Memories of Anger or Grace
The other morning, my girls were calling for me frantically. Go get mommy, one said, and I heard one run outside. Why do kids do that? Run outside in a tizzy? Anyway, I slowly walked to the front of the house assuming whatever it was couldn’t be too big of a deal. When I got to the kitchen, I found hot pink OPI nail polish splattered across the floor. Honestly, I didn’t know a bottle of nail polish could really shatter. I grabbed several paper towels, wetted them, handed them to Abby and told her to start cleaning. When I found she was doing more smearing than cleaning, I got down in the floor and went to work.
I don’t know about you, but some of the biggest warnings I got growing up were over nail polish and nail polish remover. I still have a piece of furniture I ruined trying to remove polish from with acetone remover. Brilliant! My girls have received much instruction over how to deal with such a messy responsibility. But, at this moment, I had a choice — I could explode and forever leave them with the memory of my anger etched in their minds, or I could teach a lesson. As I was clearing away the polish and being bludgeoned by a shard of glass, I made a choice.
Girls, we can get angry when something like this happens, or we can make a memory. Hot pink will probably always be in the pores of this tile and in the grout. When we see it, we’ll remember the time Abby broke mom’s fingernail polish. In that moment, that’s what I chose to say. That’s not my choice in every moment, but I hope it will be more times than not. (A carpet spill may have sent me through the roof).
In moments of being tested, and child-rearing breeds the greatest, we have to be able to discern what really matters. Taking an opportunity to teach a lesson has to trump my anger, and my children leaving their imprint on our belongings has to trump materialism. We’re making memories with our kids every day, rest assured. But the question we have to ask is whether we are leaving them with memories of anger or grace.