Posted in Daughter

Learning forgiveness from our children

I am delighted to have Anne, from Sugar Bowl Mix, as my guest poster this week on Small Moments Mondays.

Though Anne is a new friend, the more I learn about her, the more I admire her. She’s kind, open, and truly interesting. I’ve liked her from the moment I first met her, but when I read this, from the about page on her blog, I was struck by how wise she is:

“I believe there are many right ways to parent and that every parent must choose the parenting path that fits their life and their child and support others who may have chosen a different path. Because we’re all on this parenting journey together.”

Beautifully, put, Anne!  Thank you so much for sharing your words with us. I’m so honored to have you here.

Learning Forgiveness From Our Children — by Anne

Before I became a mother I always thought the parent was the teacher. At least in the early years. I never expected to learn so much from my young children. I never expected to be taught valuable life lessons.

When Caroline was in second grade she taught me about homophones and this year, in third grade, she taught me about the waning and waxing gibbous moons.

Don’t you know how to spell gibbous, Mommy? G.I.B.B.O.U.S. Gibbous. You’re funny, Mommy.

But far more important than homophones and waning gibbous moons, Caroline taught me that forgiveness is a powerful gift. I began to tune in to her incredible, innate ability to forgive last year, while she laughed at my lack of second grade grammar knowledge.

A troubled boy in Caroline’s class who suffered from oppositional behavior issues, assaulted her numerous times over a period of four months. He pulled her hair, he knocked her down, he punched her in the stomach, he punched her in the face.

She wasn’t the only child the boy assaulted. There were many. He even tripped the Vice-Principal, who slammed her head on the floor, went into shock, and was rushed to the ER.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as a parent is drop Caroline off for school every morning knowing she wasn’t safe. I wrote letters, I was in the Principal’s office, The Vice-Principal’s office, and on the phone to the teacher and the district administration more times than I can count. My daughter has the right to a safe learning environment was met with the boy has more rights under federal law than your daughter.

Eventually, in February, the boy was moved to a special needs class and finally to another school for behaviorally challenged children.

In the midst of my heartbreak over Caroline being assaulted, I tried my hardest to turn this into a learning experience, to find the silver lining. Every time she came home after an incident with the boy, I held her tightly, told her I loved her, and then explained the boy’s brain didn’t work well. That life for him was challenging. That he didn’t know what “no” meant. None of which meant his assaulting her was okay, but all of which meant he needed help. And we should respect his need for help.

Asking for help was always a struggle for Caroline. But every time the boy assaulted her, Caroline told her teacher. Twice, she even went to the Principal’s office to report the incident. This was huge for her. A true milestone. She became friendly with the front office staff. Sometimes she went to visit them after an incident. They hung out with her, humored her and sent her back to class after they’d gotten her to laugh. I kept her home the day after the boy tripped the Vice Principal. A good thing because that day the boy wandered the hallways tossing chairs.

The day the boy left for the other school Caroline ran to greet me at pick-up time. She hugged me hard, pressing her face in to me. Safe in my embrace, she spilled out muffled words.

He can’t punch me anymore. That’s good. He’s going to get help at his new school. That’s good. This school couldn’t help him. I’m glad he’s going to get help. It’s not good to hurt other people, Mama.

At seven years old, with all the tears, the knockdowns, the pain, the fears she had endured during those four months, her thought was about the boy getting the help he needed. She empathized with his need for help. She understood he made mistakes. Mistakes that hurt her. But she also understood she couldn’t expect more of him than he could give.

Her giving heart forgave him.

In that moment, in my arms, her warm breath seeping through my shirt, she experienced the power of forgiveness.

And with her, I did, too.

What have you learned from your children?

Now that you’ve read Anne’s lovely story here, please go over to Sugar Bowl Mix and read Hollywood: A Scene From my Life Before Kids, He Had Me at Dessert, and Thanksgiving Post: This One’s a Troublemaker.

Be sure to follow Anne on Twitter, where she’s every bit as lovely.

Small Moments Spotlight #14

In this week’s Small Moment Spotlight, I have two lovely posts to share with you.

The first post is from Alison, who blogs over at this homemade life. Her post, Spring, is light on words, heavy on gorgeous photography, and just brimming with appreciation of one of the small joys in life. Alison’s photography never fails to tell a story and pull me in. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites.

The second post, I’ll Be There, is from Cheryl of Mommy Pants. This post was featured over at our friend Gigi’s place, Kludgy Mom. One of the things that I love most about Cheryl is that she gets stuff done. She’s no-nonsense, calm, and logical. This post, however, shows her softer side, a side that I love. Don’t miss this piece!

If you’ve submitted something to me recently and it isn’t featured here, that might just mean that I’m saving it to feature in the coming weeks.

