Is it better to have one child?
It’s Thursday! That means its time for another Writer’s Workshop over at Mama’s Losin It.
1.) Happy almost Mother’s Day! Share a parenting moment where you really began to realize what this mothering thing is all about.
Motherhood is about dishing out lots and lots of grace. It’s about pushing the restart button forty million times a day, and giving everybody a clean slate. If you don’t do this, it’s very easy to morph into a bitter, angry, bitchy mom who hates her job and lives for bedtime. Wait, that’s me too.
Learning about grace kind of sucks. The very definition of grace is getting something you don’t deserve. It sounds refreshing—when it’s coming your way and it is. Like when that police officer decides he wont give you a speeding ticket, or you get an extension on a paper, or someone forgives you of the most horrible thing you’ve ever done.
Grace is forgiveness, it’s love that’s lavished, it’s the exemption of culpability. It’s wonderful.
But it’s so hard to give. The people you give it to don’t deserve it. In fact, they deserve your anger, your wrath, your vengeance. They deserve justice, gosh dangit.
Grace is amazing because it saves the wretched of the world. And we’re all pretty stinking wretched.
The other day I was lecturing Coco on how horrible she had been. Driving home her grievances and failures for the day. She needed to see how bad she had been and why she was in trouble. And then slam bam right in the middle of my furious tirade she nailed my own sin on the cross.
“But Mama, what’s grace?”
Well that shut me up. Never mind that she used previous lectures to stop me dead in my tracks—quite a savvy tactic for a three year old. Or maybe it just clicked for her like it did for me. Giving grace is different from giving people the benefit of the doubt, yet they both accomplish a similar purpose. They both grant freedom from being seen in your worst possible light.
So what do I say? Well, being rendered speechless, something that doesn’t happen often for me—it took me awhile to come up with an answer.
I went over my baby-food version of the meaty truth. But you can’t water down grace. Sure, I softened the blow as best as I could. But in order to understand grace you have to know why you need it.
At some point you have to let your children in on the secret that the universe doesn’t revolve around them.
[Don’t worry, I didn’t say all of this to my daughter. This is the steak and eggs version of the baby food I gave her.]
You good for nothing three year old. Yah, you’re cute and all, but do you realize the amount of pain it took me to get you into this world? It hurt for me to get you out of that womb—I cried, I bled, I’m scarred because of you. Each day I feed you, clothe you, love you, and protect you from harm. Sometimes you love me back.
Most days you throw that love back in my face. Spaghetti on the walls and tantrums in Target. You rage against me, shaking your tiny, grubby fists. Do you not realize how small you are?
You got out of bed twenty times—said you were scared, even though you knew I was just behind that wall. You’re scared of bedtime and you don’t even know the evil, the destruction, and the pain that I protect you from minute by minute, day by day.
You’ve been here three years. You haven’t paid me a dime for all my work. In fact, you’ve cost me thousands of dollars. You’ll continue to cost me for the rest of my life. I’d give anything and everything for you.
Today, especially today, you’ve been a brute. It’s entirely within my rights to put you to bed without your precious milk and honey, your beloved bedtime stories, and without your treasured songs. You don’t deserve any of it. I could shut this door right now and not see you until the morning.
But instead, I’m going to give you grace. I’m going to give you lots of it. I’m going to forgive you and give you a clean slate. I’m going to hold you and cherish you all night. And I will serve you your milk and honey, read you your stories, and gladly sing you those songs.
This, my sweet girl, is grace, and my furious love for you cannot even compete with the love my God has for you. He’ll blow you away someday. He’ll give you the real milk and honey, show you the greatest story ever told, and sing songs to your soul.
Because that’s what he does for me. Even on the days where I throw it all back in his face – where I act like the ultimate brute – I get to start over fresh. I get grace in abundance. And that’s what I want to give to you, my sweet girl.
As crazy as it sounds, once I give that expensive, irrational, beloved grace – I see you in a different light. I fall in love all over again and can do my job without any bitterness or resentment. All things new.
I know it’s hard to think about—it’s hard for me. We have to see ourselves for what we truly are in order to fully appreciate what we’re getting. You’ll really get the point when you have kids someday. When you have to die to yourself a million times a day – when your needs are the very last things that get met – and when you feel the world is full of tiny dictators whipping you into action at every waking moment.
When you’re a mom, grace gets real. Grimy, spaghetti-stained, snot crusted, tear drenched and smelling like poop. Grace get’s really real.