This week has been a strange week.
After last week’s terrible strep throat and being totally down for the count, I spent this week picking up the pieces and pulling my life back together.
It’s also been a time of strange wandering. I’ve been feeling a little bit like I have no direction. I was just hitting my stride when strep hit, and I felt like it threw me back big time.
I’ve been feeling a little lost lately. Without purpose or plan.
So much so that I’ve been grumpy, impatient, and lazy.
Then on Thursday, everything changed.
We had woken up late for school, like we’ve been doing lately, since I’ve been lazy and unmotivated. I started out with just a mild sense of urgency with the kids.
That quickly became frantic rushing, which grew to nagging and exasperation. I was rolling my eyes, reminding the kids not so nicely to hurry, showing very little grace to the tired little humans I was tripping all over trying to get out the door.
I rudely buckled my kids into the car and we were off. We were cutting it close at Noah’s school, so I knew that I’d have to drop him off in front of the school instead of at the playground to have a few minutes to catch his breath before school.
As I lurched to a stop at the curb, I told him rather gruffly that he needed to shove that last piece of toast in his mouth, grab his backpack, hop out of the van, and run inside.
He’s never gone in this way before.
I watched in the rearview mirror as the face of my sweet, tiny little kindergartener dropped. He said very timidly, “Mom, I’m nervous. I don’t know what to do.”
So, being the mother of the year that I am, I snapped at him, “You just walk right in, Noah. You know right where to go. Now hop out!”
He started getting worked up and overwhelmed by the prospect of walking into the school alone.
So naturally, being the nurturing, kind, loving mom that I always want to be (sense my sarcasm here), I let out a huge sigh, threw the car in drive, flew into a parking spot with a huff, and rolled not just my eyes, but my whole head.
Noah quickly grabbed his backpack and bolted out of the car, as I threw my little temper tantrum while grabbing Aidan out of his seat.
We rushed inside, I pushed him toward the door, and as an afterthought muttered, “Have a good day, bud. Love you.”
To which he quietly responded, “K. Love you, too.”
I picked up Aidan so I wouldn’t have to remind him 469 times to hurry on the way back to the car, and dropped him in his seat and buckled him in, barely even registering the conversation he was trying to start with me in my hurry.
I drove out of the parking lot and got about 45 seconds down the road when the memory of Noah’s brokenhearted little face came flying at me, bringing with it all the guilt and shame it could find.
I felt sick.
I was awful.
How could I have been so mean?
I immediately flipped a U-turn and rushed back to the school.
Aidan was baffled. Also, he was probably a little bit scared that I was officially losing it, rushing back to the place I was just so eager to leave.
I pulled him out of his car seat much more kindly and under control this time. I held his hand as we walked calmly back to the school.
I stopped to sign in at the visitor’s log, acutely aware that I was wearing mismatched workout clothes and had not brushed my hair, and very likely, not my teeth, either.
I walked to Noah’s classroom and quietly asked if I could take Noah into the hall for a few minutes.
I sat down on the floor and pulled the boys down in front of me.
I looked them both in the eye and said, “I am so sorry that I was mean today. I was so unkind and I was in too big of a hurry. I didn’t use nice words or kind hands. I am so sorry that I wasn’t understanding when you were nervous about coming inside by yourself. I hope you guys will forgive me and that you have wonderful days today at school.”
Noah, in his baffling maturity, looked me over, and then confidently said, “It’s okay, Mom. I forgive you,” while Aidan solemnly nodded.
That was exactly what I needed to snap me out of my funk.
I’m not fighting AGAINST my kids in their lives.
I’m supposed to be fighting FOR my kids.
We’re on the same side, and I’m the one who’s been left in charge of this side. Of protecting those entrusted to my care.
How can I protect them, when I’m the one they need to be protected from here?
I was reminded that day that I was created to be an ezer kenegdo.
A defender, deliverer.
I was meant to be fighting for my sons. An example of a warrior for my Spartans. So much of that means leading by example. I needed to show them how to behave properly, with a kind heart and a good attitude. But I also needed to show them how to humble themselves enough to recognize their shortcomings and ask for forgiveness.
I’ve been reminded that I have a huge job as a wife and mom, but even bigger as a woman. It’s my responsibility to defend the Gospel and bring glory to God by my actions as a warrior.
I got up and gave both the boys big hugs and told them how much I loved them and how grateful I was that they had forgiven me.
I walked back to the front office to check out, and as I reached for the pen to sign out, I noticed the column next to my name that said “Reason for visit.” At the same time, the lady behind the desk said, “Oh what were you doing here? Weren’t you just here?”
To which I responded, “I came back to apologize for being a mean mom this morning.”
Bless her heart — she looked like I had slapped her.
She quickly recovered and cheerfully said, “Oh, well we all have those days. Don’t beat yourself up!”
While I agree that I shouldn’t let the guilt and shame eat me up anymore, I couldn’t just let it go. I needed to let my children see me apologize. We were all acutely aware of my bad attitude, so if I had just used my position of authority and power to excuse my behavior, I would’ve lost so much.
I would have lost a little piece of my boys that I never would have gotten back.
A good leader leads by example. I have been reminded of that this week.
I’ve spent the last few days begging God to wake me up and remind me of my calling as an ezer kenegdo.
To pull me out of my grumpiness and lack of direction and give me a renewed sense of purpose. A plan and a better attitude.
You are an ezer kenegdo, too. I pray that God pulls us all out of our busyness to remind us of that.
Our Spartans are depending on us.
Have you ever apologized to your kids for your behavior? Have you ever had to write it in the visitors log like me?