If you have read or written a post that captures a small moment, please use my “contact me” tab (it’s up there at the top in the navigation bar) and send me the link. I’d love to feature it here.

If you’ve been featured here in the Small Moments Spotlight and would like the button, let me know and I’ll send it your way.

 

Your joys so much greater…

This week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster is…me!

I wrote this letter to Katie last Monday and since today is my birthday, I’ve decided to share it with you here!

Thank you so much for reading…

Dear Katie,

When Daddy left for work this morning, he asked you to go easy on me today. Mondays are always rough, as we try to find our groove again with Daddy back to work. He told you that I needed some extra hugs and that you should snuggle with me as much as possible.

And you did.

You molded into me, stroking my arm and squeezing my hand.

You tickled my neck and “read” to me.

You simply loved me.

You are such a beautiful child, Katie. Kind and tender, intuitive and observant.

You aren’t yet four, but somehow you are so much older than your years.

It brings me so much joy to look at what a lovely person you are becoming. I see hints of the woman you will one day be.

I am so grateful to have you in my life.

Life is so filled with twists and turns, my sweet Katie. Sometimes I want to hold you you tightly and refuse to entertain the idea of you growing older.

But you will.

You will.

And I hope to be there by your side, sharing the bits of wisdom that I’ve gathered on my journey.

Small things, like always carry tissues in your purse, to bigger things, like reach for all of the happiness that your arms can hold.

Tiny things, like Dave Matthews must play a central part in any road trip, to more important things, like don’t be too hard on yourself. You will stumble. We all do.

I hope to be there to tell you where I made mistakes and where I made great choices.

And, like all mothers, I hope that your sad times are fewer than mine and your joys so much greater.

Because, if I know anything to be true in this world, it’s that I love you, Katherine. From tip to toe.

You are truly remarkable.

And I’m blessed that you’re ours.

With a heart just brimming with love,

Mommy

*********************

I’m honored to be guest posting over at my lovely friend Natalie’s blog, Mommy of a Monster, where I am sharing one of my less than stellar mommy moments. It would mean the world to me if you would come over and say hello.  Come read, “To Be Sure.”

The luckiest girl in the world

This week on Small Moments Mondays, I am honored to have my dear friend Melissa, from Confessions of a Dr. Mom, as guest host.

My fondness for Melissa began from reading her words and blossomed when I met her in person.

I’ve written about her before, about how much I enjoy her company. She has a calmness about her…a gentle and soothing nature that truly feels like a hug.

I am so grateful to call Melissa a real friend. And this piece that she wrote for Small Moments Mondays is so incredibly lovely and is written from a place of true vulnerability and honesty. I identify so strongly with this piece that my heart nearly burst when I read it for the first time.

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your words here and for your friendship. I am so blessed.

The Luckiest Girl in the World — by Melissa

Driving home from the ultrasound, the news was still settling in. When you find out news you have secretly been wishing for, you don’t necessarily celebrate immediately. You ponder the accuracy of it. Hesitant to start planning and dreaming about what life will be like. However, I could no longer suppress my smile. Visions of tiny pink onesies, hair bows, and dresses came rushing to me. We are having a girl. “I can’t believe it!” I said excitedly. I glanced over at my husband who had been quiet, maybe in shock. I wasn’t sure. Then out of the corner of his mouth came a smile. Clearly, it was still sinking in for him too. Then I noticed the tears filling up his eyes as he said this: “I can’t believe one day I will be walking my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.”

Those words hit me hard. I was not prepared. I was barely grasping the concept of holding a tiny baby girl in my arms. I could only get as far as dressing her. Here was my husband emotionally preparing himself for the day he would have to kiss his unborn daughter good-bye on her wedding day. It was then that I realized how lucky our baby girl already was.

Memories of my own father started creeping in and I could no longer deny them. For I had spent most of my life wishing I had a different kind of father. A father who didn’t drink. A father whose body and soul weren’t at the mercy of his alcoholism. A father who would guide me through life, providing stability and love. A father who would be present for my moments, both big and small. A moment like my wedding day. He was not there.

I glance over again at this man sitting next to me, my husband, and I’m filled with a deeper appreciation and love. He is already a wonderful father to our son and now, our unborn daughter. I knew instantly he would be the kind of father she deserved. He would guide her with strength and love. He would be there for dance recitals, gymnastics meets, and soccer games, whatever she chooses to do. He will be there.

Our daughter is now three years old and I am more certain than ever. He will continue to share in her joys and weather the storms. He will withstand the tantrums, the eye-rolls, the tumultuous teenage years, and whatever else she may throw his way. He will be her father through it all. And on that day, when she may need him the most to comfort and reassure her, he will be there. His heart filled with pain, pride, and an insane amount of love, he will walk her down that aisle and kiss his baby girl good-bye.

This is why my daughter is the luckiest girl in the world.

