If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Open mouth, insert tram ...

I’ve always been a sucker for theme parks. Screaming children. Overpriced food. A 90-minute wait for a 30-second ride. Blazing heat. What’s not to love?

I grew up in Florida. Theme parks were a big part of my childhood and now of my own kids’. One recent little gem won’t be making the family scrapbook, however.

This Spring Break we announce we're going to Busch Gardens. My nine-year-old is thrilled. My 12-year-old thinks we’ve dreamed this up as some kind of torture to make her life as miserable as humanly possible.

It’s been a long day. I’ve reached my limit of adolescent “episodes.” I’m grumpy. I. want. to. go. Now.

About a million people are waiting for the tram to take us back to our cars, but we’re first in one of the lines. Hallelujah.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Each line of people matches up to a row of seats in the tram.

To my complete horror, the tram stops and the line of people next to me rush the tram and take our row of seats!

Uh-huh. Not going to happen. Momma’s got an attitude and she’s not going to be denied.

I spy one seat left in “our” row. It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

I jockey for position and leave the husband of this family of “row-thieves” standing by the tram.

Apparently I decide I’m going to make this family leave their patriarch behind. And at that moment it seems perfectly rational to leave my own family behind because that is “my” seat.

And I don’t even have the keys to the car.

The exchange went something like this:

Row thief wife: “Um, that’s my husband. He needs that seat.”

Me: “Well, we were first in line and now we’re going to have to wait! (while rolling my eyes, stepping off the tram and turning on my heel in a snit.)

Molly (laughing hysterically): Who are you, Mom?!

Micah (my son): Mom, what was that??

My husband: The woman obviously didn’t know she was messing with The Polecat! (his affectionate name for me when I completely lose it and do or say something irrational or feisty or both.)

A sense of entitlement. It’s the very thing I hate to see in my children. But here I was acting like a pouty princess because I didn’t get my way.

As parents, we have opportunities to deny our “rights” everyday. We have to give up what we’re “entitled” to in order to be a servant to our children.

I sacrifice for them and expect they’ll show me love and respect. But sometimes I get attitude or apathy. Backtalking and bellyaching. There are no guaranteed rewards. Just Christ’s instruction to obey, to serve, to stick with it, regardless of the outcome. Regardless of how I feel or what I think I’m entitled to.

Each and every time we do, we give our children a little earthly glimpse of God’s unconditional love.

Jesus is our example. “He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:7-8)

He became nothing, giving up His rights as the Son of God to serve us. And I can’t shut my big mouth and give up my seat on the tram.


  1. *sigh* I've been that polecat so many times myself. One day we'll be perfect.... Thanx for the funny story!

  2. I love your candor.
    Great site. Your so creative.

  3. T.Anne ... glad I'm not the only Polecat out there! We have to stick together! :)


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