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Life's Little Lessons

"Why do you look so sad buddy?" My little bubbly boy, now unusually quiet, looked out the window and murmured, "I'm sad because I peed my pants. I called you. I told you I needed help. But I couldn't wait."

Talk about a sucker punch to the gut. I thought back over the events from the last hour and immediately felt awful!! My little man had tried his best to make it to the bathroom on our outing, but unfortunately didn't make it in time. And by time I got there, I found him emptying the contents of his bladder through his pants, down his legs and onto his new shoes.

I was less than thrilled by the inconvenience and it came out in my tone and words as I scolded him for waiting too long and not making it in time. As I scurried to clean up the mess, I continued to take my frustration and out on him because I knew I hadn't come prepared with back up clothes. And with every harsh word I spoke, I emptied a little more of his love tank onto the floor along with everything else, never once considering how he might have been feeling about his mishap.

I was recently reminded that our kids melt downs are not a reflection on our parenting, rather our reactions to the hard time they are having, that actually reflect a good or bad parent. And in this moment, kids’ bathroom accidents also fit that bill. My kid having an accident wasn't a reflection of my poor parenting, but rather my reaction to something every one of us have experienced at one point or another, that showed were I was failing.

Sometimes in my rush to get things done on my time, in my way, and presented in that oh so "put together perfect mama way”, I end up forgetting these little humans I am raising have feelings too. They get embarrassed when they pee their pants. They feel badly when they displease us and don't live up to the often-impossible standard we set. Maybe it doesn't come out in the same way we would express it as adults, but when my little boy told me he was sad about his accident, it was a clear reality check that this wasn't a choice he made to make me miserable or to embarrass me, he had done his best and still fell short. The same way I so often do.

The truth is we all need space for mistakes, second chances and grace. As my kids learn to navigate life, they need these in large doses. I often feel so much pressure to have it all together. And in my desperate attempts to try and keep up the façade, I forget my kids feel this pressure too. I definitely don't want to be one that adds to that. I need to show them it's ok to fall. Accidents will happen and there is enough grace for each one. The important thing is learning to pick ourselves back up.

An apology on my part, a few kinds words and my little man got his smile back. I am thankful for the grace he gives me every day. How humbling it is to live in the example of my children. Without even trying they show me mercy when they forgive me over and over for way more than I often hold against them. My boys constantly give me a beautiful example of the grace God extends me every time I hold them to that impossible standard I wrestle with. Without that grace, I don’t think any of us would be standing. I always pray I can be an example of God’s grace to my boys so that they fall madly in love with him, not the law that binds us. But as it stands now, they are the ones leading me into a fuller understanding of God’s love for me. We think we will teach our kids something, but the reality is they end up teaching us more than I think we ever do.

How thankful I am for grace!

Photo Credit Julia Costanzo Photography

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