Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Terrible Awful

A few days ago I had a wake up call that reminded me that motherhood will not always be as I know it now.  One of our children did something that in our house will probably always be remembered as "the Terrible Awful" (name taken from the book "The Help").  I was shocked, disappointed, angry, and just about every other emotion that comes along when your child does something that it is far beneath them.

After a severe reprimand and taking away some privileges, I stood at the kitchen sink fuming as I washed the dinner dishes.  Where had I failed as a mother to make him think that would ever be okay?  Is this how it feels to be truly disappointed in someone?  Because if it is, this is a first for me.  So this is what mothers with older children mean when they look at me with my four little ducklings and tell me to enjoy these days- it's because after the diapers, sleepless nights, and car seats comes this.

After simmering down a bit I went up to his room and found him huddled in a corner with his head in his knees, sobbing.  I sat down next to him and asked him, "Why are you crying?  Are you sad that you were grounded?"

He looked up with red, swollen, watery eyes and sobbed, "No... I just can't believe I did that!"  He reached up, wrapped his little arms around my neck and continued to sob.  As we talked more about it, he never mentioned the privileges lost, only heart-wrenching remorse for his actions.

After the kids were tucked into bed with hugs and reassurances that "mom and dad still love you very much" and that "it's in the past," I couldn't help but breath a sigh of relief.  It was there- the pricking of the heart when wrong is done and a desire to make things right again.

And so that night a sliver of light was shed on some of the obstacles that lay ahead... and it terrifies me.  I realize that as a mother I will never be able to squeeze them into a little mold of who I think they should be no matter how noble my motives might be.  The decisions they make and who they choose to be are wild cards and in a way it leaves me feeling terribly helpless.  But even as I sense the unchartered mine fields that lay ahead, there come moments of sweetness as I see them into growing loving little people.  Little people with a sincere desire to be good and kind despite my own poor example at times.  I realize there will be many times when all I can do is hold on tight and provide a soft place to fall after the tumble.  It's this realization that makes me savor these times of formula, potty-training, and high chairs, and brace myself for the ride ahead.

7 comments:

Liz Johnson said...

Ugh, I'm not looking forward to those days. This is a lovely reminder to savor the simplicity that I have now (even if the simplicity is utter chaos).

AllisonK said...

Nothing can prepare you for these moments, even if you've had them they still hurt and rock you. One of the joys of parenthood. You are all wonderful hang in there it is a great ride.

Samantha Falcon said...

Thank you for your insight Rita. You are a great example to me, especially in my early motherhood! :)

Me said...

Beautifully expressed. You are a wise mentor.

Merrick Family said...

Yes, it has been quite the adventure entering this new phase! But each phase is beautiful in it's own way.

Merrick Family said...

Yes, I really am enjoying this phase, as I have with each of the phases they have passed through (some more than others though... :) ). I realize every stage will have it's own perks and it's own downfalls and it's just a matter of savoring the perks.

Merrick Family said...

Thanks, that's sweet of you. I'm excited for you to be able to share your little journey with your sweet little one. It really is wonderful, regardless of the hard moments, as I'm sure you already know.