Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Gift of Forgiveness

To say that the last few weeks have been stressful would be an understatement. Between moving (packing, cleaning, unpacking and paying extra rent), a mysterious allergic reaction that's had me on four different medications and in the ER, and the every day stresses it's been a little overwhelming.

I've been more temperamental and a lot less patient with my children. The other night I lost it. My youngest was refusing to go to sleep.She's a very playful kid and loves to laugh and play and run around. So when she sneaks out of bed, she thinks us chasing her down is a game. To be fair, when she points at me with her tiny finger and argues "but... but... but... but mom", it's hard not to laugh, which only encourages her.

In any case, I was not having it this night. I had a lot of work to catch up on and quite honestly I needed some serious alone time. So I got mad. I snapped at my oldest, who was already in bed and laying there like a perfect little angel (believe me this has been 6 years in the making) and she started to cry. She'd called my name to remind me- for the 900th time- to check on her, something I always do, but she likes to remind me anyway because she thinks it's funny. But apparently, I didn't that night.

I found myself back in their room a few minutes later cuddling in be
d- mostly out of desperation so they would go to sleep, it was a school night after all. I whispered an apology for being so grumpy. My oldest curled up behind me and whispered back, "I forgive you for yelling at me. I forgive you for everything you do to make me sad."

I was a little alarmed. I'm grateful she's willing to forgive me, but do I do that much that makes her sad? Her unabashed forgiveness for everything I've ever done wrong was surprisingly comforting. As a mom, wife, freelance writer, friend, sister and person, I get a little worn out. I feel guilty all the time and the stress of everything not being perfect all the time takes it's toll.

I've gone to bed, more often than I care to admit, tearful that I'm ruining my children and they'll never forgive me for being so distracted. But, that open and innocent love of a child really opened my eyes. Not only am I vowing to do less things to make her sad, I'm vowing to be more forgiving of myself and of others. It's OK if my kids aren't perfect in the grocery store all the time (hem hem, cranky lady who felt it was her job to parent my children), and it's OK if my dishes aren't done. It's even OK if we have cereal for dinner twice this week.

I want my kids to remember me having fun and laughing with them. Are they going to remember that I got all of my work done in a timely manner? Nope. Do I want them to remember that? Nope. What I want them to remember is that life isn't black and white. Things will rarely be smooth sailing and it's OK to mess up. It's OK to take time to laugh, smile, play and cuddle. It's OK to make mistakes. It's OK to ask forgiveness and it's more than OK to offer it freely.

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