I’ve felt off my parenting game for the last couple of months. We made the decision to move from Dallas in May, made the move to Provo in June, and our belongings didn’t arrive here until the end of July. It’s been a whirlwind for a family that has been creating our own whirlwinds since 2012.
As much as this shouldn’t impact how good of a parent I am, at times, it has. In the life we have chosen for ourselves, a lot of adaptability is required, and I am constantly tempering my impulse to “wait” until things are settled before I really step up.
Stepping up–to goals, to routines, to settling in– requires annoyingly repetitive personal pep talks and external reminders that life is happening now, and the small moments today are what make up the big advances of my future.
In the midst of it all, my kids. Perfectly childish and childlike, they vacillate every moment of their lives between joyous and carefree, to overcome with giant emotions and concern for detail.
My greatest guilt doesn’t come from feeling like a bad mom… it comes from feeling like I cannot possibly accept all of the unabashed, unfiltered, uncontrolled love they have for me.
Like, “Hey kids- I was actually kind of a jerk today- you’re supposed to be angry and hold it over me for awhile, and THEN ask me to play a game with you. Don’t you know you’re not supposed to be so obvious about your devotion to me? Have I failed you in your future negotiation and playing-hard-to-get skills?”
It is not easy on a sub-par, C- parenting day, to embrace this gift– even if it is the very thing that will nudge that grade higher the next day.
Last week I was lying next to my oldest son as he was going to sleep, throwing in some extra cuddles as a last ditch effort to reconnect on a day I felt I had blown up good.
I was holding him and silently praying to God to help him not internalize any of my moodiness or take any of my dismissiveness personally… to help him know through and through that I love him, and to help me show him that more fully the next day.
As those last words went through my mind, my boy turned to my ear, his little lips grazing my temple, and whispered,
“You are so, so good.”
Right then, I was a child and a mother all at once.
There is nothing closer to the voice of God than the voice of a child, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to believe the sentiment: that as bad as I feel, I am good. God knows it, and my son knows it.
A moment later, he leaned over again and said, “You’re a good person, Mom.”
At the risk of speaking out of turn and saying something that’s not true in every single situation, I want to say this, to you, my reader, to whom I’m 99.99% sure this applies:
You’re good, even when you’re bad. You are better than you think.
You are so, so good.