Now that you’ve read Melissa’s heartfelt words, please go visit her.  Be sure to read the heartbreaking Crashing Down. You’ll also love How Parenting Advice is Like GPS.  And lastly, don’t miss Breastfeeding Broke My Heart, a piece that shows Melissa’s strength of character, dedication to her children, and extreme honesty.

And once you’ve visited her, be sure to find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Before my feet hit the ground…

This week, I’m honored to have Pop, from Go, Pop, Go! here on Small Moments Mondays. I’ve been looking forward to featuring him here and couldn’t wait to share him with you all.

There isn’t much that I adore more than a man who is truly involved with his children. Pop isn’t just dedicated to his baby girls, but he adores his wife as well and he so beautifully balances his humor with his softer, more reflective side.

When I invited him to come share a small moment with me here on Small Moments Mondays, he read through all of the previous posts and emailed me that he had “sawdust in his eyes.” He felt the same way that I do about this series … that the love and appreciation that we each feel for those we hold dear is paramount.

Thank you, Pop, for contributing to the sawdust factor here. I think the world of you and Small Moments Mondays is better for having you as a part of it.

Before my feet hit the ground… – by Pop

Last week, we were getting ready for a long Sunday. We were going to be gone for most of the day because we had church and then a baby shower to attend. To complicate matters, I bought a few items for church that I needed to bring that day along with some budget requests. My wife and I were so proud of ourselves as we packed the car with snacks for the kids, a Moby Wrap in case D2 (my second daughter, 7 months old, 19lb9oz) got too heavy to hold during the shower, the church equipment and budget requests, the gifts for the baby shower, and a few bottles of water and snacks for ourselves. When we were almost at church, my wife and I both smelled it: the smell of rotted sourdough bread mixed with spoiled milk that all parents of infants are familiar with.

When we arrived at church, we found that D2 dropped a BOMB and there was poop all over her and the carseat. As semi-veteran parents, scenes like this are less shocking and more commonplace, so I calmly took D2 out of the carseat, handed her to my wife and reached for the diaper bag.

Wait. Uhhhhhhhhh…..

“Honey, did you pack the diaper bag?” “No,” my wife replies, “I thought you packed it.” “No….I thought you left it in the car from our last trip.” We had a car full of stuff: gifts, snacks, etc…but we forgot the most important thing.

———–

Just like my wife and I overlooked the most important bag without realizing it, my favorite small moment is one that is really important, and yet is easily and often overlooked, especially by us parents: beholding my sleeping spouse the moment I wake up. Ok, that sounds more than a tad creepy, so let me quickly explain.

As I get older, I find things gradually increasing. My waistline, the number of chins I have, the bags under my eyes, my responsibilities, the bills I have to pay, and most especially, my to-do list. And all these things battle for my attention first thing in the morning. “What reports are due today?” “Where do I have to take the kids?” “Do we have a meeting/dinner with anyone tonight?” These are just some of the questions that race through my head from the first waking moment as I begin my routine of getting myself & my kids ready for the day. Consequently, the first half hour in my household is a flurry of activity.

After nearly 3 years of parenting, I wish I could say our mornings are a well-choreographed symphony of awesomeness. But I can’t. Our less than smooth mornings usually include yelling (think Fred Flintstone shouting, “Wilmaaaaaaa!”), the words, “I have to pee” shortly after getting in the car, and turning back once we realize we forgot the diaper bag. Yup. Coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in our home in the morning; we brew stress fresh every day.

And that’s where my favorite small moment comes in. Will it prevent the inevitable chaos that is the morning routine? No. But like a day where someone gives you a compliment or your kid tells you, “I love you” without prompting or bribing, it’s a great start.

Thinking back to our honeymoon, I remember our first morning together so vividly. The sun was peaking through the curtains, and I woke up and looked over at my wife. She was absolutely stunning on our wedding day, but somehow, she was even more beautiful that morning. I smiled thinking that, God willing, I get to spend the rest of my days with this woman.

Some guys may disagree, but for me, the first moment in the morning is when my wife is most beautiful. No makeup, no worries or concerns on her face – just her: the woman I vowed to spend the rest of my life with.

Looking at her in that peaceful state, I feel renewed. No matter what the days before have been like or what the days ahead may hold, I know we’ll make it through together, and there’s just no better way to start my day.

And yet, it’s something I can so easily overlook as I manically attack my to-do list.

Before my feet hit the ground and I go about my day, I want to stare lovingly at the woman who makes life worth it.

So tomorrow morning, look over at your spouse and enjoy it. But not for too long – you have a lot to do today.

Now, please go over and visit Pop. Be sure to read A Letter to My Daughters: U Cant Haz Internetz, I love You, Dad, and Instantly Social? Dislike! I promise, time spent with Pop is time well spent!  Also, he’s a great friend to have on Twitter and you can follow him here.


About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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