My eldest goes from zero to FREAKOUT in under 4 seconds. Might be that she can't have a playdate, might be that her siblings took the last vanilla yogurt, might be that I ask her to clean up dolls when she was STILL PLAYING WITH THEM. (I know, the nerve.)
Her voice drops an octave or two and she begins to shout. She blows her growing-out-bangs out of her eyes and yells at the top of her voice. The noise might be directed at her brother, her baby sister, her dad or me - one never knows.
The problem with this is that once she freaks out, I go from zero to MAD in the same time frame.
I know it doesn't change a blessed thing when I get bent out of shape too. Many are the nights when I go to her room, smooth her hair as she sleeps, and whisper my apologies - again and again. But combine life with a tantrum-y two year old, an existence of not enough sleep and too many bills, and still three hours to go until their bedtime? I return to mad almost every time.
Tuesday afternoon began the classic set-up: a tough day at school, a missed playdate, and a brother sitting in Exactly. The. Spot. on the rug where she had been PLANNING TO SIT!!!!!!!!!!!
In the next second, I did something I'd rehearsed in my mind over and over: I very quietly called her over to me. I looked her in the eye. And I pulled her onto my lap.
I pulled my tall, lean seven year old onto my lap, her impossibly long legs dangling right down to the floor. I smoothed her hair, I kissed her cheeks, and I whispered into her ear: Sweetheart. Cecilie. I don't let anyone in our house talk to me that way. Why would it be ok for you to talk to us that way? Just tell me what you want. Please - just tell me quietly what it is you want.
It was like the moment you switch off an old tv: the ping! as the cathode rays fade? The anger slid right out of her body, and I felt her slump against me, leaning her head on my shoulder.
She let me cuddle her twenty seconds more, and then hopped off my lap to run and hug her sister - storm clouds vanished, furrowed brow smooth.
I sat in shock.
What was that? What just looked into my eyes and insisted you will be gentle with your girl this time? What was it that moved my heart to offer love to my girl instead of the fear of her anger?
Grace. Grace gave me that chance.
On Tuesday morning, I knew I wanted to write a post about grace. I knew that I wanted to somehow write about grace but was downright nervous about trying to explain my admittedly vague understanding of what grace means.
That Tuesday afternoon, I finally knew grace. I finally lived a moment of grace. Every single aspect of your life becomes different when you view it through the profoundly powerful prism of grace.
This is posted as part of Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time series, with the prompt of Grace. Of all of them, this topic has been the trickiest - and the most real.