My head was full of soap and I only had one cup of coffee in my system vs. two so I was already contending. I was running through my head the day and it hit me, I forgot her.

Last night I went to tuck our youngest into bed, who is ten years old, and she was busy reading. She does not sleep easy or well so giving her time at night to read in her bed helps. I popped my head in, she begged as usual for one more minute. I told her no problem and that I’d be back. I then closed the door.

And I went to bed.

I did this once before over the summer and my child stayed up till 2:00 am waiting for me to return. She obviously gets her pateince from her father. I can still FEEL her hovering over me as I slept and I can still HEAR her whispering voice as she shook my shoulders, “Mom…you forgot to tuck me in.”

I swore I would not do it again. She is the youngest of five and the last one left who actually LIKES me acknowledging her exit in the evening. The rest just give me a low wave and a nod and slowly meander up the steps hoping I don’t follow. So she, SHE is my prize. She is the one who is gifted all that I never fully gave the others…my intentioanlity.

She is making up for them all.

So bathroom shower. Soapy head. Lack of coffee. Realization that I sometimes SUCK as a mom. I instantly feel that gray and heavy veil come over me. My heart breaks. I wonder how long she waited. There was no standing over me in the middle of the night this time. No. She left awareness and horror be my teacher and reality check.

I get dressed and make my way to the coffee pot. I have some dark rum in my cupboard and it crosses my mind that perhaps this would be the day to mix coffee and cocktails but I know better. Still the thought lightens my mood and I put down my second round. I pop my head once more into her room, this time to say “Good Morning” and I hear her grumble. I cannot get this child to go to bed and I cannot get her to wake up and I already feel that I’m drawing from an empty account. She eventually makes it down the stairs and is CLEARLY upset.

“You forgot me. Again.”

Friends, at this point I know it may just seem like NOT a big deal, “So you forgot to tuck your ten year old kid in a time or two,” but to HER, it is. And if it is to HER, it is to ME.

I tried to hug her and hold her close. She fought me. I knew I had to push through. I knew I had to teach HER how to. I got down on my knees and wrapped my arms around tighter and she began crying real tears, tears that would surely rip any heart out of any chest. I knew in my gut my instinct as a fixer is to explain and then explain some more but I just couldn’t. I know I have to stop reaching for that one. I held her close as she cried and fought my embrace and I said, “Dara, I am so sorry.”

My heart meant ever word. I. Am. So. Sorry.

“Please forgive me.”

Her demeanor changed, her tears dried and she nodded yes.

Was the world perfect again in our home? No. Were we movning in the right direction? I am going to choose to beleive, yes.

I knew that we both had our work cut out for us. She would have to make her own choices and choose her own path and I would have to choose mine. She would be faced with the choice to forgive me in her heart, as best as her ten year old self could allow and I would have to choose to forgive MYSELF and let myself off the hooks that defeat and guilt had hung me on earlier that morning.

“Try again.” Jesus said. He is good. He is faithful and constant.

All morning long I had to choose. There was no once and done, at least not today. It was a continual journey of choices. Of letting feelings come and letting feelings go and allowing truth to lead. I know the more I dwelt on it, the heavier it became so I took Jesus’ advice and I tried once more. I called my mother and asked her to lunch and I started washing a pile of my oldest sons laundry, even though he does his own. Focusing on others cleared my head. Focusing on others opened my heart.

I am not a sucky mom.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

And every path in between holy ground.