Have I Failed As a Mother?
I watched my child with my head tilted to the side. I couldn’t understand the behavior. It was beyond what I thought would happen. I know I’ve made mistakes, but I wasn’t prepared for this. I suddenly realized, watching my child, that he was his own individual with innate characteristics and free will to make choices.
How did I miss this?
At one point when I had two toddlers and an infant I walked into the preschool my kids attended. I was weary, and the always smiling teacher saw it all over me. I felt like a child as I was ushered into a hug in the midst of all the little chairs and play kitchen and books.
My oldest is like me. Too much like me in some ways. She’s strong-willed to her core. I know that will serve her well later in life, but I was slowly realizing how challenging it was to parent someone whose strength and tenacity outwitted most adults.
The teacher looked at me with warm eyes and a weathered smile. She had been there too with her own daughter, but she was beyond the toddler tantrums and the teenage angst. She was on the other side. And she spoke so kindly with words I still don’t fully understand.
“Their choices are not a reflection of you.”
Of course the were. They were the clay and I was shaping them. Wasn’t I?
But that’s where I was wrong. I had a role in shaping them, of course. It was not only my responsibility, but the result of spending so much time with another person. But the job of shaping their whole being? That was never mine.
I forget sometimes that God created them. While I think I had a pretty important role in the whole thing, I am temporary in their lives. God is the one who knew them before they were born and sees all of their days. I was taking credit for something that was never mine.
And as I look at my children I can recognize the role I have in their lives, but I can also appreciate their individuality that will grow as they do. And maybe I’ll even learn to enjoy it along the way.
About Becky Hastings
I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I'm here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.