Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mistakes I've Made (So Far This Week)

I was distracted by Stella and didn't completely fasten Gianna into her car seat.

I left the house with no snacks.

I let Gianna chew on an apple all the way home because it kept her quiet.

I impatiently yanked Stella's arm and said some naughty words.

I know I'm forgetting something.

I was losing my mind so I took a walk. This is restorative for me, therapeutic. I like to look at all the plants and take note of their growth and see if there are any changes my next time around.

While I was walking I was thinking about Lent. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. We took the girls to get ashes. It marked the beginning of Lent and the approach of Easter. I am thankful for such rhythms in the liturgical calendar.

Christ was born at Christmas and we all celebrated. But here comes Easter. A more serious holiday. A chance to contemplate all our shortcomings and make amends--or at least try to. Intend to amend. Grow more towards the Light of Jesus.

And this is what I noticed on my walk. All the plants and weeds and flowers, they are all growing toward the light. This is what they do. If you have a plant in your house growing imbalanced, turn it around and it will change course. Even the weeds grow toward the light. Sometimes I feel like a weed. I know I'm not and I know that many of my careless infractions are not a big deal, but this is the time of the year to examine my more serious infractions: being ungrateful, unforgiving, selfish, jealous, cold-hearted.

It's very easy to convince yourself that you don't deserve a certain "injustice." Or that you deserve more privileges. I think of this as Oprahatic spirituality. "Make a little time for yourself everyday. Get yourself a treat, stop sacrificing for others." To a certain extent this isn't bad. It can reach a point, especially when you're in the business of small children, where it can be damaging.

Raising children is work. It is sacrifice. It's a lot more than physical labor. It's not indulging in misery or selfishness. It's not keeping track of wrongs and annoyances--these are things that I do. However, my goal this Lent is to become more for my husband and my kids. More what? I'm not sure yet. It will be what I think about until Easter. Nay, what I pray about until Easter.

I think it's very easy to think of having children as a self-centered enterprise. They are yours and you have them to complete some sort of milestone. You stop before they take over your life. But having children is sacrifice--a sacrifice of time, money and a certain way of life. I don't always enjoy the sacrifice. Does that mean I've made a mistake? No.

This is where I think our culture is hard on parents. There is no opportunity to air your grievances without people saying, "Well, you shouldn't have had children, or not so many." And this applies to whether you only have two or as many as eight. I think this is unfair to parents. Anyone who has adult children, I assume, would not say, "It was not worth it." Children are not a dream or ambition that can be abandoned, so why would we want to make parents feel bad? Why not just say, "This too shall pass. It will get better"?

While I have and will make many mistakes with my children, they are not mistakes I've made. They are a lot of work. But they are good work. And I am thankful that Easter comes once a year so I can reflect on my mistake and become more for my family. More what? I'll keep you posted.


Manuela said...

I love this post! I feel like I can relate to it in so many ways. I don't know where to start or what specifically I can say but I had kind of a bad day today and reading your post made me feel a whole lot better. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I think this was a great blog. Yes it is a sacrifice becoming mother, and once you are a mother it never stops but the rewards outway the scarifice!!!
I look back on my years as a very very young mother. There were days I was worn out, and very tired, I worked several jobs to make ends meet but i never had a "poor me day"! for one i was too busy to think about it and two, everytime i looked at my children
i would smile, there were days that THEY were the light at the end of the tunnel and i had made that choice and it was a good one!
There is nothing more precious that the look of love in your little ones eyes when they look at you, it really makes all tears go away!!!
love you