tiny bits of grace…

May 7, 2012

I am burnt. It was two weeks of Jorge being gone for work, a string of speaking, projects blowing up all around, and a hernia repair surgery for my man to top it all off at the end. In the middle of life, my girls have been kicking my ass…long, long days of whining, complaining, drama. I am patient, patient, patient and then I am just D.O.N.E. … an attempt to try to spend some time with them on Saturday night looking at the SuperMoon ended in an epic tantrum from Lyra and then all of us in bed crying.

And I know there is some parenting trick to pull us all out of this funk but for the life of me I have absolutely no energy to sort it out. It’s probably something about how much we all are all holding right now and honoring each other but I don’t even care about all that.

I just need them to get their shoes on and get in the car for Christ’s sake  AND to stop acting like jerks for 2 seconds so we can be in this crisis together…but then kids aren’t supposed to do that but maybe I was just hoping they would grease the wheels with understanding a tiny bit. I obviously have forgotten that kids are not adults, and shouldn’t be.  (but wouldn’t that be nice in a crisis every now and then?)

I finally crawled into my own bed like an hour later only to be woken up by a wailing Lyra two hours after that, so back I went, into the their bed. I had surrendered to their needs, finally, given up on any expectation I was holding.  It wasn’t like I could get my shit quite together but I could lay in it. Quietly.

And then, when she thought I was asleep, Lucy leaned over and kissed my forehead, rolled over and went to bed. It was a tiny bit of grace right in the middle of hard all around. It was tender and sweet…and this is who we all are. We are jerks that are kind and have needs and sometimes push each other to the edge…and we find grace in each other, in ourselves.

…and nothing is worked out, I am still burnt but there is a little something to hold onto, seeing it all mixed up together that will bring me a moment of goodness….and eventually we find our way to saying what we need, or forgiveness or frustration that fuels the way to find the path we need to travel, or life will allow it to just sort of pass on.

So today :

someone will complain they didn’t get to play with the red umbrella yet

someone else will have her first taste of honeysuckle

someone will be devastated we are having peas for dinner

someone else will ask me how I am and I’ll really tell them

someone will be pissed they have to take a bath

that same someone will kiss me on my forehead when we go to bed…

…and I will take it all in, but hold tight to the tiny bits of grace.

*feel free to tell me your tiny bits of grace in the comments

25 Responses to “tiny bits of grace…”

  1. Jake Holweger Says:

    Hello, my name is jake holweger and i am doing a report for social studies. the project is on someone who you beleive has made an impact on our local community. The first thing i thought of was the richmond times article on your acts of geurilla goodness and your mission to make the world a better place. I was wondering if we could pull together an interview sometime before june 1st. Sincerley, a hopeful sixth grader

  2. kiku Says:

    Such a beautiful and honest post. What a sweet kiss. Our bits of grace- I love the unexpected moments when everyone is involved in something and the house is still. I love soft touches of unexpected insights from my kids. Spontaneous hugs. And I love laughter, the kind that makes your cheeks hurt.

    One of my favorite quotes on motherhood, “A mother’s days are long and the years are short.”

  3. Martha Says:

    2 times I have had the grace to hear an amazing young couple speak about parenting – they have 5 biological and 11 children adopted from foster care – 16 kids!!!! They are just so honest about what parenting is really like – they say things like “it will be fun and horrible, amazing and horrible, wonderful and horrible and that you will invest and invest and invest some more” – somehow hearing them tell the truth about the whole parenting thing helps me to be more patient in my own much smaller parenting journey….

  4. Lisa Says:

    oh boy, this spoke to me today. i’ve been burnt for the past week and am just starting to emerge. i’m a pregnant mom to a nearly 2 year old toddler who is all energy and independence all.the.time. my husband works part-time and is in school full-time so this was a week of preparing for finals and writing papers. and i commute 2 hours each day to a job i don’t love. when my beautiful son woke up early and crying saturday and continued on to whining and screaming and being generally insolent about everything, i was sure i had reached the end. and when my husband adopted our son’s attitude, i knew i had. all i could think was that i really could run away for the day…if i just had the energy to pack a bag and drive. but then the boys calmed down and my son took a 3.5 hour nap (i knew fatigue was the culprit, but honestly it baffles me that he won’t just tell me that 😉 and when he woke up, he doled out hugs and kisses as if he knew i was spent. and that night husband and i had a date night and i managed to stay awake until the end of the movie. and i knew that i didn’t need to run away…i just needed a little peace and love…and grace. i know my baby boy will whine and scream again but, for now, i’m holding on to his sweet, random kisses and the way he snuggles into my neck for a hug.

