Cade was biting his lip and wincing his eyes as he walked out of practice and stumbled toward me. My heart often melts as his smiling face approaches the van, but there was no smile this afternoon. With a look of discomfort he asked, “Mom, can I get a new pair of shoes? My toes are bleeding again.”
Again? I was clueless my 15 year old had outgrown his soccer shoes for the 2nd time this season. He pulled off his shoes and exposed the bloody sock. What kind of a Mom have I become? I am always on top of these things; keeping my kids from wearing high-waters when they grow out of their pants and pressing my thumb at the tip of their shoes to check for perfect fit.
“I let my son down,” I thought.
I questioned myself as we drove to the sports store to purchase new shoes. My oldest son loves to do whatever his brother is doing, so he too, wanted to try on shoes. We noticed A.J. has been limping lately. We inspected the bottom of his feet for splinters or other offenders, and could not figure out was going on. When he stepped on the foot pad to measure his feet, the problem was evident. He too, had outgrown his shoes and was limping around with scrunched toes.
How could I have neglected such basic needs of my boys? I felt a little sick inside.
When I was a new Mama I imagined my husband being the one who would blunder with our kids. I worried he would carry the baby seat out to the car, load up his briefcase, hop in the driver’s seat and speed away; absentmindedly leaving the baby on the curb. I recited safety concerns when he rough-housed and reminded him of everything he needed to be aware of when I left him alone with the little ones.
But, the not-so- funny thing is, the blunders occurred on my watch. I am the one who dropped a 1-pound can of kidney beans on our toddler’s head. I cried and stewed even though I knew he was alright. After fretting for hours, I finally called the pediatrician in the middle of the night to explain the bean accident and tell him I feared I had damaged my son’s brain. He told me to go to sleep.
“Give it a rest,” was the message I began to consider. Being a faulty parent is inevitable. Try as I might to be on top of every detail in my parenting, I’m going to mess up and make some blunders.
We completed our shoe selections and walked to the cashier to make the purchase. My head hung a little low, but I resisted the urge to call myself any names like “Dingbat!” or “Bad Mom”. I put my arm around my teenagers and squeezed them in to kiss their heads, “I’m so sorry I didn’t know you grew out of your shoes, son. We want to take care of these things for you.” They both leaned in. “Next time you feel your feet do not fit your shoes, please speak up.” (After all, one of them is capable enough to share the responsibility.)
Are you a mom who messes up? With every blunder learn to give yourself a measure of grace, ask for forgiveness if needed and learn a little something from the circumstances. And if by chance you’ve been a little harder on that husband of yours, he will be grateful if you pass some grace and praise along to him, as well.
The words of a song written by the late Keith Green encourage me today:
“Keep doing your best, and pray that it’s blessed. Jesus takes care of the rest. Yes, the Lord says that He’ll take care of the rest!”