It had been one of those mornings, where despite waking up early to get out the door, we were all rushing around. My 7-year-old suddenly remembered that he had homework to finish, and there was absolutely no way he could do it without my help. In the midst of this, my 9-year-old’s world was ending because she couldn’t find her snow boots or library books.
My littlest was crying into her bowl of now soggy cereal. Why? Because her cereal was soggy, of course. The lunches still hadn’t been made, teeth still needed to be brushed, and the decibel levels of childhood antics were out of control. I knew I was on the edge of losing it.
Then the dog decided to give us all a subtle reminder that she still needed to be let out -- by peeing all over my kitchen floor.
I yelled. Red-faced. Loud. Fierce. Angry in no particular direction, at no particular little person.
Not exactly one of the greatest moments of my life.
They all scattered. Eyes wide at their crazy mother. Even the dog found a corner to hide in. Soggy cereal was discarded, teeth were brushed, books were found, and beds were made.
Finally in the car, I glanced at my three tender hearts in the backseat. They were quiet and solemn.
Swallowing back my pride, I said, "I am sorry. Mommy was wrong to yell. I am sorry."
Their eyes met mine, and one by one, I saw their faces brighten with smiles. "It’s OK Mom. It’s OK."
Slowly the giggles came like honey to my aching heart. Soon laughter filled the space of the car, and all was forgotten. All was forgiven.
They forgave me. Again. Wow.
Have you been there? In that humble moment of being a mom? I seem to find myself in that place too often. For myself, the beginning of this story has been written a million different ways. I make mistakes. Some of them repeatedly. Sometimes I am impatient. Sometimes I am not careful with my words and they do harm. Sometimes I am just plain tired and choose not to listen. Sometimes I make parenting decisions that aren’t fair. Sometimes I yell.
My kids know I am not perfect. It is scary knowing that they can see me like no one else can see me. I can’t pretend with them. They see the woman behind the Instagram posts, the Facebook statuses, and the pretty blogs. They see the real me. Raw, bare, and beautifully human. Their imperfect mommy whom they love so much; whom they forgive so freely.
I have so much to learn from them.
What have your kids taught you?
About the Author: Photographer and mother Cari Dugan keeps track of the beautiful mess of motherhood at Dugan in Cahoots. Follow her on Twitter, @DuganInCahoots, and on Pinterest, and "like" her on Facebook.
Image via Cari Dugan