It was my husband’s birthday this week, and I wanted everything to be perfect.
Not sure why I put those expectations on myself. I had just had minor surgery two days before and I am still recovering from the accident and will continue to recover from the accident and no one was making a huge deal out of anything. But, I think since my accident, I have been more emotional about events and gatherings and wanting to have things just.
On this particular evening, one of my twins had gone to youth group, which is of course a good thing that I am so thankful he is engaged in that. Youth group normally ends at 9 pm and our plans were to have cake when he got home.
But, at 9:30 he still was not home.
After numerous texts and not hearing back from him, I was getting irritated. My other son, age 12, wanted to get to bed and it looked like we were not going to be able to have birthday cake together as a family.
I wanted to make sure my husband knew his birthday was important in the midst of my health issues.
After my son arrived home at 9:40 pm, I scolded him about being late. And not answering his texts.
He was defensive, noting that youth group ends at 9:15 and sometimes goes until 9:30, but then I reminded him of his dad’s birthday.
My son then apologized. “Sorry, Mom.”
And, though I accepted his apology, I really didn’t deep down. I got upset with other members of the family and even my husband who had disappeared.
Now, this very birthday that I wanted to be perfect turned out to be even more less than perfect. It was stressful because there was conflict and it was mostly because of me.
Then I feel really badly about it all and hate myself.
I apologize profusely, especially to my son, whom I didn’t initially fully forgive.
Why, oh, why, do I act this way sometimes, I asked myself. I know I have been over-reacting more and more since the accident and this makes me very sad. Who am I? I want to be me.
I wrapped my arms around my son and said I am so sorry, and could he forgive me, and he said yes. And he said he was also sorry.
The next day, I woke up and still felt so badly about the night before. I talked to my son again about it.
How could I ruin a birthday? How could I not forgive my son and continue to hold his being home later than I expected against him? How could I be such a parent, I wondered?
It reminds me of how desperately I need God in my life. And, it also reminds me of the way the accident continues to show how I have changed. Then I worry. Will I return to the old me, the one that does not over-react to.
Recently I was at a shower for a friend of mine where I met a woman who talked about feelings of not measuring up to the kind of mom she wanted to. She felt badly. She shared with me how sometimes she her voice at her son and felt terrible about it later, and would then ask for forgiveness only to do it again on another occasion.
I told her she is a good mom and just the fact that she is even thinking about these things, tells me she is introspective and self aware. And becoming better in the future at anything starts with thinking about how we are right now.
One of the hardest parts of being a parent is forgiving ourselves. We need to recognize that we are not perfect, and say we are sorry when we mess up, and ask our kids for forgiveness. They need to see us say we are sorry.
I am reminded of Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
We are set free. We need to realize that and live into that reality.
[This is part of a #Write31Days series of posts on “Finding your parenting Philosophy” http://www.corneliaseigneur.com/31-days-finding-your-parenting-philosophy/ ]