I didn’t realize until yesterday that I had completely failed as a mother. And not just a little. Really failed. It hit me deep in my gut, and it was all I could do not to cry right there in front of my students.
One of my 5th graders walked by and casually asked, “Hey, Mrs. B, did you go to the baseball game yesterday?”
In that minute I remembered why I didn’t. I was supposed to take Sam to a birthday party. His friend’s birthday party. His best friend’s birthday party. We got caught up in plans and busyness and absolutely nothing, and I forgot to take him.
It may not seem like a huge deal, but I know my Sam. I know his heart. And I’ve seen him cry, devastated when he feels like he has hurt someone’s feelings.
I’ve also watched him struggle to make friends because we’ve moved so many times in his little life. He’s changed schools nearly every year. He’s lived in neighborhoods not conducive to making friends outside. And he’s been lonely.
In fact we chose our home because it was zoned for schools my kids could attend and receive a good education. We also chose this house because our kids could finally go to school with the kids in their neighborhoods.
So when my Sam came home day after day talking about his new friend, I thanked God for her. This sweet little girl who gets my crazy Sam I Am and his clowny jokes and off beat sense of clothing taste. She’s quiet and let’s him be loud and heard which is a major bonus for a the little boy who is the youngest of five. She’s giggly at his jokes and builds him up with her words.
He has a new story about her everyday and he is simply smitten. He only wants to invite her to his 10th birthday next week. And he so looked forward to honoring her at her birthday. The weight of all this hit me as I stood outside of my classroom yesterday.
I made a completely rookie mistake of not writing her party down in my calendar. I had to wait to process. On my break I texted my husband. He hurt with me. Fool heartedly, I think I was hoping he would say it wasn’t a big deal. But he didn’t because he knows that Sam as well as I do. I love that he encouraged me and sympathized with me, but I knew my Sam was going to be hurting.
What’s worse is I knew he wouldn’t realize until she asked him about it at school. And I couldn’t even be there to say sorry or hug him or fix it. So I prayed that God would comfort my baby and help his friend not to be mad at him. She wasn’t.
I got home as soon as possible and apologized. I warred with not bringing it up at all. I’m the mom. I’m busy. I’m in charge of five kids and doesn’t he know how much I do for other people?? But that’s all pride and not at all who I want to be.
So I just said I’m sorry and I asked Sam how he felt. I ached when his lip quivered while he said it was ok. He forgave me quickly, but it left me wondering.
Am I doing too much? Should I chalk this up to “stuff like this happens”? Sure. Of course we make mistakes as parents. But I needed to do some heavy reflecting. A lot of my time is spent on my job. I’m a working mom. I have to work, but this means I get to say no to other things. I should have said no to some other things.
I never want Sam to feel like he’s getting the short end of me. My priorities are God, my husband, my children, and then everything else. All of that in that order all of the time.
Sam so graciously forgave me and we spent the day thinking of ways we can bless his friend for her birthday. I know it will be fine, and he assured me that she forgave him for missing. But this has caused me to remember to get caught up in the good stuff, not the busy stuff.
Sunday should have been Sam day. Getting him to this birthday should have been my priority, and it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure I’ll have plenty of mom fails. And I’m good with that, because no parent is perfect. I’ll embrace my shortcomings. But I want to strive to finish strong.
We’ve fully raised one girl. We’ve got two more on deck in high school. One in 6th. And now Sam is moving on to 5th grade. I didn’t work when the rest of my kids were young. It’s my job to select the best priorities so Sam never feels like he is raised differently or gets less of the important parts of me because I choose to work.
These kids are my masterpiece. This family is my opus. My greatest role is honoring them and raising children who change this world for the better. I’m so grateful I’m not in this alone. And I’m so grateful they forgive when I am not perfect.
This song lyric speaks to me.
“You wanna know where my heart is, I stand out because I wear my garbage.” NF Real