A Post About Piper

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She's so serious here. Trying to figure out the camera with the sensation of mother-love that comes all too little lately. I borrowed her for my 365 project today.

I'm working in a self-portrait angle this year, and three days into it, I'm certain it's going to be a stretching experience. I view myself in pieces right now. There is writer-me, depressed-me, insecure-me, loved-me, mama-me, person-me. The feelings ram against each other; my stay is not in my mood.

But this is a post about Piper.

She has grown so much. I hardly believe she is two anymore. Her homeschool-mama sitter sat Pete down after fencing recently (my husband is teaching fencing again, and taking Piper with him) and told him that she is operating at a four-to-five-year-old level. This report made one rather bad day of mine a rather good day at its end.

With her growth comes an expanded capacity for trouble.

I have an aunt who reads this blog who will cringe at this next photo:

Piper destroyed my grandmother's chair yesterday. I inherited a few small things from Grandma, things I treasure more than I should probably treasure earthly possessions. They're right up there with my camera in emotional value. Probably more so. This was one of those.

I didn't know it until I went into the living room to take a little time with her and found the pieces scattered all over the floor.

And mama-time went out the window.

Because I had told her. And I know she is old enough and responsible enough to know that she was not supposed to tear the chair up.

So I yelled, as all good mad mamas do. And I spanked her. As most good mad mamas do. And I sent her to her room, because I was too angry with her to not keep yelling, and I needed a little help with my self-control.

I didn't know what to do. When love rams up into loss, how do you react? What course of action can you take?

By now the baby was hollering to be fed, so I pulled him out of his bed and nursed him, fuming, frustrated, trying to figure out how to fix the situation - not the chair, the broken relationship. The relationship I had just knocked over the foul line.

I was still fuming when I heard her door open. I steeled myself, determined to keep my quiet, as she padded into the kitchen, crying softly.

She laid her head on the arm of my desk chair, on my arm resting there, holding Bredon as I nursed.

"I'm sowwy, Mama. Sowwy, Mommy."

Now it was my turn to cry. My anger dissolved. How did she know?

I got to forgive her. And then I told her I was sorry too, for yelling, for my angry. I told her I loved her.

And she moved on.

Childlike, childish - it was okay now. She could play again.

I sat and watched her, amazed, stunned at her tender heart.

And something else caught me. She didn't doubt my forgiveness once she knew she was still loved. She received the mercy she'd asked of me.

I don't even do that when I ask it of God. I'm too busy kicking myself for needing the mercy in the first place.


Talk about lessons in abundant living...

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)


Glynn said...

There's a beautiful picture here of grace -- drawn by a 2-year-old.

?ete said...

Thank you for saving these memories for us, m'dear- I love you (and the Chair-terror) more than I can express.

Billy Coffey said...

I've never really learned about grace and forgiveness until I became a parent. Sometimes I think my kids teach me much more than I teach them.

Cassandra Frear said...

Heartbreaking about the chair. It bothers me, even reading about it. My blood pressure rises at the image and what it means. Some things cannot be replaced.

I feel like this even though I know your daughter is the more worthy treasure and there must be grace enough to cover all of us.

Think we might be a little bit alike?

heather said...

Thank you. I hadn't thought of this before--the ease of accepting forgiveness because of the assurance of love. I struggle with this, feeling the need to apologize over and over again, making up for the hurt I caused. But love forgives. I need to rest in that.
I also identify with how you describe yourself in pieces. It's rare that all these pieces come together in me, that I feel wholly me. I am this person in church, another person during my daily writing, and another person with family.

Dianne said...

you made me cry--

her apology--

Kathleen said...

The picture of the chair is beautiful, as is. A 'pile of rocks' to mark forever, the spot where you chose relationship.
And growth. :) You are a dear girl. Beloved.

Mary said...

oh the lessons our children teach us. may mercy and grace abound in your home today...

Melissa Brotherton said...