  5. Cindy Tyra Says:

    My two terrors were my boys. I so remember the times when the fighting between the two of them would just keep mounting and it would just add fuel to the fire I was carrying around with me all the time. I had a husband who refused to work, I worked, kept up on the yard work, cleaned the house, bought the food, cooked the food, did the laundry and some how, somewhere found the time to be heavily involved in cub scouts, baseball, soccer, marching band etc. To say the least, it didn’t take much to make us all fighting mad and all I wanted to do was go back to being little and being taken care of. And it alway seemed that when I couldn’t take one more thing, I’d stop and just walk into my bedroom and close the door. The boys knew when this happened that they’d found the straw that broke this poor camels back. All I wanted was some ME time! When I’d come out, the boys would come and hug me and tell me they were sorry and then to prove the point, they’d hug each other.(Which is saying a lot, because when they really would start fighting and wouldn’t stop, I made them hug each other. That was the worse punishment I could do to them) so them hugging each other was their way of saying… we’re good. Your good! We’ll be OK.

  6. Bettina S. Says:

    Dear Patience, to you I’m sending hugs and forehead kisses and an extra hand to pull you up from the bed when you just don’t want to. A giggle when you feel like you’re reaching your breaking point, a cartwheel, a 3 minute dance party to your favorite song, a 3 minute potty break where you just sit on the bathroom rug and listen to yourself breathe, a piece of chocolate, and one more big hug. You are being held a little tighter, or higher (whatever you need) by one more person today. This too shall pass!!

  7. Cindy Tyra Says:

    What wonderful things to say Bettina. So Patience, ditto from me!

  8. Brenda Says:

    Oh P…I feel the exasperation…only because I’ve been there!! Grace is unexpected mercy. I love the thought of little bits of grace. Hold onto them…you are so good at recognizing the little bits of grace…just keep watching for them….they are there!! 🙂

  9. Donna Koch Says:

    I thought I was reading a description of my life for the past few weeks…years actually! Patience, patience, patience and then I AM DONE!!! My four “babies” are now spread between college and high school; 3 of 4 still living at home. I long for the days when they were little and we just played, but I know this is tempered by sweet memories and time…meltdowns and temper tantrums have been replaced with arguments over chores, rooms, electronics,laundry or generally just being responsible for their own shit; Ask if the dogs have been walked and there is more time spent fighting over who can’t than it takes to just do it…and the list goes on and on. My husband and I were on the warpath with each other as he & our youngest (17 and 6’1″) locked horns over something completely stupid. They are both actually willing to admit that now. Boy bowed up, Daddy pushed back and it all went to crap in a handbasket. I still struggle with “Respond, don’t React” and then find myself behind closed doors crying and wondering, damned it, how we got here, again; what I am I doing wrong; heck, what am I doing right; unable sometimes to keep my emotions in check; respond; set boundaries and be the “parent”. But kindness DOES change everything and the only ones we can change sometimes are ourselves and our attitudes. I snuck love notes in everyone’s lunchboxes yesterday (makes their day when they get a note; go figure) and at dinner last night we laughed, told stories, and are all giggles and smiles as we anticipate watching one of our brood walk across the stage at her college graduation this Friday,…and have a full family turn-out for Color Me Rad in Richmond in July. The 6 of us are excited for a chance to play together..
    .and all is right with the world…for now!
    Until the next eruption…calm, calm, calm, BAHM!!!

    • Cindy Tyra Says:

      Wisdom learned… God gave us our memories of our childern when they were small, adorable and still loved to snuggle and kiss on mommy, so when they became teenagers, we wouldn’t strangle them because OF OUR PAST MEMORIES…

      • kindnessgirl Says:

        keep the wisdom comin’ parents that are in a different stage…we are listening and taking notes…and grateful you have gone ahead of us to pave the way.

    • Jean Says:

      Donna…your post brought tears for me…as this morning was one of those days where I really think “what am I doing wrong: heck what am I doing right”…and it’s only 8:30am. I’m right in the middle of you and Patience with a 6 and 9 year old and some mornings I really lose the battles…”nothing to wear” “clothes everywhere” “I can’t find my shoes, my homework, my hat” “I don’t want breakfast”…on and on and it’s only 45 minutes before they head onto the bus…I run in the house, grab a coffee and melt onto the couch exhausted! Today all patience was lost as I actually said “do you guys understand what you are doing to me?”…even an “I’m sorry” from my 9 year old elicited a “don’t be sorry, change your behavior” response from me! Some days are just days to be written off and not remembered…maybe a 10 minute dance-a-thon, a walk with the dog and remembering that they aren’t purposely trying to cause these grey hairs that they are just growing up and want to be loved!! Patience you are not alone in these days…all parents have them…maybe they don’t all talk about them, but they have them! The tide will slowly change…I just try to remind myself to be grateful when the sailing is smooth b/c it will only last for so long!

  10. tam Says:

    It’s the full moon – makes everyone crazy. It’ll settle down. Be brave, you’re strong enough and Mum-enough to manage. A cup of tea is my cure for everything – when my daughter was younger it was a tea party – put on your best hat – set the table – the smell of something baking has a way of making everyone right as rain.

