Welcome to my third podcast episode. The first six episodes I created a series about “Embracing Grace”. Last week I shared with you about times when I wasn’t able to keep my son from being hurt. The first week, I shared with you about times when I couldn’t keep my son from being hurt. Last week, I talked to you about what happens when you explode. This week I want to talk just for a few minutes about those times when you, without trying to, sound like your parents. I hope that today you walk away from this podcast feeling encouraged, a little less lonely and filled with a little more grace for yourself. Read along or click the link (photo) below and listen in. I hope that you walk away feeling encouraged and a little less lonely and scared. I hope that you hear that you should give yourself some grace.
I have created mental notebooks for things I would never do or say in specific instances. One of those notebooks is things that I swore I would never say to my kid. You know those things like:
“Money doesn’t grow on trees you know”
“Were you raised in a barn?”
“If so and so jumped off a bridge would you jump off the bridge too?”
“I’ll give you something to cry about”
One thing that has always stuck in my head was one time when I was in high school I had bought a dress with my own money. It was a really nice dress. A dry clean only dress. I loved this dress. My mom washed and dried the dress. It did not fit the same. I was devastated. I had been so proud of that dress and that I had bought it with my own money. I yelled and cried and cried and yelled. My mom, apparently tired of listening to me shouted at me “Maybe it doesn’t fit because your fat”. Did my mom mean that? Probably not. Was she frustrated? Probably. That day and that story has stuck in my head forever and from that my notebook of things I’d never say to my kid was created.
I’m sure that you could give me a list of so many things that your parents said to you. My list is not very long, but there are definitely some things that I said I would never say. I have to admit that I am actually pretty good at keeping to most of my commitments, but I have to be honest and say that there are a few that have spewed out of my mouth.
For instance, Joe is six years old. Right before covid hit Joseph was admitted to the hospital for a few days because he stopped breathing on me. Trying to ensure that we protect him from gross germs is one of our priorities, but Joe oftentimes has other plans on how he would like to build his immunity. I feel like every mom of boys is going to feel me on this. Note, not that girls do not do it. I’m sure they do, but I’ve never seen them, but boys… I’ve seen too many. I remember walking in to church one day before I had Joe and we were following behind a family. We had stopped to chat casually. The other family’s young son walked up to the church door and licked the door hands from bottom to top. I remember laughing, but thinking my kid will never do that. Go ahead and laugh… I do often. I cannot tell you how often I catch Joe licking something in public places. One time, shortly after the hospital stay it was along the sink counter edge of a public bathroom. Yes! That is right…. You heard me. The edge of a sink in a publick restroom. Most of the time I am pretty good. I tell him to stop and will grab his hand to bring him closer to me so that I can keep him from doing this again.
Last summer, we were in Hobby Lobby. We were in the checkout line. We moved up close enough so that we were standing in front of the candy display. Next in line. Almost home free. Dan and I were chatting with each other. I glanced down at Joe and there he was from left to right. Licking the front of the plastic the covers the prices of the candy on the display. Before I could even think of what I was doing, my hands, full of purchases, found a way to flick him in the back of the head and when he looked up at me with shock in his eyes and tears forming I said those dreaded words. Say it with me if you know what it was. I looked him square in the eyes and said “What in the world is WRONG with you?”.
I felt awful almost immediately. Plus I wanted to just die. I sounded like one of my parents. Right there. In public. Loudly. Ugh! When we got out to the car I apologized to Joe and told him that I would do my very best to never say something like that again.
Now, there are some statements that are an absolute no for me and I am hardcore about it even when I hear other people say it to their kids. Things like:
“Stop being a Sally”
“You’re whining like a girl”
“Stop crying. You’re fine”
Anything that sounds like it would disregard the feelings of a child is a hard pass for me. I may not like their feelings or drama, but it doesn’t mean that their feelings are not valid to them.
The Hobby Lobby incident wasn’t the first and I’m sure it will not be the last time I say something that could be hurtful. I could beat myself up over it for days. But I choose to move forward. Why? Because I am, like my parents, less than perfect. So I will ask for forgiveness, learn from the incident and move forward with some extra grace.
You too friends! Grab that little one up. Snuggle them. Apologize and then give yourself some grace.
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