I often ponder the moments that I would like to rewind and undo. And then I am immediately confronted with how awful it would be to not have stories about moments that you would like to rewind and undo because you rewound and undid them. Nobody wants to hear about smooth sailing. The autobiography of a perfect life would hardly be worth picking up. It’s the disasters that make life 100% great all the time. At least that’s my son’s opinion.
It was Christmas day, and I had convinced him to wear a nice button down and some black jeans rather than his daily wardrobe of a t-shirt and basketball shorts. He looked stunning with his head full of dark curls and his perfect mocha skin and deep chocolate brown eyes. Yet what I remember most vividly is the look of panic in those eyes, the red wine stains running dark down the sleeves of that shirt, and the quiver in his body in response to my outraged shout of “What were you thinking?????”
The first words out of my mouth when faced with a terrified child were, “What were you thinking?!?!” What was I thinking?!?! I chose to focus on his inadequate decision-making skills and missed the truth of his heart. I overlooked how responsive and helpful he had been when I sent him on the errand to get the Christmas presents out of the car. I missed the truth of how he loves to create engineering feats of wonder (which in this case meant attempting to balance the bottles of Christmas wine in a bag on top of a large flat box containing a guitar case). He is a builder and a creator, and many inventors face tragedy before confronting success. I had missed the fact that he stood outside in the cold for several eternal minutes knowing that at some point he had to face his mother to tell her that he had dropped the guitar case, and detonated the wine, which exploded all over the other Christmas presents, drowned his remote control car, stained a scarf, destroyed cards and left glass all over our friend’s driveway. In the dark.
After a quick glance at his hands to see that the red was only wine and not bodily fluid, I almost shoved him out of the way to dash out to survey the wreckage of my carefully assembled Christmas. I kept muttering, “What was he thinking? Why would he attempt to carry such a huge load in one trip? Everything is ruined! How are we going to get all this glass up in the dark? What on earth was he thinking?”
As I ranted and raved, my precious son (trailing along behind me helpless and dripping) could no longer hold it together and tears the size of two carat diamonds start streaming from his eyes. His dad, oh gracious one, grabbed him up, pulled him to his chest and said, “Your heart is more important than anything else. Stuff can be replaced DJ. This is all just stuff.”
Which is the moment when conviction punched me in the gut. How on earth could a couple bottles of Cost Plus wine ever be compared to the heart of a child? How could I overlook all the goodness in his heart for the sake of feeling like “I got Christmas right.”
I dropped the bags and rags and dustpans, and pulled him into my arms. “Oh DJ, I’m so sorry. I missed so many important things here. What I meant to say is thank you for always being my cheerful errand runner. What I meant to say was, ‘Hey, that happens sometimes, let’s go clean it up!’ What I meant to be was someone who has your back always and forever. I’m so sorry.”
To which my little heart-breaker replied, “But I understand mommy. I would be so upset and sad if someone broke my stuff too. I’m sorry I broke your stuff and made a mess of everything.”
Which made a mess of me and ended up leaving us crying onto each other’s cheeks.
That night as I was tucking him into bed, DJ said, “Mom, thanks for making today so special.”
Huh? I thought. Then it got even stranger.
“Thanks for being a great mom 100% of the time.”
“DJ? I’m a disaster of a mom. I made so many mistakes today.” (The exploding wine incident was not the only one, believe me!)
To which he said one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard, “I’m not talking about your mistakes mom. I’m talking about you being a good mom 100% of the time.”
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe as God ripped a ragged hole through the atmosphere and grace poured down like liquid light. He said, “See, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you your whole life. I don’t talk about your mistakes. I talk about you being my beautiful daughter 100% of the time. That’s how I see you now and that’s how I will always see you. 100% of the time.”
So, my son and my God, today I dare, just barely dare to believe it.
In my disaster, in my shame, in my weakness, in my lack.
I am enough for you.
100% of the time.
yes! Beautiful and honest! xx
I have so many emotions reading this and tears, of course. Thank you for sharing the realities of parenting. And the beauty. Such a tender moment.
“Detonated the wine..” >> Laughter.
“I don’t talk about your mistakes” >> Tears. Tears. Tears