  11. ams345 Says:

    it was last night, long weekend, husband working out of town, full blown sinus infection, almost 2 yr old up since 5:30am, jumping on the couch, growling like a tiger between hysterical laughing and no sign of slowing down even at 8:30pm. I realized, I’m a Mom. This is my daughter. MY daughter. Amazing. I must’ve imagined this moment for 20 yrs or a moment similar (probably didn’t imagine jumping, growling and laughter all at one time)….and here I am living the ‘thing’ I dreamt of for so long. Motherhood. My daughter. Shiny, sparkly eyes, hanging out on the couch, watching 101 Dalmations during what is supposed to be ‘wind-down’ time. Just her looking up at me, waiting for my reaction to her antics, waiting for a smile, I hug her, she laughs even more. Did I mention the drool hanging from her chin? More new teeth. Wow am I ever lucky. What a fantastic kid.

  12. Grace. I do believe I had a tiny bit myself a couple of hours ago. I’m about to begin a new job, and also a new type of job for me. We had a grueling trip here. We are going to start working a week earlier than expected. I have a multitude of things to do to be in order to begin work. And I have to have some kind of order in my life. At such times I become totally ‘anal’. Uptight. Withdrawn. Anxious. Uncommunicative. I feel bad but I’m stuck in this vacuum. I did manage to melt some of that ice, for a while at least and cuddle My guy, who patiently awaits my return! I see now that the little bit of ice didn’t freeze up again and now another chunk has broken off and I’ll soon be back to a nicer person with more ‘Grace’.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Boy did this resonate with me today as well. Just 2 days ago my kid was having a five alarm fire meltdown during bedtime. Ronan is high functioning autistic and just 6 years old-so meltdowns are sometimes just part of how he maneuvers in the world when he’s upset. For the most part I’ve learned to avert or divert them when he starts to simmer. But that night I just didn’t have the energy and I was so, so wiped out. Ronan sat in my lap thrashing and shrieking and all I could do was sob, feeling helpless and like the world’s shittiest parent. He finally cried himself to sleep and I was able to move him into his bed. As I did, Ronan reached out drowsily and patted my cheek so gently, then dropped off into deeper, dreamier sleep. In that instant I knew that there’s space for all of those moments: grace, sorrow and anger and that I wasn’t a bad mom.Thank you so much for your raw and honest post. I think you’re wonderful!

  14. Shelley Says:

    Thank you for sharing!! It is just what I needed and a moment of absolute truth that I appreciate! Thank for having the words to express how so many of us feel.

  15. Kim Says:

    Kindnessgirl, you are one of my tiny bits of grace. More than once I have been touched and transformed by your words at just the right moment.

  16. Jery Says:

    without oversharing the details of my son’s life, we experienced a crisis last year where I was so angry and frustrated with the choices he had made, which deeply impacted our lives, for a second time, that I felt like I had completely failed at teaching him to do the right thing, to make the right choices..(he’s 17 by the way). It turned out to be not as bad as I feared, but it was a horrible time. In the midst of it all, he turned to me and through tears said “I don’t know what I’d do without you Mom”. And that put it all in perspective for me. Most of his life, his father has been gone, either with work or since our divorce – so I feel even more responsible for him, but I also feel like I fade into the background for him because I am always here. That moment reaffirmed that he needs me, and he sees me. I hope you get many more moments of grace, tiny and large.

  17. pathwriter Says:

    Beautifully expressed…as always. Thanks. 🙂

  18. TIffany Says:

    I just love ur blog. I’m sending u some strength. I look forward to ur email. It’s like the Starbucks of my day. No matter what u write it inspires me. U always remind me to step out of my world and focus on someone else, even when I swear I just can’t help anyone else. Those kiddos of yours are going to change the world having a mommy like you. My grace was recently when I decided it was a “good idea” to plan a 4 year old birthday party for 50 people at my inlaws where I live. While having a mother inlaw who is hurt and can’t walk, a husband working 60 hours a week and a 8 month old. But by gosh I was going to have a party just like pinterest if it killed me. The day of the party I was spent from the crap of it all. It was not a thing like pinterest, it was caous! But my 4 year old watched me put up all this monster truck stuff and he said ” Mom my friends are going to say where did you get this monster jam party? And I will say my mom. And they will say, it’s so cool! That’s what they are gonna say mom, that’s what all my friends are gonna say.” God’s grace to you!

  19. kindnessgirl Says:

    thank you all for taking the time to share these stories…we need them, don’t we? you all are great piles of grace! so grateful for you all!

  20. […] days, we are D.O.N.E.! Some days are filled more with whining, complaining, tantrums, and crying. Patience posted about being D.O.N.E. Yep. Been there. There often! But as she so beautifully captured, in words and in images, there is […]

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