02 August 2007

Mirror, mirror

Yesterday, I watched Annalivia throw a fit of frustration after not being able to get two bread pans on her feet to go "skating" on the carpet. She got so angry and made a terrible noise of frustration, tossing aside the pans and throwing herself back onto the floor as she began to weep. It would have been laughable, but it's not. Because I'm pretty sure the person she sees behaving like that is me.
Geesh, if there's ever a way to have one's fault brought quickly, clearly and obviously into focus, raise a couple of children. If I had not the willpower or motivation to modify my behavior before, I certainly do now because if there is one thing I DON'T want for my daughter, it's for her to grow up to be me.
Today I spent some time listening to a sermon on Romans 8 and then looked it up at Crosswalk.com (which is my favorite place to look up texts because you can find a gajillion translations with one click.) What I am realizing, slowly -- slowly, slowly, slowly -- is that I just simply CANNOT be a better mother on my own merits. I just can't. I try and fail. I think I have the answer and then I don't. I preach and don't practice. I lay down law and not enough love.
Ugh -- the fact is, I just stink at parenting this little girl if left to my own devices.
So my constant prayer has been one I should have been praying all along, "God, You change me. You teach me. You lead me. You. You, you, you."
Because I can't change myself. I can't teach myself. I can't lead myself. I just can't do it.
And, God knows, it needs to be done.
So, trusting Romans 8, I am practicing believing that God hears these sighs and groans and will resurrect and redeem the failures and will make me labor in fruitfulness rather than foolishness. I am practicing believing. And it appears I will have lots of opportunities to practice.
And now, little Annalivia is awake from her nap. And I have a chance to practice.


Jan said...

the prayer that saved me as a mother is/was "Bless ________________, change me." You'd pray as a mantra "Bless Annalivia, change me" though you're almost doing the same thing by praying for God's help! Don't blame yourself so much--you are doing the best you are able to be and that's good enough.

musicmommy3 said...

I don't know you well enough to know if you are "blaming yourself too much" or not BUT I'm a firm believer in what you wrote about us needing God and also that they do pick up our habits. I see it all the time in mine. It challenges me to change my behaviors as I'm correcting theirs. Also I can tell the boys, "God is helping Mommy change too. Let's ask Him to help all of us." That teaches them #1- I know I'm not perfect. #2- Where they MUST go for help to truly change.

I don't just want to train my kids to be well behaved. I want to train them to run to God for everything they need including character issues. :):)

BRAVO! Good stuff April. Sounds like you are learning a lot.

Amalee Issa said...

The bread pans are a classic example of the brilliance of a child's mind, unfettered by the conventions of experience, and had me laughing. I remember walking into the kitchen to find my 2-yr old son sitting on a 1lb bread tin having a wee. I did the only thing a mother should do; I grabbed the camera and got a shot to save away for his best man's wedding speech...

Jim and Amy Rennie said...

Part of parenting is being able to admit your own shortcomings to your child, in order to teach them that it's okay for them to admit their own shortcomings, and work to make them better. You don't have to be perfect to be the "perfect" parent for your child, and I think you are the perfect mom for both of yours.

The Waltons said...

I so enjoy keeping up on your blog. You are ever-insightful and have such a creative way of discussing the everyday moments of parenthood and childhood. I think that calm creativity alone helps make you a terrific mom to the kiddos!

April said...

Thank you, all.

Jan, that's a great prayer. I remember Anne Lamott saying that the two greatest prayers are "Thank you, thank you, thank you" and "Help me, help me, help me." I can relate.

Angela, I left you a comment on your blog. THANK you for your encouragement.

Amalee, I bet you have some hilarious photos. Does he realize what's coming to him at some point?

Amy, you know that Perfectionism is a dangerous trap for me. Thank you for these words of grace.

Heather, thank you, too. I LOVE looking at your blog, too! Who would have thought this is where we'd be in our lives back in '93, eh?

Jim and Amy Rennie said...

I LOVE those prayers from A. Lamott. I have always remembered that and prayed them myself.

Jimmy said...

i don't ever recall you throwing stuff down sitting on the floor and weeping in frustration. venting, laughing, talking...sure. but not as you mention.
just an observation after 10 years of watching.