Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Open Apology to My Son

My Precious Boy,

We have had a difficult past few days because we've been working on potty training, and it hasn't been going well.  You're not old enough to understand what's been happening or why I need to apologize to you, so I'm recording my heart here for you.  I want you to know that I haven't acted rightly toward you in this process, and I'm sorry.  I came into this with expectations and a plan of how it would go, and I grew deeply stressed and frustrated when it didn't work that way.  I was impatient with you when you didn't respond the way the books said you would.  I didn't focus on how much I love you and how important you are to me, and I forgot that the precious relationship we have is so much more important than any behavior I want you to learn!!

After four increasingly miserable days, I came to the point of despair.  I hated how frustrated I was and how unhappy our home was, and I decided that I'd rather have you still in diapers in a happy and loving home than potty-trained in misery.  Coming to that realization completely changed how I felt about the potty-training process, and it reminded me of what was important.  Love is the most important thing to me, and I decided it's ok if you don't get this right now.  So I decided to give it one more day of training, but instead of focusing on the results, I was just going to focus on love, gentleness, patience, grace, and support.

What really broke my heart, though, is that you completely turned around, too, when I started treating you like the mother you know, the mother I should've been all along.  After I let go of my stress and frustration, you didn't have one single accident today - you went on the potty EVERY TIME.  I realized that the frustration that was growing over you not responding the way I wanted you to was the very thing that was keeping you from doing it in the first place!  You were so afraid of my stress and frustration that you weren't free to try learning something new.  When I let go of my unreasonable expectations and just lavished you with grace, you flourished and learned.  I'm so ashamed of myself for putting that pressure on you, and I'm so sorry.

The thing is, though, that I recognize this perfectionistic trait in myself - I've seen it before, and if I'm honest I can't promise that I'll always do better.  I can certainly promise that I'm learning and trying to overcome when I recognize myself behaving unreasonably because of unmet expectations.  I do believe that God is so loving and faithful that He will continue working in me to rid me of these ungodly characteristics, but it may be a lifetime before I can always be the loving, kind, gentle, and patient mother you deserve.  I want to always represent the character of God to you, yet I am still just a human and I will make mistakes.

The thing I really want to emphasize to you now, though, is that God is not like me!  God is ALWAYS patient, ALWAYS loving, ALWAYS compassionate, ALWAYS kind, ALWAYS forgiving.  He does not EVER look on His children with disappointment or frustration; He never grows impatient when we are slow to learn our lessons.  Although He is the only Perfect One, He loves us completely even with our imperfections.  So although I will let you down, Elias, He never will.  Please look to Him for all the truth, all the identity, all the knowledge and strength you need.  If I ever act or speak anything other than what the Word of God says, I am the one who is wrong, never Him.

I love you so much, my sweet son, but God will always love you more.  Please fix your eyes on Him, not on me.
With love and kisses,


Jackie said...

sweet :) I may have to take your advice when it comes time for Jacob- because I have the same perfectionist tendencies. Thanks for always being so honest and open with us!

Mrs. Allroro said...

I second the thanks on your honesty and openness. It is very inspirational to me. Would you e-mail me? aluru dot my first name at gmail dot com