What a week!!!
There are some weeks that have a fairly even balance of difficult and delightful, others every now & then unexpectedly delightful but others that… – yes I know, I can see where this sentence wants to end! Need I say more? Its been one of those weeks (and its not quite finished yet).
For a start I have been busy busy busy – no-one to blame but myself, but it’s been another patch where everything has come at once with extras thrown in for good measure! It’s so tiring juggling though isn’t it, and that’s probably where the problems began! Andrew’s been away at a conference and the girls have found that hard, so many of our usual ways of doing things have had to bend a little, so I made an assumption that T’s behaviour yesterday after school was just more of the same, and Daddy was back so maybe it heightened her difficult reactions a little more. There was more than a little tetchiness, clingyness, shouting, not co-operating, kerfuffle about seats & cutlery & where the food was on plates, more than a little arguing with me to take control of bedtime stories and the way pyjamas got put on and exactly where the covers covered her. All the usual sticking points but more intense than the average evening.
When the stories were finally done, and teeth had been attempted of course that’s when the tears came. And in the sobby and rather soggy tumble of words I began to glean that I had done the unthinkable – I had forgotten to go to a little performance at school of the songs they have enjoyed learning in their music lessons over the last weeks. You can imagine, I hope, just how devastated I felt as she talked round and round the same facts that she couldn’t hold together because they didn’t compute – she knew I gave the slip to the teacher to say I was coming, she looked for me, I wasn’t there, and I was the only Mummy who hadn’t come.
I held her for a long time, thankful that the other two seemed to be alright and getting things done to get ready for bed without my prompting, I held her waiting for the sobs to die down, waiting for a chance to look her in the eye and reassure her I loved her so very, very much. As the sobs calmed down a bit there was some angry hitting and kicking, she was beginning to make sense of that knot of feelings she had been carrying all afternoon. ‘Are you cross with me?’ I said, ‘I’m sad, I was scared, I was all alone’… ‘I’m so sorry T, I completely forgot it was happening today’…’but today will never happen again Mummy, and you were meant to be there’… ‘I know, I’m really, really sorry, I’m sorry you felt scared, I’m sorry you felt all alone, I’m sorry I didn’t remember – could you sing me the songs at home, just for me?’ … ‘no Mummy, that’s not the performance, you were meant to be there‘. More sobbing.
As she gradually fell asleep in my arms I sat and felt it. I hate it; I hate letting them down, I hate not being everything they need- it is so painful for me to feel ‘not good enough’, I hate it when I try to do too much and fail; because I love them, and I love to share moments with them – moments become memories, building blocks of family closeness. My sorry is heartfelt, sorry for ‘the good I have left undone’.
long-suffering and of great goodness:
I confess to you,
I confess with my whole heart
my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments,
my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking;
the hurts I have done to others,
and the good I have left undone.
O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;
and raise me to newness of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today is a new day, God loves giving us new days and fresh starts. I write grateful for forgiveness and renewed strength to get up and keep trying in the power of the Holy Spirit; but also with sadness for a memory lost.
But I am reflecting that perhaps within that sadness there is a recognition of another precious Mum & daughter memory made, through that moment of sitting together hearing hurts and saying sorry. There is an honesty and vulnerability in that moment that is so important. I would be modelling a lie to my children if weakness and failure was never acknowledged or owned, if forgiveness was never sought. Both Andrew and I have tried to embrace this as parents, saying sorry to them and taking ourselves to the time out step (& sometimes accepting being sent!), and then getting up and starting again. We want to model authentic and radical discipleship for our children – warts and all. And it’s true isn’t it… we all fall short – of our own high standards, of people’s expectations, and most importantly the Bible tells me I fall short of all that God intends for me to be – we all need to live by God’s grace, parent and child alike.
It’s not easy though, is it!