I screwed up.
Not just a little bit. Not just a quick mistake that I can fix with a smile and a hug.
At this point, I don’t even know if I’m sorry will cut it.
I just wounded my children’s hearts with angry words and a raised voice. I dealt with their disobedience with not a shred of self-control or love on my part.
I hate that this part of me even exists. The worst of it is that at this point, I don’t even want to apologize.
I’m tired of apologizing. I’m tired of losing it with them and having to make it right. I’m the parent–the adult. I should be the grown up one, the mature one who doesn’t need to make things right because I am making the right choice in the first place.
I promised myself when I got married and started a family with my husband, that I would not EVER be like my father. Quick-tempered and prone to angry outbursts with very little restraint or self-control. I promised I would approach my children with love and patience, with a forgiving heart and would never raise hand or voice against them in anger. I promised they would never see that ugly side of myself that I’d inherited from a lifetime of living with an angry man.
Now, after tonight and a broken promise–again–I cannot even blame my father for my actions. It was all me. My ugliness. My anger. My unforgiving heart.
How do I make that right? Does sorry even work when I’ve bruised their hearts and shown them so much ugliness? When I’ve given them every reason to make this same choice someday with their own children?
Oh God, please. I promised. I’ve even thought at times that I put that ugliness behind me with your help. Why let my kids suffer because of MY sin? My anger?
I’m exhausted. I’m sick. I feel alone and lost and foggy. I know a lot of it is pregnancy stuff wreaking havoc on my body, but I cannot excuse the hurt I caused two precious–and broken–little hearts.
How can I say that I love them? How can I proudly bear the name of mother when nothing I did tonight was with a mother’s heart? I failed whatever test You put in front of me and there was nothing magnificent or good about it. It’s not something I’ll forget and move on from. Every time I see their eyes, I’ll know. I stole a little bit of their precious innocence with my harsh words and actions tonight and I’m afraid it won’t be the last time.
They might be young enough to forget most of the details of this night. I won’t. And something will stick in their spirits, a little extra fear, a timidity that was not there before.
It’s all well and good for me to read parenting books and go through the nightly routine of a Bible story and prayer. I can DO all the right things to learn how to be a parent.
Tonight tells me I’m not learning a whole lot of anything.
My husband and I both prayed for us to make it through this pregnancy whole and drawn closer as a family. That God would give grace to us and peace in the home in spite of my weaknesses and limitations.
Sometimes, I wonder why I even thought bringing three children in to the world was a good idea. Or rather, I wonder why I would ever want any child to endure me as a mother.
And we can go through the whole, “kids are forgiving and resilient” and “they’ll survive and be stronger for our weaknesses and failings.”
I can’t tell myself that when my daughter is sobbing her heart out and my son is crying alone in his room while I try to find the courage to walk over to them and begin the process of healing.
I’m not even sure I’ll heal from this pain. Why should I expect them to?