The Grace of Parenting

mother_child_4Bringing my daughter to tears on the first day of Middle School was not one of my shining moments.

Everything was going swimmingly, save for some new-school year jitters. Supplies were secured, the new outfit was clean, and the alarm clock succeeded in waking Peach in plenty of time to catch the bus. I coasted through the process with the inflated confidence of a seasoned mother who, it turns out, may be a bit too desensitized for the very fact of having mucho experience.

Peach approached me and my cup of morning tea with concern over what to bring on the first day – all her supplies? Just some? My recommendation was followed with a rebuttal, “But Mary’s mom said…..”

I repeated my recommendation with supportive reasoning.

With elevated pitch, Peach rebutted, “But Mary’s mom said…..”

Feeling agitated at having to defend advice that was requested, I re-stated my opinion more forcefully with unnecessary supplementation of facts.

“But Mary’s mom said….”

I lost it.

In my loudest possible voice I castigated poor Peach for her insinuation that my answer to her question was substandard. I suggested that Peach may want to go live with Mary since her mom was apparently wiser than me. The remainder of my rant reduced Peach to a state of utter despair and dejection which, as it should, left me feeling like a sh*t.

As my self-reproach was inadequate in absorbing my guilt, I called Friend to confess. She commiserated with her own stories of morning mayhem.

Friend had thought she was prepared, ‘locked and loaded’ was her term. Smooth sailing was all but guaranteed. Until…her teen son called her cell phone from upstairs in his bedroom to complain that, despite the weekend shopping trip, he had nothing to wear.

Despite our best efforts at planning, prepping, and managing, the forces that surround the back-to-school routine have power beyond those of the super-est of supermoms.

Lucky for me, Peach is a wise and courageous little soul who re-entered my sphere of anger that morning with an apology and a renewed request for assistance. I responded in kind with apologies of my own and together we sat on the floor pulling apart her backpack to decide what was needed.

How I wish I had the presence to do this in the first place! It would have avoided the ugliness. But then, this is the grace of parenting. Redemption. We fail and we are forgiven. Repeatedly. This is the magic I cherish.

In a bit of a rush after the backpack dilemma, I asked Peach to sit on the porch steps for a photo.  I noticed, as she ran ahead of me to the bus, that her white shorts were now black from the dirty step.  Good Lord, could I make her day any worse?  Yes, apparently.  Peach informed me at the end of the day that I had failed to send in the food pantry donation that was being accepted only on the first day of school.  Peach was the only one who forgot.

Grace, I beg.  Grace.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deb Dunham
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 20:55:22

    Screw up and clean up. Simple. We are all fallible and forgivable.


  2. Sacha
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 13:57:48

    Oh your vulnerability in sharing your parental pain never ceases to dazzle me. Yep, you didn’t do the perfect parent response AND you sure get an A plus for grand recovery. I keep thinking about being a child in your home and how different my life would have been if we all just cleaned up anything we screwed up. Clearly your children move thru life knowing that everyone isn’t perfect nor do they have to be because sometimes we all just blow it. The learning is what we do next. As always, I”m inspired. Thanks for sharing your human human-ness.


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