On Making Mistakes

2015-02-03 14.08.01

It is a late lunch day.

With brunch completed mid-morning, I am now in the process of collecting my thoughts so as to get in a frame of mind for lunch preparations. What to make? I quickly remember that I have everything for homemade pizza, and I call for helpers.

Usually, there is a scramble of girls competing for the counter space. But to my surprise, Son announces that it has been a while since he has made anything with me and that he would like to help. I am pleased- he usually passes on cooking. But since it was a storm day today and school is off, he is feeling particularly generous with his time. I am also secretly delighted that we will have some mother-son time together.

We start to gather our supplies and right away I think to myself ‘back off- let him do this’. I step away for a moment and occupy myself with something on the other side of the sink.

“Ohhh…” I hear him say.

I turn my head and discover that in pouring the flour mixture into the bowl, he has spilled it on the counter, a bit on himself, and then more down the side of the cupboard and onto the rug below where it is collecting in a circular pile. I immediately go into my neat-nik self and rush over, start to cluck- hem and haw. I can hear myself becoming too quickly frustrated at this unexpected mess that I now feel responsible to clean up, and I know where this is headed. Not like I scolded in a mean way- but he knew. I was tense.

“I don’t think I want to do this anymore,” he says to me quietly.

I look up, and watch him turn away. I watch as he walks slowly over to the red corner chair and perches on the edge. We are both on edge now- both literally and figuratively.

And at this juncture, I start to talk to myself:

“Is this what you want- your Son to believe that he isn’t capable of making this pizza? That in making a small mess, he is inconveniencing you? That this minor mess is really worth making an issue over? That this is even something to stress over, tense up about? Do you want to lose this opportunity over a bit of split flour? Give your head a shake, girl.”

I make a choice in that moment. And that choice was an apology. Followed by an explanation.

What I said was this:
“I am sorry that I reacted this way. This is not a big deal. I really want you to make the pizza, and I want you to know that my response wasn’t the right one. Furthermore, I want you to know that when we make mistakes, I know that these are the moments we learn the most. Please don’t think that in spilling the flour it should keep you from making the pizza. I am sorry.”

Sons are so gracious to moms with lots to learn.

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We ended up making that pizza together, and it was an absolute work of art. Son took the better part of an hour to carefully put each topping, each slice of meat on where it suited best. I cannot honestly say I have ever seen a better looking pizza. But more than that, this time of meal preparation was a learning experience for me personally. Because I am starting to realize how very much I benefit from learning about my own mistakes and how I need to find ways to come out a better person for having taken a wrong turn.

2015-02-03 14.04.09

I wish I hadn’t reacted so quickly to the split flour.

But because of my own mistake, I discovered that these are experiences that can help us grow as individuals into more capable, understanding people. We learn from mistakes when we choose to do so, carry forward stronger, more knowledgeable than we were before. And even moms have their moments when the lessons learned are very humbling.

At least they are for me.

2015-02-03 14.05.252015-02-03 15.08.20

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Here’s to Second Chances…

I found myself speaking sharply to a student this afternoon.   There was nothing different about his behaviour- nothing truly out of character in his actions. He is quite hasty by nature under normal circumstances, and today was really no different than any other. And there really was nothing different about the moment, the circumstances surrounding his impulsivity and my unravelling. It was quite an ordinary moment lived in an ordinary day. But at that exact moment of this otherwise ordinary day, something snapped within me. And the fragile distance between acceptance and rebuff was crossed.

I lost my cool.

I felt the thunder inside of me, the cool wind of frustration.

And for the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening, I couldn’t shake the unsettled feeling that was left within me. Something akin to shame and disappointment wrapped up in uncertainty, doubt in myself. I tried to excuse my behaviour, but found myself continually coming back to reminders of love. Found myself prompting my teacher-heart to reclaim again, love as the path toward reaching out. The path toward acceptance and forgiveness. Toward hope.

For love is kindly care.

Even while love is careful, steadied discipline.

And love is always hope. Always.

Within love, there is always another chance. We can always do better the next time.

As the day wore on, I softened my own interactions with the precious Four living under the roof of our home. I took time to read, talk, cuddle, console, whisper. And remind myself, that tomorrow: I will do better. I can do better, because I know to do better.  I am a work in progress, a weak being. Prone to falter, prone to fail. But in falling down, I get back up again, resolving to stand that much longer the next time I find myself upright. Fixed in my intentions. For tomorrow is always another day. Tomorrow is always another opportunity.

These walls I have erected at times falsely paint a picture of me- a picture of my being infallible and experienced. Of course I am neither. I grieve my failings each and every day. My own inexperience in handling these delicate situations. But I try to focus my living and thus my writing on the positives I see: both in myself and in the world around me. Although there is always the possibility that one might mistake the stories I tell for sage advice. I would only wish for these words I share to be a testament to my humanity.

I have both my good days and my pitiful ones. Days in which I could easily go back to bed, and have a do-over.

I guess that is what tomorrows are for, what they are all about. Second chances.

So here’s to better days, brighter tomorrows and second chances. We all need them.

Once in a while.