Saturday’s Shortcomings and Sunday’s Sin

We were on our date when I posed the question.

“Buddy, what are some things that Mommy is doing well in being your mommy?”

“Well, you do a good job of taking care of us.”

“Okay, but what are some specific things that I do to take care of you and love you?”

“Ummm…you just do the things you do, and they are nice.”

“Okay, but what do I do that makes you feel loved? What is nice?”

“Mommy! I don’t really know…you just love us!!!” 

“Okay, well…what are some things that Mommy is not doing well? Some things I need to work on in being your mommy?”

“Oh, I don’t know…you are doing a lot of right things.” 

I stopped my line of questioning because it was going nowhere fast not as I had expected.

But before I go further, let me give the following disclaimer:

I promise I wasn’t seeking affirmation and songs of praise from my four year-old; I promise.

All I really wanted from our car-ride conversation was to provide my little one an open space and a safe place for him to share his thoughts and feelings. I wanted to give him an opportunity to share his experience, air his opinions, and provide feedback. I wanted to give him a place to speak truth to my mama heart and challenge the areas in my parenting “eyes” that may be blind and/or “missing it.”

Why?

Because I don’t want to presume that I’m loving my children in the ways that they need, and I don’t want to assume that there isn’t room for my growth in loving them. 

But as I listened to his answers, I was struck by the core of what he said…struck by what he values and where he focuses.

“Mommy! I don’t really know…you just love us!!!” 

“Oh, I don’t know…you are doing a lot of right things.” 

He wasn’t focusing on my inadequacies and my shortcomings; he wasn’t drawing attention to the ways I’ve failed and fallen; and he wasn’t highlighting my “bad” and my “sucky.”

He didn’t remind me of the times when I’ve been distracted; he didn’t recall the moments when I’ve been irritable; and he didn’t rehearse the days when I was unintentional, unloving, and unaware.

He didn’t have a running list of things I could do better, a tally of my mistakes, a summary of my weaknesses, or a readied account of the ways he’s felt neglected, wounded, or mistreated.

In short, he wasn’t keeping a record of wrongs like the one I often keep. 

No, my son was focusing on the many “right things” I do and the many ways I “just love” him…love them.

Because when my son thinks about my love, he isn’t necessarily remembering…

Monday’s messy,

Tuesday’s tantrums,

Wednesday’s worries,

Thursday’s thorns,

Friday’s fights,

Saturday’s shortcomings, and

Sunday’s sin.

No; that is NOT AT ALL what he is doing…NOT AT ALL where he is living and landing. NOT. AT. ALL.

So, if I could give my mama-self an open space and a safe place for some parenting feedback, this is what I would say to me.

“Mama, stop reliving all your weaknesses and stop recalling all your wrongs, and start remembering with grace…all the good.”

Why?

“Because they don’t always see and perceive what you choose to remember and hold.” 

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