Wednesday, July 27

Forgiving Our Children

     Today has been a flurry of emotional activity from all women in the Littlewood household…I would say instigated probably 85% by little miss Ava—she presses Ella’s buttons and then my buttons.

     Truly, one minute I’m ready to write a post about how angry I am with her, and then she says or does something that leaves me in complete awe and adoration for her.

     Like today…

     I woke up at 7:00 to have some coffee and quiet time—Ava has typically been sleeping until 7:30/7:45ish…guess what?

     That’s right…the child has an invisible string tied to me that pulls on her finger as soon as I get out of my bed…7:12, pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter, all the way down the stairs.

     “Good morning momma,” she says cheerfully.

     “Good morning darling,” I say faking a cheery smile.

     She asked to watch cartoons and from a very selfish, “I need a few quiet moments” space, I readily agreed.

     7:50 Ava is sitting contentedly on the couch with Scott who says he thinks he hears Ella.  Ava says promptly, “Well, there is no room left on the couch for her.”

     She promptly says a LOT of things like that lately and my tolerance for it is down and my irritation radar towards it up.

      Scott warned her that if she kept saying things like that she was going to find herself in her room.

                          Guess what?

     8:10 Ava is sent to her room for 15 minutes to think about how she can be kinder to her sister for the rest of the day.

     9:15 Ava is doing a bit better. I’m having a mommy meltdown moment because I had expectations of getting x,y and z done while the babysitter came over today, but she was non-responsive to my texts and voice messages.


     In the midst of my mommy meltdown I decide I’m going to fold some laundry…Scott is getting ready for work…Ava is in the shower…Ella is quietly playing downstairs…

…or, perhaps I should have said quietly pooping downstairs…yes, that’s right, with nothing but her pj bottoms on (no diaper OR underwear!)

      9:20 “Momma!” Ella hollers. “I pooped.”

     For heavens sakes. Is this really my life? I first say to myself and then aloud so that everyone can hear.
     I head downstairs to find a big round double tennis ball size of s*!$ on the playroom floor.

     I gag and clean it up.

     We put Ella in the bathtub, Ava starts to play, I get over my false hopes for cleaning up my office, or getting my i-phone fixed (it went black yesterday) or doing any more laundry.

     10:15 the girls play quietly for a while…after I separate them of course.

     10:55 Ava for some reason decided to whack Ella on the head with a plastic flashlight. Ella comes crying to me.

     I am SO darned angry I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not an angry person, but Ava has had a way of pushing my buttons lately. I want to spank her, but I do not agree with punishing her for hitting by spanking her…it seems counterproductive and counterintuitive to me.

     So I tell her she is going to sit in her bedroom for a long time and I take all of her toys out. I shut her door and tell her its going to be at least half an hour.

     I take Ella downstairs and put Mickey Mouse on and give her a freezie pop. The freezie pop was in part to make her feel better and in part to make Ava feel worse when she found out.

     It worked…1/2 an hour later I let Ava come downstairs. She authentically apologized to me and Ella and when she asked what we did I told her we watched t.v. and had freezie pops.

     “Ella had a freezie pop?!”


     “Can I have one?”


     “Why not?”

     Are you serious.

      “Why do you think?”

     “Because I hit my sister?”


     For the next ½ hour she asked about the freezie pop at least four more times. It’s funny, but I knew that the fact Ella had had one and she didn’t would drive her NUTS. It was a much more impactful punishment than even the time spent in her room or any spanking would have been.

     So, as you can see, by noon my patience, stamina and defenses were tapped. Quite frankly, while Ava was in her room I was so angry with her for the way she has been treating Ella lately that I was conjuring up ways to punish her for the rest of the day. No treats. Cold Shoulder. No errand running with mommy.   None of the stuff she likes to do.

     And then I little voice popped into my head and said, “You have to forgive her.”

     Say what?!

     “You have to forgive her.”

     And for the first time ever it dawned on me that this is likely just the beginning of many, many moments when I’m going to need to learn to start forgiving my children. For whining. For instigating. For getting up too early. While I don’t know that I had ever considered it before, I was holding some of this stuff against Ava.

     The thing is, when we look at the Christian model of forgiveness, and our expectations of God’s grace and forgiveness towards us…well…does He hold grudges all day long?

      I think not. At least I sure hope not. (I mean, you'd have to do something really bad and be really non-repentant, right?!)

     Is He conjuring ways to get back at me all day long? Giving me the cold shoulder? Taking things away?

     I mean, I don’t know what God’s punishment methods look like exactly, but I know that if He gets angry and we repent and ask for forgiveness, He forgives us…right there, right then, not 8 hours later when He decides I’ve paid enough.

     My wanting to be angry with Ava all day was not very graceful, merciful, or Christlike at all.

       Fortunately, as soon as she came downstairs and apologized my heart forgave her instantly…she was so sweet about it.

     And then she put on the super sister act. She started hugging Ella extra times, giving her toys, helping her to draw, I mean really going out of the way to sugar coat things, which is o.k. and kind of sweet and funny.

     So here I am…naptime…Ava is actually playing in her room (she’s not napping on most days anymore, which is another reason my patience are wearing a little thin), and I’m about to close my eyes for 20 minutes.

     I have forgiven her. The day is moving forwards. And while the Bible says that our “mercies are renewed every morning”, I like to think that for mothers our mercies are renewed several times a day, as we need it, throughout the day…sometimes I feel like my day is many small days all bundled together in one…there is the pre-nap day and the post-nap day.

     Here is to a better second half.

P.S. For what it's worth, I got up from my little snooze and Ava has been the most compliant child ever! In part because Ella is not awake (it's the two of them together that really gets the sparks flying), but also in part because she's trying to turn over a new least until Ella wakes up...or she gets cranky...but at least she's trying, right?!


  1. "And while the bible says that our “mercies our renewed every morning”, I like to think that for mothers our mercies our renewed several times a day, as we need it, throughout the day…sometimes I feel like my day is many small days all bundled together in one..."

    Thanks for saying it so well. A great encourager. And yes, my mercies needed some renewing this morning. Loved this post!

  2. It must be something in the air this week!!


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