Yesterday was a come-back day for mothering. Where your patience and productivity and pride is high. The weather helps I’m sure.
Gertie absolutely loves the trampoline. And it’s actually good for her to practice her reflexive moves (catching herself before she falls.) But really it’s just a giant play pen so I can wander through our trees “checking on them.”
We took turns “cracking the egg” and I fumbled with my camera to get this shot of Ruthie and Annie before they broke apart. They were making a plan of attack to get me to unhook my arms from around my legs. I make them answer all the time: “Who are your best friends?” “My sisters.” I know it’s inevitable, the future teenage fights, but there’s a part of me that hopes they all three will grow into besties during those turbulent years. And if that means it’s them vs me, at least they are banding together.
I follow a group called “Play at Home Mom” and they have the best ideas for creating a creative environment for your kids. In the back of my mind, I also know that you literally need nothing because kids will come up with their own games, but it’s also fun to have a few things to encourage it.
One mom suggested a fish cleaning table as their outdoor kitchen and so when I saw one on clearance, I scooped it up. It has been so fun so far. It creates a sort of mud pool at the end, we’re trying to figure out where to route the excess water, but mud is Annie’s love language, so I might as well leave it be for now.
One of my favorite things to say is “Go wash your feet off before coming in!” That brings me joy.
We were having breakfast for dinner and so we made biscuits to go along with it. They were proud as can be with how it came out.
While Gertie napped, I finished up a lot of things for our Amazing Race in a couple weeks. So by the time Ryan got home, I was beyond satisfied.
But Sunday? This is what I mean about it being a come back day. Because Sunday I was sorely disappointed in myself. It’s almost like the family dynamic builds and builds and builds, then explodes. Then we reset the next day. Sunday was that explosion.
So when I talk about how you don’t know what type of parent you’ll be until you become one, it always surprises, then saddens me that I am a yeller. A full-on, I will get in your face, ugly yeller. It doesn’t happen every day, it doesn’t happen every time they disobey me, but when it does, it takes the room by storm. And it breaks my heart.
Sunday night I hardly slept. I was overcome with shame and disappointment in what my expectations of myself were and what they’ve turned out to be.
Thing is, I don’t remember a lot of yelling growing up. A few big fights. But just like I told our small group during the marriage course we took in the fall, I don’t remember my parents arguing. Everyone was like, What? Wow!! That’s amazing!
And it is.
But then I realized that even though I didn’t hear them fight, I didn’t hear them make up either. I don’t remember ever apologizing to my siblings or them saying sorry to me.
So if there’s one gleam of light I can take from owning my shortcoming, it’s that I’ve had to model to them asking for forgiveness as well as forgiving. Over. And over. I’ve prayed for myself in front of them. Not like a “Lord help me not just spank this child!” dramatic line, but a true plea for help. We’ve held hands in a circle, repeating our love for each other, even though none of us want to. We’ve hugged even when we want to be alone. If they read this when they’re older, I hope they see that I am trying.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23