October 24: Grace to Parent One More Day

Today was a gorgeous day to walk around at the Zoo. The leaves sprinkled the paths like confetti with colors of orange, red, yellow, and brown. The shade was quite chilly, but the sun made up for it with it's penetrating warmth. Vultures basked in the golden rays and and zebras swished the last of the buzzing insects away with their tufty tails.

And I was frustrated.

Just mildly. It simmered subtly below the surface, as it seems to many days when the children are home from school.

I wish it wasn't there. Some days I don't even notice it's there until after lunch, but then it rears it's sneaky head when the children refuse to lay down for a nap and cut into "my time." Other days it's present before my feet even hit the floor in the morning, because I can hear little hands getting into the sugar and sprinkles and ice cream downstairs. Frustration is acutely aware that they're not allowed to do that.

Deep down, frustration is there because I'm scared. I'm afraid that even though I tell him 1,000,000 times that "sugar is not breakfast," he will never learn. I'm afraid that I will spend a better part of my lifetime correcting and disciplining and encouraging and teaching and nothing will come of it. That I'll say "stay off of that" and "don't climb on that" and "don't you dare ever jump in there with the lions  again" and they will never really get it.

That I'll just spin my wheels until I'm exhausted and blue in the face. Or until there's blue all over the carpet because the dog stepped in the artwork and tracked his very blue feet step by little furry step all around the house.

And some days I do. Spin my wheels, that is.

I want someone to just tell me that it's worth it. That all the words, all the disciplining, all the painful, agonizing repetition will pay off. Someday. Preferably sooner then later.

That when we go to the zoo, someday, I won't have to tell the children not to jump on this and climb on that and stay away from the wild animals. Especially the ones that could eat them.

But I suppose it's not just them. I'm still figuring it out, too. I'm still doing it wrong, learning from my mistakes, and doing better next time. Sometimes. Although I know that I need grace, I often struggle to extend it to the kids. I feel they should know better by now. I'm sick of telling them. I hate that parenting can seem like a black hole--most days I pour out my everything, only for it to be sucked into a bottomless vortex, never to be seen again.

We didn't fail! We just discovered another way of doing it wrong. Plus, this is the closest I've come to [getting it right].  Annedroid

It would be nice if we were just "transformed" and didn't have to wade through the messy process of failure. But in the living lies the learning, and failure begets wisdom. I guess most of life is about discovering all the ways of doing it wrong, and by God's grace, eventually getting it right.

Once we realize that all we are, all we have, and all we're able to do is by His grace and His grace alone, it becomes much easier to give some of that amazing grace away. Grace to parent one more day.