Thursday, April 7, 2011

That Moment

Time and time again I have told Leah climbing on the arms of the couch is not the correct way to get on the couch.  Time and time again her three year old mind has either forgotten that rule or chose to ignore it for the thrill of climbing on the wrong way.

This particular time while scrambling over the forbidden side, her foot kicked the power cord to the lamp causing the light to suddenly disappear.  Startled I verbally lashed out at my sullen child unable to get on the couch and now in trouble as well.  My words came out probably too harsh for such a simple startle.

Then I saw it.  I saw myself in my baby.  I saw the instant recognition of wrong doing.  I saw her guilt for messing up.  I saw her shame for upsetting her mom. 

In that scrunched face with tears streaming down her cheeks I felt the kid in my cry as well.  I instantly knew she knew she messed up.  I knew she would not repeat it.  Letting me down was punishment enough.

And I felt it; her need for a hug.  So many times being disciplined as a child all I really wanted was a hug.  I understood I messed up.  I understood I let my parents down.  I was full of guilt and shame, and all I really wanted was for someone to remind me they loved me.

So I stopped yelling.  I stopped being mad. In that split second my childhood rushed into my soul, I dropped to my knees and gathered her into me.  I held her as she sobbed understanding she wasn’t sobbing for a kicked out power chord, but from the shame and embarrassment of messing up. 

I pushed her into me and cooed into her ear.  I told her I loved her.  I told her she didn’t have to be perfect for me.  I told her it was alright to make mistakes.  I held her until her shaking sobs became kisses and ‘i love you too’s. 

For that moment Leah wasn’t my child; she was me 20 years ago.


  1. its shocking how we can see ourselves in our children sometimes. I know a lot of time when I discipline Bailey it breaks his heart because Im upset with him and that just makes me so sad!

  2. Beautiful and precious! Some times we need those reminders and moments when we can grab hold of inner child and say "it's okay!"

  3. You are a wonderful mama...your girls are blessed!

  4. I love this... it is just lovely and a perfect reminder. Great mama moment and what a way to show unconditional love.

  5. what memory could you have kept from 20 years ago that you remember guilt?? I'm so sorry that your parents didn't show you unconditional love.

  6. Anonymous -- that's not what I meant ... it was just a feeling, and my parents did show me unconditional love all the time through everything

  7. Anonymous -- I never said I was holding onto a memory for that long that I feel guilty about. What I was doing was relating a feeling I had as a child, a feeling that was brought about when I felt upset for disappointing my parents.

    Also, I never ever ever once said my parents did not show my unconditional love. Never even implied it. My parents are wonderful parents. They love me as unconditionally, more than I can imagine. They have been there for my toughest moments.

    I'm not saying there weren't struggles. I'm not saying we always got along. I'm not saying there weren't times when I would have rather had a hug than a spanking, but I'm sure my kids may think that someday. But never ever would I say my parents did not love me unconditionally.


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