By Maryanne Abbate
Curious George books lined the shelves of my youngest son’s bookcase. Every night he would be engrossed in the adventures and mishaps of that silly little monkey. My son identified with Curious George; he was the real life flesh and blood version of that monkey, and I identified with the man with the yellow hat.
My job was to stay one step ahead of that child, but many days I failed. There just wasn’t enough of me.
One particular day, while standing in the hallway of his siblings’ elementary school waiting to attend an awards ceremony, I turned my head to answer a question, and my curious four year old proceeded to pull the fire alarm.
The sound was deafening. Chaos ensued. Kids and teachers frantically scrambled out of the building, trays flew across the lunchroom; the principal quickly scurried to shut the alarm off and call the fire department.
My son hysterically cried when he realized what he had done. I wanted to cry, too. If the floor could have swallowed me whole, I would have welcomed it. The shame and embarrassment of the moment was more than I could bear.
I was the bad mom with the out of control toddler. I felt like a complete failure.
When the chaos settled, the principal, whom I deeply respected, shared that when her grown son was young, he too had pulled a fire alarm.
She assured me I wasn’t an incompetent mom with an incorrigible kid. I was a human mom doing her best with a busy toddler who had momentarily overstepped the boundaries of curiosity. She offered me the grace I desperately needed.
Her grace-filled words assuaged my embarrassment giving me the strength to speak calm, firm, grace-soaked words to my child.
Embarrassment and shame can lead me to respond in ways I often regret.
Sisters, as moms we have all been publicly stretched and tested. I imagine we all have our own humbling stories. Motherhood is not for the fainthearted.
When we find ourselves in these tough spots, we need the encouragement of grace from others, not their judgement.
In turn, we need to do the same when we see another mom in a difficult place.
God’s life giving grace flowing through a community of moms can go a long way… It soothes… empowers…and redeems hard moments.
Word of the Day:
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each other.” Colossians 4:6
Father, thank you for the grace-filled people you strategically place on our paths who have spoken words that bring strength to our souls. Father, please help us to walk close to Your heart and to embrace Your grace so that we in turn can magnanimously offer grace to others, especially fellow mothers who find themselves in difficult places with their children. May we be vessels of Your grace.
We ask all these things in Jesus’ name.