It was a Marilla Cuthbert moment for me yesterday after I happened upon the end of the cord to my brand new computer, snapped off from the rest of it and the second piece nowhere to be found. Waving the broken piece in the air I found my culprit, my six year old (Cub Two) and boiling with anger I asked him what did he think he was doing cutting up my computer cord? Where was the rest of it? What have you done with it? Where are the scissors you used?
All of my accusations were met with “I don’t know” and “I didn’t do it”, to which I responded "don’t lie to me, you must have done it!" He was crying loudly by this point as I told him to search for the other piece but after half an hour of looking he said he couldn’t find it. "THINK THINK!" I insisted… "What were you doing? Where were you when you did it? What did you do with it afterwards?" to which he said, "I used the black scissors and then I the other part in the bin and I went back to playing with my toys." I gathered it must have happened a few days ago as the bin had been emptied and collected so I thought that was the end of my computer cord. I don’t know why I felt so cross, I am sure I can get another cord and it certainly isn’t something I should be crushing my very curious and sensitive child over. I issued the verdict 'guilty and no screen time for a whole week - punishment for breaking my things' and I thought that was the end of it.
After the boys were all in bed, I went up to my office. As I straightened up the rug I noticed a cord wrapped around the pole of my rolley chair… the other half of my computer cord, which has obviously got stuck and twisted and snapped off somehow. I realised in that moment that my idea of what had happened with my cord was totally wrong. Cub Two was falsely accused and I had scared him into a lie. I can’t describe the regret that welled up in that moment. I had known in the pit of my stomach at the time of shouting at him that I wasn’t handling this well at all, that I had no reason to fly off the handle so intensely and now the guilt of what I had done was overwhelming. I sobbed, I crept into his room and hugged him in his sleep and cried tears into his pillow, 'badly done mama' I whispered. I would talk to him in the morning.
Morning came and Cub Two climbed up onto my bed to snuggle with me. He had forgotten everything already and I was just thankful that he wanted to be with me. When I told him that I had found the other half and now I knew he had not cut it, he added, "and I didn’t put it in the bin mummy’. I spent a little while telling him that I was very wrong yesterday and asked for his forgiveness. A smile spread over his gentle face, "Of course I forgive you mummy, I love you and I am happy with you." Right then they were the sweetest words I had ever heard.
The whole thing made me think of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ when Marilla Cuthbert accuses Anne of stealing her amethyst brooch and when Marilla doesn’t believe Anne’s denials, Anne decides to make up an elaborate story in order to be able to attend the church picnic. My child didn’t know what to do with his mother so upset with him, he could see I wanted answers and he didn’t know them, so he did his best to provide me with some that he thought would satisfy me, any answers might at least settle me down.
This isn’t the first time I have had to apologise to my children and it surely won’t be the last. I am sorry it happened, I have no excuse for behaving in such a way, yet some part of me is glad it happened. There is potential for so much growth in these gruely moments. My children get to see what apologies look like, they learn that parents and adults aren’t always right, they realise they have the power and ability to forgive and let things go, they experience how we turn horrible moments into something that strengthens love rather than weakens it, and find out that when we do wrong we can heal relationships when we can genuinely say sorry, and most importantly they see for themselves evidence
of the Biblical principle that the truth always comes out in the end... and as for me, I am once again confronted with greatness of the responsibility of being a mother, how much grace is needed, how self-serving and destructive anger is, and how thankful I am for a perfect Father in heaven, who knows how to use everything for our good... even our imperfect parenting.
James 1:19- 20. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.