10 Nov 2010

My wise little girl

When I'm a good mother, I'm good. Very good.

When I'm a bad mother, though, I'm horrid.

On Sunday night, I was totally horrid.

We were travelling home from a big family reunion in Melbourne. It had been a super delightful day, and it was late and we were all tired and grumpy. I was reading aloud as we travelled. As usual. Only for some perverse reason, explainable only perhaps by the fact that we had been drinking Chandon since noon, I wasn't reading one of the nice storybooks that we have on the go right now - not At the Back of the North Wind nor Spiderweb for Two nor The Jungle Book even. No, for some reason I was reading from Trial and Triumph. About Gustavus Adolphus and The Battle of Breitenfeld. Plus, I was expecting a narration. Of Jemimah's normal excellent standard and no lower. With all proper names.

Which, of course she failed to deliver.

And I was horrid.

Really horrid.

Really, totally horrid.

Eventually, after I'd been horrid for quite a while, my beloved, who had been sitting silent in the driver's seat suggested that perhaps I'd been horrid quite long enough and that really I was probably not achieving anything too positive, now, was I?

At which point I was horrid to him as well. At least I wasn't expecting him to narrate though.

Then I sulked petulantly. Uncharacteristic of me, sulking, but that's what I did. Sulked.

Eventually, finally, we arrived home. A quick dinner of something totally unacceptable, like baked beans, I think, and it was into bed for Miss Eight. It was about ten o'clock.

And this is when I finally did something good.

Despite the lateness of the hour I reached for her storybook, and we read a chapter. Then another. No narrations. Then we cuddled for a bit in the dark. Like usual. Like when I'm being good mother.

Next morning I felt pretty horrid. Only this time I wasn't feeling horrid toward my daughter. This time I was feeling horrid about myself.

I went and apologised. I even asked her to forgive me.

And this is what my wise little girl said:
- You know how you're not supposed to let the sun go down on your anger, Mummy?
- Yes... (guiltily, and knowing that the admonition was deserved and that that was exactly what I'd done)
- Well, I don't think that that is true when you read stories at night.
- Well, when you read together at bedtime and then huggle and cuggle together, then you just know you're loved and that you're forgiven. You don't need to apologise anymore. It's all okay.
And then I felt about two inches tall. I didn't feel like a very good mother at all. And I still felt horrid.

But I felt incredibly proud of my wise little girl.


  1. Oh, that made me cry! Jemimah, you are so NOT horrible, dear one.

    Jeanne, we Moms are all horrible once in a while, aren't we? One night isn't so very bad. I've had quite a stretch of days here lately, and I'm trying not to blame hormones (though they do play a part). Thank God for grace... and bedtime stories! That photo says it all, really.

  2. Another post, and more tears. This was beautiful. Your little girl sounds very much my little girl. :) They can display forgiveness, wisdom and understanding that seem beyond their years. Children continue to be a blessing in ways we couldn't comprehend when we first became mothers.

  3. Jeanne,
    Oh, how sweet is the forgiveness of a child. I see so much of God's grace through my children. I bet that story time with Jemimah was one of your best ever!

  4. a wise little girl whose wisdom obviously came from the Holy Spirit and from the training of a wonderful(very much not horrid)Mummy.

    we all have our moments, Jeanne. i'm thankful to you for sharing yours...

  5. Yes, children forgive so easily, often sooner than adults do! The older I get the more I realise how am I a worse sinner than my children. It often amazes me when they express their love and forgiveness so freely. Good on you for going to read to Jemimah in bed, sometimes it can be hard to shake out of that mood can't it!
    P.S. Voted for you :-)

  6. You're doing it right--don't worry! Sweet explanation from your very wise girl.

    Not bragging, here, for it was a truly AWFUL parenting moment that caused it, but I once caused a school counselor to nearly cry because I called her and asked to speak to my son so I could apologize. I'd gone off over him leaving his bike out. Totally forgetting that I'd called him to the back yard to play baseball and then rushed him off to bath and bed. They need us to be imperfect and they need us to let them extend GRACE too.

  7. I learn so much from my kids. This is such a preciosu post. Tears welling up in my eyes as I think about how we are menat to have faith like a chiild.
    (I need to share it in my FB PWL page.)

  8. Lovely post, Jeanne. You're wise little girl learnt that from somewhere. Well done mummy!

  9. Jeanne, I like you! :)
    Thanks for sharing this post, it was just what I needed this morning! I have them too, those ugly moments when I'm being really horrible. Thankfully I also have kids who forgive me, hug me, love me. Snuggling in bed with a read aloud sounds like the perfect way to end it. xx

  10. Thank God our children are here to teach us forgiveness from a pure heart.

    You're a good mummy.

  11. Well, I'm going a little against the tide by agreeing with you, you were pretty horrid... ;)

    but thankfully there's forgiveness available to all of our horrid selves...

    it's especially nice when our children forgive us, which they do so graciously, and it makes us feel even more horrid.

    I'm also glad you wrote this.

    amy in peru
    an occasionally horrid mother too

  12. How Beautiful. Thank you for your honesty ... :)

  13. I love the way she is looking at you in this photo.
    We are SO blessed. Yes we have our 'horrid' moments, and yet our children still love us. Look at her eyes!
    We must remember this when they have their 'horrid' moments.


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