Doused in Grace

"Mom, I know you said even grown-ups struggle with making bad choices, just like kids, but it seems like the only bad choice you have to keep saying sorry for is yelling. I mean, it seems like whenever you ask forgiveness it's always for yelling and stuff."

I click on the turning signal, then press down the brake. The soccer field is in sight.

So this must be the downside to having a sensitive and articulate six year old.

"I know, bud. It sure seems that way. I have to apologize more often than anything for my yelling."

"And you hab to say sorry to Calli too, right Mama?" Dani pipes in. "Cuz she's a snorey-yelley-doggy-doggerton."

Caed and I exchange a glance courtesy of the rearview mirror. We shake our heads and smile at Dani's bizarre and disarming contributions to the conversation.

We pile out of the car and pad carefully over the muddy patches to the field where the other blue shirts congregate. Dani dribbles in circles, lost in the moment, cackling as another girl chases. Caed watches, waiting for his turn, his team, then volunteers to be Dani's water boy.

And I want to say I get lost too--just as quickly--in these precious firsts, the soccer they've begged to play for two summers and counting. But I don't.

I'm smoldering still, the flames they just forgave not fully doused. I wonder why this anger boils, why I so easily snap.  Why, though I love them so profoundly, do I scorch over shin guard and hair band battles? Why does the whining stoke me so? And really, who is the child here?

It's me. The grown-up child. The one who preaches to my littles on self-control, "like a city without walls!", then loses it (loses it!) not even hours later.

(If you must know, I flung her cleats into the back of her closet and stomped off with a dramatic "That's IT!" Oh yes. I did.)

But I write now, far enough away that the embers are ash. The details blur. I've forgotten what made me so angry and irritated. I can feel my heart soften, breaking the good kind of broken. And when it strikes me that my children and my God are as quick to forgive as I am to anger, gratitude washes in, floods all flame. And all of my hot ugly, every last bit of it, is doused in grace.

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