Wednesday, January 4, 2012


When I was younger, my brother and I spent lots and lots of time with our maternal grandparents. Mom and dad were divorced, Mom was working and we were lucky enough to have Grandma and Grandpa who had cable television. This gave us ample opportunity to enjoy Nickelodeon as well as reruns of any television show you could think of. I hadn't put much thought into those old shows until this morning.

This morning I was a wretch to my children. Not fully and completely, just on two occasions. The first? When my oldest was playing so sweetly with his baby sister when somehow her sippy cup was the supplier of her cereal bowl in her hair and her face. This was literally one minute before I had to be out the door to get big brother to school. I was ticked. Milk everywhere, dripping from the counter, the chair, the floor, the baby, the baby's hair. Grrrrr. I said. I used the dreaded word, a word I hate almost more than any other word, and dare I say more than even the 'f' word. "Stupid." "That was such a stupid thing to do!" Ick. I still feel badly about it. I hate myself for using it. I can't wait until he gets home to kiss him, hug him and apologize to him for using that word. He is anything but and the things he does are not stupid, they are things that little boys do to entertain little baby sisters to make them laugh. I am the one who was stupid. I am the one who needed more patience and gentleness in that moment.

The second occasion came when again, running a little late getting middle sister to school. (I work from home and constantly feel I never have enough time.) I asked Memms to find a brush to brush her hair for school. She couldn't find it. I told her where one was, she couldn't find that one. I of course, go into her room, find said brush and begin to brush her hair in a fury. Again, so angry and upset that she, "Didn't just look for it! It was right in front of her face!" Gah. I hate myself again. I am so rough, and so impatient over -the- silliest things.

As we were in the car on the way to school, I took a deep breath, looked her in the eyes and told her how much I loved her. I hugged her and apologized for being so impatient and so angry and promised I would try to be more gentle.

Then my mind wandered back to my own childhood. To the show Gentle Ben. I don't know what it is even about, other than a bear who, rather than eating everyone in sight, is actually a friend to a little boy who needed one.

Then I came across this photo of myself with my little ones.

Shot on a Nikon N80 with a 50mm 1.4 lens at f 8. Kodak Portra 400 Film

And. I. Laughed.

Life is way to short to be hard, mean, angry, and cruel. Even for a moment. I vowed today to try to remember to be more gentle. With my husband, with myself, and most importantly, with my children. They are so very little, so very impressionable. I want them to remember what a wonderful mother I was, how patient I was, how much they were able to learn from me instead of fear from me.

To Jothan, Emmaree, and Camilla? You are smart. You are the farthest thing from stupid I know. You are beautiful. You are capable. You all will go far and do amazing things. Of that I am certain of. Thank you for forgiving me for being more grizzly than gentle today.




Emily said...

What your kids will remember more than anything is your apology. I am way too quick to anger and impatience with my kids, but I always apologize--sincerely, of course--and let them know I shouldn't have acted that way. That means the world to them. I know because my dad did the same thing and I still remember it.

mandee said...

You are amazing! Life is all about this...they will remember the moments of laughter and gentleness...even if they are few and far between! Huggs!

Katie said...

While I know your kids to be all of those beautiful adjectives you used, you are also all of those things and need to cut yourself some dang slack! And I agree, the apology will be what they remember, not the reason behind the apology. In my house growing up saying sorry was like admitting you were weak and it just.didn't.happen--ever! Now as an adult I still find it hard to apologize but rather find ways to excuse or justify my behavior. It's a terrible quality and one I'm trying hard to change so good for you for facing the situation head-on but seriously, cut yourself some slack too! Love you big time!

Lynda said...

I love you my sweet Kimmie. I so regret a lot of the things that my children remember about me. You learned so much earlier than I to watch yourself, but most importantly to apologize. What you feel was grizzly today is really so small, but the lesson you teach your children when you apologize is huge. You rock!

Amy said...

I hate those days. You are one of the few mothers I know who tells it like it is- not perfect and not always wonderful. It is hard. Thanks for being honest, if it helps I called the barbie doll my girls were fighting with yesterday Stupid, and Haylee was crushed. That word should just be banned from our language.
love you!

Heather said...

I get this. I have these moments with my girls and I know that looking back they are happy to have the apology from me and for me to admit that I made a mistake. It makes us that much closer.

Also, we weren't allowed to watch Gentle Ben, my grandmother thought that it would teach us that bears were okay and not 'the deadly creatures they really are.' True Story.

Sarah said...

This made me cry. Some days are difficult and I have those moments as well. These babies are so special. Thank you for the reminder to be more gentle. They need is as much as we do. xoxo