We were late. Really late. It’s not how I had envisioned the day going at all. Work and last minute phone calls had delayed our departure and now we were racing against the clock and the miles to get there. I could feel the frustration and anxiety building up in my daughter as she glanced at the clock. Graciously she held silent, though my own voice was already saying what I knew I deserved in that moment.
5 minutes out from our destination the phone rang. Apparently all the girls had to be present before being allowed into the park, a fact that had escaped me in the initial email days before. I imagined the words “Worst Parent of the Year” were now becoming visible on my forehead for all to see.
As we approached the steps I could see kids and parents waiting anxiously. In that moment I wished I could shrink and disappear quietly under the crack in the stairs. My daughter tugged on her hair and shifted her backpack, anxiety evident in the way she carried herself forward.
“Worst Parent Ever” now flashed angrily in Neon from my forehead. Grabbing hold of the doors, I took a deep breath and we stepped inside.
When our girls were younger it seemed that the moments I failed as a Mom were small in comparison to my fails today as a Mom of teenagers. Back then it was forgetting about snack day at school or not cutting the ends off a sandwich just right. It was packing two left shoes and forgetting quarters to feed the ducks at the pond.
Today the stakes seem higher somehow. The fails holding more consequence as they test the bounds of relationship and trust. Grace for myself can be hard to come by these days.
Yet reflecting back on that day I realize that the title of “Worst Parent” was self imposed. Feelings hijacked truth and anxiety feasting on old lies and habits of needing to please.
Coming through the doors that day we meet anxiety head-on but we also meet grace. Grace silently passed from parent to parent knowing that we have all worn a self-imposed “Worst Parent of the Year Award” at some point.
Parenting is hard. We’re not always going to get it right. Often we will fall flat on our face, in front of our kids and sometimes in front of a whole group of folks.
It is in that moment, laying facedown in the mud, that we can choose to shrink and slip quietly under the crack in the stairs or slowly stand back up and find Grace waiting to help dust us off.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6