Monday, September 26, 2011

Already forgiven (no matter the mess!)

Tonight T had a dinner meeting, so the kids and I tackled the evening routine by ourselves.  Baby Bear became exhausted during dinner. He had an unmistakable "put-me-to-bed-now-or-else" look in his eye that I couldn't ignore.  E-Bear and G-Bear were enjoying their noodles and applesauce at a snails pace, partially because they were busy singing songs from today's music class to each other.  I knew Baby Bear wouldn't last until the noodle bowls were finished.

I announced to E-Bear and G-Bear that I needed to go put Baby Bear to bed.  I would be in the bedroom for a few minutes.  I wanted them to take a break from singing, keep their hands to themselves, and carefully finish their bites with their bottoms on their chairs.  When I returned, we would finish dinner together, take a quick bath, and then have a bedtime treat if everyone cooperated.  Then, bold woman that I am, I went to the bedroom to put Baby Bear to bed.

Some might say I like to live dangerously.  Two preschoolers at the dinner table, alone, with nearly-full bowls of food is a recipe for trouble, even on a good day.  I don't consider my kids to be overly mischievous, I am simply realistic about their level of judgement.

From the bedroom, as I nursed Baby Bear, I could hear the whole conversation at the table.  If I wanted Baby Bear to fall asleep, however, I couldn't announce my 'watchfulness' to the Bears by shouting to interject or intervene.  I made the decision that, unless bodily harm seemed imminent, I would let them handle the next few minutes by themselves and deal with the consequences afterwards.  I said a prayer for the carpet and prepared myself to forgive them for any youthful infraction they might commit in their next few moments of independence.

I was ready to forgive them, before they misbehaved.

For me, this was a momentary insight into the grace-filled parenthood of God.  He watches our every moment, even though we often forget that He's there.  He knows how our capacity for good is often obscured by our sinful nature, yet He allows us freedom to choose our actions.  He is ready to forgive us (thank you, Jesus), knowing our sin even before it happens.

I returned to the table to find two delighted Bears playing finger games and making spoon sculptures together.  No dinner bites had been eaten, but neither was there applesauce on the walls, noodles smeared on the floor, or underwear on anyone's head.  But more importantly, if there had been, I was just as ready to forgive as to correct.  Hopefully next time, when I need it, the Grace of God's parenthood will be present in mine.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Love this post. Amen!