The Grit

Summer. And I can’t seem to write about anything but parenting. Mothering is large and constant. Kids take up more space in my world. Little else is loud enough to compete with all this life and energy I share home with. And even if it is a season that makes me yearn for quiet, it is a season to treasure and use wisely.

Yet today has been more failure than wisdom. A child or two did with good spirit what was asked of them, when it was asked. And a child or two bucked and brayed their way through this day, a discouragement that seeps deep in my bones. It makes me grumpy and short tempered. I react, pursed lips. I rebuke, resentfully doling out the consequences — loss of this, extra work, laps around the neighborhood on bikes.

I can be angry with them, but I am never only that: I am angry with myself. The moral failings of my children are a moral defeat, a bony finger pointing back at me. Their failures are my own, mirrors of the shortcomings of my parenting. I take it personally.

I wrote a post today about parenting. But it must be saved for later. It does nothing to make transparent the grit involved in what we as parents labor toward. For deep as the riches extend, so also does the sting. Kids do what they shouldn’t do. So do I. And I’ve no desire to wrap up the uglier side of my parenting in a neat package. Today has been mostly ugly, a reflection of the spirit of my children but mostly a reflection of my own pride.

I love them. I fail them. And often I do well. Today could have gone better. But they are being shaped by both my wisdom and my failings, and not always to the worst. It is my hope — that God will work for good what I am unable to do perfectly, what I outright do poorly.

I’ve seen him do it before. It is his grace extended in their lives … and mine.