Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do Over.

When it comes to giving advice, or counsel, especially to moms, I tend to sit pretty solidly in the grace camp. Not always, but mostly. Mostly a lot of the time.

I would have been the first to say breast feeding your child is so important but, if it get's too hard, or painful, or frustrating, there are great formulas out there and you're not a terrible mom for hanging up your nursing bra.

Unfortunately, I don't always extend myself the same latitude. I nursed Graham for four months with off and on infections and terrible pain because I felt like a failure for giving it up.

1. I'm sorry if you're eating while reading this.
2. I don't think other mom's are failures - just me. I wish there was a chocolate bar for that but I've yet to find one.

Anyway, over the years I've seen and talked with many a mom who feel like failures in the role they're in. They've lost their child's most beloved trinket. They've said things they would give anything to take back. They've forgotten important moments in their kid's lives and I feel like I'm usually pretty quick to tell them to give themselves a break - people make mistakes - and we mom's can't be perfect.

Right? Riiiiiight.

Yesterday afternoon, I'm piddling around, doing kind of a whole lot of nothing at the house. I cleaned it a little, read a little, talked on the phone to some friends, and took a much needed bath. I wasn't in meetings, appointments, or even running important errands.

When I pulled up to school to pick up carpool, I saw several friends walking out with their first graders and their projects - the Sea Turtle project we'd been working on and that Sadie was scheduled to present today, Thursday afternoon.

Or Wednesday afternoon.


I totally missed it. I missed my baby girl's first-ever presentation where she had to be nervous all alone and stand up in front of her class without her mom even in the audience. She wasn't even really ready because we hadn't practiced like we always do the night before presentations.

Insert big, ugly cry where I had to use my friend's son's sweater as a tissue.

Sorry Carrie. Sorry Holt. And sorry Ralph Lauren.

I pulled up and Sadie had her little face buried in her brother's chest and he was stroking her hair. As she ran to my car and immediately climbed into my lap, I thought, "What kind of mother DOES this? How could I miss this baby's first presentation? That's my JOB - to be there - sitting in her little desk with my knees in my chin so that, when she gets nervous, she can look at my face and be reassured and OK and know I'm cheering for her! What the heck? I suck."

The self-flagellation continued all afternoon even though she was over it in about five minutes. When we got home, she grabbed my hand and said, "Mom, let's go upstairs and fnuggle and talk about our feelings."

Although I didn't share all my feelings with her six-year-old self, I told her over and over again I was so sorry I missed it and she was quick to forgive.

My friends and my husband said what I would say to anyone else. Mistakes happen. We're not perfect. Kids are resilient. Give yourself a break. But, I think it's so interesting, even when I believe them for others, I don't always apply those principles to myself.

I'm learning another contradiction of my life and it's no es bueno. Or bueno. Depending on how you look at it. I know I'm not perfect - nowhere close - but letting others down makes me feel horrible.

This afternoon, Sadie gets a do-over and she'll give her presentation again with us there. It's the first thing she said to me this morning, as did Graham - seven times. Bless his heart.

It's a good lesson for me to learn to believe truths not only for others, but also for myself. And learn from the quick and sincere forgiveness of a six year-old child.


Dinglefest said...

I've got a near ugly cry going on at the preciousness of this post. Not just your sweet girl's forgiveness, but your transparency. Thank you.

Candy said...

The essence of mercy & grace in Sadie's forgiveness, and in realizing that it is in our weakness that He is strong and that His grace truly IS SUFFICIENT!

This is a Spirit inspired post of confession and repentance. Oh He is good.

Love you,


Celeta Bettison said...

Me too! I'm crying too! There is nothing worse than feeling like you've let your child down. Fortunately they do forgive us. Thanks for sharing - I will remember this when I forget my child's presentation (and that day will come I can assure you!)

I Just Want A Cup of Coffee said...

Throw me an oar and we'll paddle this boat together, girl! HUGS!!!

Traci said...

Oh I feel for you; I'm so sorry. But, you're right, she's already more okay than you will be five years from now over this. Give yourself a break.

Henley on the Horn said...

This made me boo hoo on an airplane with strangers! But, please forgive yourself. It's okay. It really is. We all make mistakes. We can't wait to see pictures of your Sadie with her sea turtle project. I bet you're there right now!

Becca said...

but why is it so much harder to extend grace to others than to ourselves? I guess that's the mystery and miracle of it - we are ALL equally covered by grace! :-) I love you and your sweet little girl - and I want to give you both big hugs soon . . .

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

you poor girl! i would have felt the same way. it's a good thing little ones are so quick to forgive!

Lea said...

Did the same thing. Cried a river. Missed my only daughter's first-ever, live-feed video speech as candidate for school secretary. Parents were in the cafeteria watching and pulling for their own, and I missed my girl. She went early, and I saw all the remaining candidates. Hate walking in late. Hated missing her. I empathize with you BIG. She will so forgive you, give you grace and mercy, and not remember, as Kate did me, but I feel your pain. Hugs.

Rebecca Lutz said...

Oh boy do I know that feeling! The carpool line is the most stressful place I have ever experienced! You realize things you forgot to do, buy, get that your precious darling angel needs for school that day. You make eye contact with a teacher, hoping she'll give you a smile or a thumbs up but she frowns and turns away. Your baby gets in the car with tears in his eyes. Maybe your son started the day out of sorts and kicked the heck out of your tires when he got out of the car, in the carpool drop off line, with other parents and teachers looking on. As much as I loved driving my boys to and from school, that carpool line was brutal!

Holly said...

ok, here's a story to make you feel better: When my youngest was in 1st grade, they celebrated the 100th day of school by dressing "wacky". I sent her to school with her shirt on backwards, pajama pants, and pigtails with pipecleaners in them to make her look like Pippi Longstockings. Unfortunately, I got a call from her on my arrival back home crying, saying Wacky Day was NEXT week! I'll never forget rushing back to school and seeing her forlorn self on the bench outside the school office. She's a sophomore in high school, and I still feel bad!

Laura said...

Oohhhh, Ugggh, big sigh.... I can relate to this post on ALL levels! Ever thankful for God's grace- on ALL levels!

Tulsa Court said...

Many thanks for sharing these thoughts.Its great to read some submit about this nowadays.

Kim said...

Awww, I feel your pain. I missed my son's senior awards presentation and I felt so bad. I bawled my eyes out!! No one ever warns moms about the guilt they will feel, that's for sure!! At least you have lots of time to make up for it. ((hugs))

izzy said...

Children are pure, innocent souls; they always forgive us.

So please forgive yourself. Nobody is perfect and its only normal for humans to forget at times as we age.

Coneymama said...

Oh been there done that on both of these sister! The first child was nursed for 9 months...perfectly, we had a schedule, it was sweet, bonding and then came his brother...surely it would be the same. Not. So. Much. It lasted about 3 weeks...and as I dragged myself and this poor, neglected second child to the doctor with my head hung low and sobbing, my wonderful pediatrician just looked at me and said, "Sometimes you have to say uncle, give that baby formula and move on." I loved this post....reminds me that I am not the only one that is not perfect...other loving moms out there have also let their children down! As my personal doctor told me a couple of months ago...and I continuously hear her whispering in my ear as a reminder, "Be kind to yourself."