Monday, November 24, 2014

Grace under pressure

Tonight both girls are in a horrid mood. There is screaming from one, then the other, then together. Little Monster is cutting molars and the kid is... Herself? Something is wrong but she has no idea what and is a terror because she's upset. We went out to dinner because the house is a disaster and we host thanksgiving Thursday and exhaustion and long commute are winning. At dinner the kid didn't eat until we were ready to leave and she was suddenly ready to eat enough so she could have dessert. This rotation's 2.5 hour daily commute is decidedly taking its toll on me especially, but all of us at least some.

I never understood grace before this year. I mean, I'd heard the word over and over. I'd heard it defined as poise, as the free pass we get when we are forgiven for something. I'd heard about giving yourself grace as a way to cut yourself some slack. I don't know about you, but I am terribly hard on myself. In many ways it's deserved; I'm a person and therefore imperfect, and I'm a particularly ordinary person with some reasonably common flaws that run riot in my life if I don't work hard to keep them in check. Most of the time, I am too hard on myself and I attack my flaws perhaps more than I ought. It's easy to dwell on how nothing is ever right.

In the past little while, I've been practicing forgiving myself for being human. It works sometimes and others it doesn't. Grace is there if I want or need it. Well, when I want and need it. All I can ever do is my best.

But then there is life. Everything crowds my little tiny bubble of "I don't have to be right, I don't have to have all the control, it will be fine probably so stick to the next right thing" affirmations. I yell. I curse a great deal. I lose my temper after the first test of my boundaries instead of the tenth (my goal). It is so hard to find grace in the screaming (usually not me for too long) that I lose faith in the whole exercise of allowing myself to be imperfect. In an awful lot of messy situations, I have been collected and said and done sane things, the right things even. I know that I have access to that grace within myself. I just don't know how to operate day after day with children prodding at my weak points constantly and still find that place where I can think and act from a place that allows them grace too.

Little Monster is sure she is 2 and yells and tantrums to demand things. For the most part, that I cope with all right. I get so frustrated with myself when I can't cope with the kid doing much the same thing. After all, we have had the best part of 5 years to adapt to her tantrums and screaming... and yet it is impossible lately for me to cope. That makes me think I totally missed the mark learning about grace and that I have a very long way to go before I can hang onto any semblance of grace under child-inspired pressure. 

The best part is that I have tomorrow to try again to be a smidgen better than I was today. And please, all that is holy, let there be less screaming tomorrow.