Mother and child
Sunday February 21st 2010, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

They teach us patience when they’re little so that we have it on hand when they become too big to scoop up into our arms and make it all better with the simplicity of a hug.

A young mom with two adorable boys ages three and one-something and one on the way was one of the speakers at church today.   Her topic was repentance.

She said there had been an incident, (for which the details were irrelevant because the whole thing was so universal), but basically, her older boy had done some behavior in public that she had felt in a moment of fatigue had made her look bad as his mother.  She’d been cross with her sweet little boy.

And then she’d felt horrible.

Okay, is there a single mother out there who can’t relate to that?  Who doesn’t understand that yes, you are the mother and yes you should be in control of your own reactions, but who nevertheless gets what it’s like to have little ones out in public acting normal for their age in a society that looks down on them unless they’re behaving like little adults with an absolute decorum that even adults don’t always master, to be sleep-deprived, tired, pregnant, and–well, just plain needing a moment in the time-out corner oneself. With perhaps a good pillow.  Or a mug of hot cocoa and a little me time.  You know, I got seriously back into knitting when my own kids were little: it was something creative and of my own choosing, beautiful, and–this is important–that Stayed Done.

She described repentance as being when she and her pride have a stare-down contest in the mirror.

And so she’d apologized to her little boy for her flare of temper.  He, of course, had simply thrown his arms around her and told her “I love you Mommy!” with the complete and utter adoration of a small child. Total heartmelt.

She likened God’s forgiveness, which so easily blesses us when we seek it in acknowledging our shortcomings, to the pureness of her little son’s.

And I sat there and thought, and the other thing God gives us? Grandparents for your children. I include in that category anyone whose own little ones are bigger than they are by now, who remembers the days, who would love to be charmed by that all-NO!-ing toddler, ready to smile or play or sing them out of it to give the moms a chance to regroup.  Even just a smile in a needed moment can make all the difference.

Totally count me in.  That’s what I’m here for.

17 Comments so far
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It’s one of the things I miss most because even now there are very few things that can’t be improved by a hug.

Comment by kelli 02.22.10 @ 12:34 am

“…all-NO!-ing toddler…”

You have such a brilliant way with words! And a brilliant way with people of all ages. Have I said “thank you” to you lately for your compassion and understanding about people? I want to be like you when I grow up.

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 02.22.10 @ 12:53 am

And they come back and make you cry.I have had about six weeks of misery. Yesterday, while I was at work, my 23 year old called and told me that she would meet me at my house. She would make dinner and get started on the hammantashen (I had forgotten all about Purim!) and that she would make sure to pet the cats who missed me. She didn’t ask for anything, she didn’t want anything, she just DID it. And her twin called to say she would be home this weekend and she was dragging me to Purim services because “you need it Mom.”

Sometimes it comes back to kiss you on the cheek.

Comment by afton 02.22.10 @ 5:52 am

I have yet to be a mother but it doesn’t stop me from smiling when reading this post.

Thank you!

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 02.22.10 @ 6:58 am

Beautiful, perfect. Thank you for sharing that.

Comment by Channon 02.22.10 @ 7:16 am

Oh Boy! I can relate to being that mother! I wrote my kids a letter when they were going off to college to apologize for those times when I was less than motherly to them, but hoped they knew how unconditionally I loved them. I must say they turned out to be pretty great adults. But I still hug them and tell them how much I love them so the good times will stand out in their memories. Thanks for letting us moms know we’re not the only ones who may have slipped now and then.

Comment by Jody M 02.22.10 @ 7:36 am

yes and yes again — I simply could not have managed as a new mom without the support of friends as I lived too far away from family for them to help

I am eternally grateful for those people who said “come stay with us for a day or two”

and yes, I am now blessed that that child now says things to me like “don’t worry about it mom you’re just having a bad day”

a lyric from The Sound of Music comes to my head “somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”

Comment by Bev 02.22.10 @ 8:53 am

I’m not a mother, nor are there any small children around (does a small bird count?), but the sentiment is completely relevant. There are times when someone says or does something of which I disapprove, and I have to stop and think, “Is this an issue worth getting upset over?” The answer is usually “No.”

