There is Grace

I am not a yeller. It’s just not who I am.

I don’t yell at my husband. I don’t yell at my kids. I don’t yell at my friends. I’m not saying I’m a better person than those who yell, I’m just saying that I don’t happen to be a yeller.

But every now and then, a yell creeps in and comes barreling out of my mouth, surprising me and everyone around me. It’s not pretty. I’m nearly always instantly ashamed.

It happened just a few weeks ago. Zippy was having one of his typical mornings while I was frantically trying to finish packing for church camp.

And there you have the key ingredients of the moment: a child whose meds haven’t kicked in yet, that same child whose feelings of excitement and anxiety about leaving real soon for camp perhaps added to his overall mess of a morning, and a stressed out mama who had procrastinated getting her stuff done who was pretty stressed at this point.

For the uninitiated, the above ingredients rarely end up pretty.

I had tried to be patient with 12-year-old Zippy. I had already asked him several times to chill out. I was really working to finish up. He had been pretty constantly causing me to get off task and requiring me to have conversations that I just didn’t feel like having at the moment. Neither one of us were aware that my fuse had grown ever so short in the hectic moments of the morning.

And then the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Both unaware of the disaster approaching, we both continued on with our separate agendas. And he swirled and twirled by me and flicked my wet head of hair.

And BOOM! Mom, the ticking time bomb exploded!

Mom jumped to her feet, let out a bit of a growl if I remember correctly, and yelled at Zippy. I believe I told him to LEAVE ME ALONE!!

Yeah. Not my best moment. The mom – the adult—telling the happens-to-really-be-needing-his-mom child to LEAVE HER ALONE. Yikes.

I think I sent Zippy to his room, and I went quickly to mine. I took some deep breaths, actually said, “Wow…”outloud, and then returned to the living room, admitted to anyone who was watching that that was really ugly and surprising, and attempted to finish up my work.

Hours later when we were almost at church to load up and drive to camp, Zippy apologized for the morning. I turned off the radio, accepted his apology, and gave him mine. I apologized for yelling at him and admitted that it’s never okay for me to talk to him like that.

Surprisingly, he said he hadn’t even noticed that I had yelled at him. Odd, actually. Or maybe it was just the sudden movement and combustion of my jumping to my feet and growling just before the yell. Not sure. But he said he didn’t notice. And he forgave me.

But the words that broke my heart: “I didn’t mean to annoy you. I just wanted to touch your hair.”

And then he repeated it to make sure it was heard: “I didn’t mean to annoy you, Mom. I just wanted to touch your hair.”

Since he was an infant, he has played with my hair at times. I’ve (nearly) always loved it and cherished those touches, knowing that someday he isn’t going to want to play with Mom’s hair. And here, at a time when he was anxious about going to camp and needed to touch Mama’s hair, Mom freaked out on him and told him to go away. Ugh.

As I fought tears (since tears which blur the vision aren’t ideal for driving), I wondered how in the world his touching my hair could have been so bad that I felt compelled to jump up, growl, and yell at him.

Another moment out of many that I’m reminded that I’m far from perfect. I pray that I’m the mom that my kids need. I pray that I’m not screwing them up for good. I pray that when they think of their childhood they don’t remember an impatient, busy mom.

And I’m reminded how much I’m in need of God’s grace. There is forgiveness. There is a fresh start every morning … or a fresh start right in the middle of the morning if that’s what I need.

And I’m so grateful that Zippy forgives me and loves me all the way to infinity and beyond.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary Mabry on September 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Don”t forget to forgive yourself!


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