words slid off my tongue. I didn’t even know if she believed in sin or hem, hem . . . sinful children. It was one of those moments when you hear your words and think, What the heck am I saying? She’s going to think I’m nuts! Just call me Frank.
But I continued, invited them inside, while attempting a softer approach. “You can’t beat yourself up over it. You’re not going to do this perfectly and that’s okay. Motherhood is hard.”
Mary still reminds me of that morning and my word choice. We laugh. Her baby girl is all grown up now, a lovely woman. She had survived her mother’s first yell and probably several more along her way toward adulthood.
And Mary and her daughter are the best of friends.
Parenthood is hard. We all blow it from time to time. Even a momma like me, parenting for the second time around. But sometimes, the best gift we can give our kids is to not expect perfection from them or ourselves.