I won’t sugar-coat it.

The day went dang hell-bent witchy on me.

It happened right after supper when Davis said (for the 34th time today), “Now what?”

That is when I, your sweet fairy godmother, blew a freaking gasket.

I was stomping up and down like an ape-woman screaming at the top of my lungs at Davis for over a minute.

“Don’t you EVER, EVER [stomp, stomp, stomp] say that again!!!!!  Well I WAS going to let you watch a show but NOW I feel like punching the next thing that moves!!!”

OMG.  Those were my real words.

Medusa unleashed.

Where did that hideously frazzled inner witch come from?

What nitty, gritty ugly particles of bad led up to this moment of wrath?

I would like to blame the baby.

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I would like to lay it all on his fussy little 1 year old shoulders.

I was pushed!  Pushed over the edge!

Teething, walking, and insatiable for trouble —

one minute he’s drinking from the bucket of blue liquid fertilizer,

next he’s grabbing the pokey metal BBQ cleaning brush,

then ripping a hole in his diaper and picking out the absorbent gel and smearing it all over himself and the carpet.

It is mind-numbingly exhausting (and does make a poor show of our ‘baby-proofing’ efforts).

Well.

Davis quietly disappeared up to his room to cry in his pillow.

Brayden picked up his baby brother (who I had thrown to the ground).

And Maddy took up a gentle mother hen cluck-cluck tone and, unperturbed by my violence, went on playing shopkins.

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It’s a stunning thing that happens, I’ve noticed.

When I grow 3 heads and fangs and start bulging like Ursula right before their eyes,

— when I am the witch, the villain, the brute of the tale —

they get so soft and kind and clear….

They’re unruffled.

They don’t parry back.

Nothing escalates into drama or cruelty.

In fact, they hold the calm and steady the ship.

Dave comes down in pretty good shape (thanks to daddy’s comfort) and he lets me hold him.

I apologize and pray cleansing words over us.

I am beyond humbled by their kind and gentle response to me, their freakshow frankenmother.

And I can’t help but wonder….

Have they stored up all this soft mercy in their cells (now seeping effortlessly out) because this is how I treat them when they screw up?

Because when they make mistakes I am prone to excessive empathy and lenience?

Because I seldom, seldom punish but seek to understand and excuse?

Because I give the benefit of the doubt and err on the side of merciful softness and buttery love?

It feels good.

Mmmmmm, yes, I can say it feels good to receive this kind of ‘discipline’ that looks swiftly past my mistake and helps me recover myself gracefully.

It feels great to know that these kids can handle wicked witches with heroic gentility.

Just look at them — humble zen warriors of tomorrow….

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Could it really all be

as simple,

as mutual,

as this?

“Forgive us our trepasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us.”

I can’t think of a lovelier wish for you than this —

that you get to experience your children’s grace for you,

your own grace for you,

and of course:

God’s wide-eyed, unflinching, ever-adoring

heartier than homegrown potatoes

ocean of Grace

for you.

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