I find it difficult to imagine that there is anything my adult children could do where I wouldn’t extend them my forgiveness; this is because they started training me in the art of clemency from almost the beginning of their existence.
When my daughter was just one year old I forgave for her for telling me that I had a big butt and a big belly two months after her little brother was born because I was impressed that she could communicate her thoughts so well. My son also communicated well. I easily forgave him when he was one for chomping on my knee when he was teething and flippantly saying, “Sorry, Mom.” It didn’t bother me every time my daughter, at the age of three, donned a condescending frown and said, “You didn’t realize that” when I didn’t understand what she was trying to communicate. I actually thought it was cute when my son constantly referred to me as “you silly old mom” when he was two years old. I just smiled when my daughter was three and a half years old and became extremely angry at me for not knowing what happened in her dream because I was in it. When my son was two years old and screamed at me, “You crabby day!” whenever I disagreed with him, I didn’t mind. I also went around the corner and laughed when he would point at me and say, “Don’t say a word” when he was about to do something naughty. When my daughter was four years old I wasn’t offended when she told me that she couldn’t eat my green Jell-o because, “it tastes too good,” and that she didn’t like the potato wedges I made and that she previously ate them “just to be nice.” I wasn’t insulted when my son was four years old and explained to me and his dad how the earth came to be and said, “. . . and then dinosaurs were around – that’s when you guys were babies.” I shrugged it off when my daughter was six and asked me if I had white hairs. When I told her that I didn’t she said, “Oh, I thought that was a sign of getting old.” I giggled when she taught herself to play a toy saxophone and announced to me and my husband, “I sure didn’t get the music gene from you guys.” Once I caught my daughter staring at my stomach and she said, “I just feel so bad that I made you look like that.” Both my daughter and son made note of how large my eyes were when they were pre-teens, so whenever they saw something with big bugged-out eyes they would chant together, “Julie eyes, Julie eyes!” . . . and it made me smile every time.
Keeping the right perspective is the key to enjoying parenting. One mom’s weed is another mom’s flower. The most important thing I’ve learned during my journey as a mom is that it is important to choose to see every moment – the good, the bad, and the ugly – with my children as a flower added to the bountiful bouquet of motherhood. My daughter and son taught me that lesson quite literally when they were young and proudly handed me a bouquet of thistles. Together they said, “We picked the largest one we could find for you.” And years later, moments that could have been received as insults have become eternal gifts that make me smile, laugh, and warm my heart whenever I replay them in my memory.
I wish every mom had a collection of rude moments that made her smile.
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© 2016 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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