It seems like bedtimes are the times where I’m learning a lot about grace and forgiveness. A few weeks ago, I was soooo ready for bed…except it was only 7:30 and the Alaska sun kept trying to lure my girls back outside into the beautiful green grass. I had the urge to rush through dinner and bath time and storytime and prayers and toothbrushing and potty and… the list in my head just kept getting longer, and I felt more tired just thinking about how long everything was going to take when I was already tired! I was trying to keep a good attitude (an attitude of gratitude for all the lovely things I have), but I felt like I was losing the battle.
I kept my attitude in check until the very end. And then I lost the battle.
Here’s the haps:
Mira was reading a book in our bed, which was so awesome (she’s only five and she’s READING?!!) except: 1. The book was looooong. 2. Mira was tired like me and annoyed at her little sister’s antics (feet touching her, asking questions and commenting during the story, making weird noises, etc.) 3. Mira started to talk meanly to her sister (like, “STOP TOUCHING ME!” and “Be quiet or I won’t read to you.” etc.). 4. Dev had to work super early and things were dragging.
My attitude began to slip and I ended up focusing on Mira’s mean tone. So to correct it, I said in an equally mean voice, “Don’t talk to your sister in that mean tone!” What was I thinking?? And the mess spiraled out of control. The book was over. Everyone was angry and I walked the girls to bed, telling Mira (again!) that I’m disappointed she was being mean during the story. She became even more upset (and I saw those eyebrows furrow even deeper). And I saw the situation clearly: I was being a mean mama with a mean attitude because I was tired. Within seconds I started backtracking because I realized: 1. I was being hypocritical by talking to her in the exact way I was condemning, 2. My attitude was too harsh in reprimanding her more times than necessary, 3. We were ALL tired and grumpy and I should have been more understanding.
Next thing I did was apologize for doing exactly what I told her not to do (talking meanly) and then I started using a silly mean voice to make fun of myself, allowing us to laugh together at the absurdity of the whole situation! We said a quick prayer asking God for forgiveness for our crazy, and then I asked Mira to forgive me for my bad attitude. She immediately smiled and said of course. Whew.
Thank God for eyes to see and hearts that forgive.