Raising Boys With Forgiving Hearts
As I run my hand across the kitchen table I can feel the sticky grit left behind from my oldest's breakfast.
I lower my head in ultimate exasperation. How many times have I told him to keep his pancakes on his plate?
I trot to the kitchen and wet down a rag to clean up the mess. Just as I make the first swipe across the wood I hear it:
Wahhhhh! the baby screams.
His cries are swiftly followed by, "I didn't do it!"
Of course, I know that's not the entire truth. And my suspicions prove correct when I walk into the living room to find my four-year-old laying across his ten-month-old brother, pinning him to the ground like a WWE superstar.
"We were just playing, mom," he says.
Anger bubbles up in me—like it has so often this year during all this extra time together—and I open my mouth to shout. "What on earth do you think you're doing!? Get OFF of him!"
In two steps I'm across the room, yanking him off of his brother and sitting him on the couch. I'm ready to scream some more but stop mid-yell. It's not my finest moment by any means. But what stops me isn't my own good sense.
It's his eyes.
His watering baby blues tell me this is not the mom he knows and loves.
And that breaks me.
My arms, still tensed from anger, pull him to my chest as big, heaving sobs escape my lungs.
"I'm so sorry," I whisper into his ear.
And I am.
But a small part of me fears the day the anger bubbles up again. Because this is not me. I am a loving mother. A patient mother. And yet I let myself have my own personal temper tantrum. To give in to anger when I should have bowed down to grace.
"Please forgive me," I say as I stroke his soft hair. "I didn't mean to lose my temper."
He nods his head and wipes one last tear.
"I forgive you, mom."
And I know he means it.
Tomorrow I'll do better. But if I don't, this will always be my next step. To ask for forgiveness—without making excuses. Because one day my son is going to mess up. And when he does, I hope the last thing off his lips is another excuse for doing what he did.
And I hope the first thing he says are those three profound, yet simple words.
"Please forgive me."