Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Hard Day

"For the last time, would you please stop bothering me? Go away....we'll read it later....just..let..me..finish...."

I turned away from the simmering soup to scold with eyes too, but her sunken face, those tears welled up, that fallen mouth trying hard not to burst into weeping, braced me.

This wasn't the first time that day my girl was pushed into sadness and rejection. Earlier while playing outside I overheard the sister scold, "Why are you such a klutz?". This time though she hadn't cried, she just came inside for a hug and asked for a snack. But I knew she was distracting herself from feeling rejected.

For a brief moment I tried to justify myself and my words with thoughts that motherhood is hard some days, that I was exhausted, that I was trying to get dinner on the table for them....yes, yes, here I was selflessly giving to them and couldn't be bothered.

I realized at once the contradiction of that last excuse...giving, but not really Giving. I once studied long and hard principles like non-contradiction and others. My life is so different now than it was back then, so...practical. Sometimes when I stop and observe myself I wonder that I ever wrote and defended "The Necessity of the Existence of the Agent Intellect" against the likes of Kant and Descartes before a board of intellectuals. Oh how fascinated I was by the faculties of the mind. How smart I was back then. But now here I am, older and supposedly wiser, discarding reason to justify myself.

Here I give...but can't be bothered.

Sometimes all it takes is the look on my children's faces to reveal the real truth about myself and so many other things. Once I saw her beautiful face all swollen with sadness I realized instantly how I had failed. Images of Pharisees, of people who claim to give while holding back...and of the sunken face of Jesus as He longs for them to really give. I saw myself in the hypocrites. I saw Jesus in my daughter, who needed not a mother to neglect immediate duties to read a story, but a gentle, loving response to her request. Soft words and the look of kindness, those things which are real gifts to a child. All she needed were those things, and I didn't give.

I see the face of Jesus in her, it is easy. But she must see Him in me.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I am sure it was not easy to write. I needed it today!

Anonymous said...
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Christine said...

Wow! Thank you, Kristen, for taking the time to share your wisdom.

Kristen Laurence said...

To Anon #2 (whose comment I deleted), I am sorry for whatever I have done to offend you. Please email me...

Jenny said...

Thanks for your post. I have had this experience the last few days with our little foster daughter. When I'm trying to make dinner or get something done, she comes and puts her arms up and timidly says, "Up?" I have told her "in a minute" too many times than she should have to hear. So, we've been going to sit in the rocking chair and spend some QT together. Everything else can wait. :)

Jenny said...

I could have written this today. Just not so eloquently.

MrsMuchTall said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's something I really needed to read. I struggle so hard with being patient with my little one and I need to remember to let him see Jesus in me a lot more often. God Bless, Kristin, you are a beautiful example of Catholic motherhood. Sending prayers your way for a better tomorrow.

Literature Goddess said...

Oh how I needed to hear this...especially with Christmas busyness and toddler needs. Thank you.

K said...

Oh you pierced my heart. Mea culpa.

J said...

I needed to read this. Thank you, Kristen. Prayers for you and all mothers

Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing... something I needed to hear. Your blog is a great blessing in this new world of motherhood I am in :) Prayers for a better tomorrow.

Mary said...

it still happens in the later years just without tears. thank you for this beautiful reminder Kristen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honest, sincere reminder that our children must see Jesus in us. Something I needed to hear. - Kelli

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Now you know how I felt on Monday when I saw the tears.I love you!!

Cheryl M. said...

Beautiful post, Kristen :) Hugs for you.

Ann Kroeker said...

How humble and honest and real.

Thank you for visiting me blog--it's an honor to meet you.

Mrs. French said...

wow, this is quite honest, I rather like that. Hate moments like this too :(

Carolyn said...

Wow, thank you for sharing your insights!
I'm not a mom, but I think what you said could apply to some difficulties of my own. Thanks!

Karen E. said...

Kristen, this is beautiful. We've all had days we wish never happened. And so, we begin again, every day ....

I just recommended your blog to an anonymous poster on my blog, on this post. I hope your experiences and beautiful writing might offer her some peace and comfort.

God bless!

Michelle said...

Thank you, Kristen.

Anonymous said...

Kristin,
Thank you. What beautiful and encouraging thoughts. Mary Brooke in Atlanta