Thank you for sharing this! God has taught me more about forgiveness and humility through my interactions with my children than the rest of my life put together. I have been there...still fuming but also distraught at how you've responded...and you're right, somehow they just know. Their ability to humble themselves and say sorry (without realizing their being humble) is what always breaks through my anger. Imagine if we were able to so easily act that way towards adults we've wronged. There'd be a lot less bitterness and broken relationships. Thank you for sharing...and praying for you today!

Danielle said...

I'm really really sorry about the chair.

Boy, I relate to this today! Right before reading this I had to ask Duncan's forgiveness for being angry and yelling at him. It's been a rough day. Yet I'm always so amazed at how my boys so simply forgive me. Much more easily than I forgive others. Children are such good teachers. And testers, eh? :)

Bina said...

My children are older now, but I still have these moments...when they melt my heart with a single sliding tear or a well phrased "I'm so sorry"...when I realize that they need to know that they are still loved despite the mistake or the infraction.

Tears of my own well and slide down, but that is a good thing. :)

deb said...

Beautifully told, this story of ugly/beautiful.
As you can imagine, I've had my share of these experiences. Still do . Always will.

and always, the grace .

kirsten michelle said...

What an amazing insight, Kelly!! Those last lines say it all: She didn't doubt my forgiveness once she knew she was still loved. She received the mercy she'd asked of me.

Oh, for childlike faith indeed. I think we could all use a little more of this.

Thank you for writing this.

sarah said...

Such a beautiful post, radiant in its honesty. I believe so much in being our honest selves with our children. Mostly, the love will shine through. But when the fear does, and we are able to apologise afterwards, and explain, then we teach them deeply about being an authentic human being. And that fear can be eased, forgiven, held in God's heart.

As for the chair - I don't see it the same way as others do. I've always been strange when it comes to this kind of thing. I honestly see a family heirloom that has one more story added to it. I see a revelation of its heart - a new stripe in the family history - or at least a chance to contemplate the treasure that it is, and restore it with love and patience. To me, it has been enriched and beautified. But perhaps I just say that as someone who loves old, half-peeling layers and the things they tell us. Right now I have my feet up on a very old, rope-knotted heirloom stool that has been half-unraveled by little hands over the years, and looks a mess, and yet is so beloved, so healing, because of the life that has been lived in that unraveling.

And yet, I am sorry for your unhappiness. I know my perspective is unusual. I'm sorry for your loss.

Erin said...

I am always, ALWAYS amazed at the forgiveness and grace my children extend to me. How often I fail them, yet every time they show mercy. And I think that must be one more way God shows us mercy. Through them.

jasonS said...

Excellent post- thank you...

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

A beautiful portrait of grace and mercy and forgiveness here. Thank you for opening it up to us.

Stephani said...

Childlike faith. What a blessing for you to have an example that you can touch with your hands! Thanks for sharing.

Corinne said...

Oh Kelly... I've been there. I've spanked Fynn once, and it was awful. The sting was worse on my end. And then we forgave each other, and had forgiveness on our side.
Thank goodness for grace.
(and I'm so sorry about your chair... I yelled at Paige the other day when she threw some ceramic spoons from Italy, my fault for letting her play w/ them... but I recall saying "mommy doesn't have anything nice left!!!!!!" and it's so true!!)

Bunch of Barrons said...

Love this...so sweet and true.

denise said...

Love the pictures; love the post.

Maybe because it's a little too familiar.

Susan said...

So sorry about the chair, but what you shared was so true. Jesus said how we should be like a little child and I am reminded of what that looks like so many times by watching my children. They are confident of our love, they don't keep saying they're sorry, they move on... such a reminder to me.

casual friday every day said...

Oh how this tugged at my heart strings. Having three kids, I know about it being hard to find time for each one. I know about losing ones grasp on emotions when one of your children does something. And how bittersweeet it is when they say they are sorry, and you then melt on the floor because you're sorry too.

And the pictures are just wonderful and go perfectly with this post.


Tea With Tiffany said...

I get this. Deep in my heart I see this in my own children. Thank you.

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