Humor –

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces — and then only eat one piece.

Comment by Don Meyer 02.22.10 @ 10:48 am

I got to spend time with our 18-month-old Sean this weekend :-}
And on Friday, I became a Great Aunt with the arrival of brand new little Levi :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.22.10 @ 2:21 pm

Count me in, too, dear Alison. It’s great to be at this stage and I’m ready to help with the little ones ANYTIME!!!!! XX

Comment by Karen 02.22.10 @ 3:18 pm

I’ve never been a kid-friendly type of person, as my daughter will be the first to attest. When Kitty was 3, I had to change day care, and found a wonderful Montessori school. We toured the school, Kitty seemed to be okay with it, and then every day for the next six weeks she would SCREAM as I walked her inside. I received a phone call telling me that she would not be able to continue unless something was done, and I just about lost it — but tried very hard not to yell.

Imagine my surprise when the next day Kitty squared her shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’m not going to cry anymore, Mommy.” She gave me a hug and marched into the school by herself, and I, myself, howled all the way to work and through most of the day. I still ask myself if I, really, am the parent.

Comment by Patricia Day 02.22.10 @ 4:02 pm

I was once reminded by a wise colleague when I was bravely teaching in a Waldorf kindergarten while having a kindergartener myself that my daughter was only doing what young children do. She wasn’t out to get me, or ruin my day. Just being herself, because at 3,4,5…12 she was only able to be aware in accordance to her development. Having a verbose and precocious child, that was (has been) hard for me to remember…yet it has stayed with me always. It has gifted me with a patience beyond myself at crucial moments.

Rewind to one of the first moments that I ventured out with my small babe…to the almighty grocery (!). A delightful and insanely easy baby, she drew a wild hair and began to cry in the dairy section. Desperate to get complete my simple task, I stopped in the aisle and tried to appease her. A young mother, I was painfully aware of the discomfort that crying babies give others and I was near tears trying to get her to stop. A grandma -in-waiting- pulled her cart up next to mine and touched my arm. “What a beautiful baby.” Wistfully, I tried to smile back and mutter gratitude. She made sure I met her eyes as she smiled to me…”She isn’t nearly as loud as you think she is, honey. You are doing fine.” I almost collapsed in tears right there.

I have always been acutely aware of opportunities that I can pass that advice on to other mothers I encounter. It allowed me to finish getting the basics for my new family that day, as well as give myself a reality check. I hope that it has allowed others to do the same.

Coincidentally, that babe is a week away from turning 13. We just had a ceremony welcoming her to the great Circle of women, in which all the women that have encountered her represented themselves…an impressive showing. I was reduced to tears again as I encountered the help I had along the way, as well as the harvest that patience in her “unfolding” has manifested for her.

Keep passing it on. We over-punish ourselves, as well as inhibit them in their work. This is the soil in which peace can root….

Comment by Andi 02.22.10 @ 5:12 pm

Beautiful story! Thank you so much. I had “a moment” yesterday with my 15 year old and instantly regretted the attitude, although not the substance, of my reaction. But, he remains a lovely, forgiving human being. Thank goodness!

Thanks again for sharing!


Comment by Beth R 02.22.10 @ 8:48 pm

So really you are telling us that you are going to be a grandmother soon…? 😉

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 02.23.10 @ 8:36 am

Not for my own yet.

Comment by AlisonH 02.23.10 @ 10:58 am

Last year, a deacon at our church told me that everytime my son touched him (because my boy LOVES to touch cheeks and chins…especially a man’s when it’s a little bit scratchy) that he felt blessed. If only we could remember what a blessing our children are BEFORE we act out, and not after!

Comment by Momo Fali 02.24.10 @ 6:34 pm

Thank you. As always. 🙂

Comment by Kristine 02.27.10 @ 6:59 am

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