I was torn. Little bit kept wavering on whether she’d stay at the main house or the bayou house, and the baby was wailing because of an injured ankle. I started the car, it was already late because we had so many fireworks to pop, and tried to load the boys.
Little bit said she would stay with her grandparents, and the remaining four of us set off across the pasture. The car parked at the back door with me still in a quandary over whether to stay with the boys or go back to the main house.
I got the baby settled in a chair with a wash cloth and icepack and decided to head back. The boys were tearful and asked me to stay. I said I’d come back if little bit was still dressed.
I drove back across the pasture with my headlights full of bugs in the dark night and lugged my bag into the main house. Little bit was happy as a clam in her p.j.s “making her beauty” with grandmother, her pink blanket already settled in between her grandparents pillows.
She brushed her teeth and told me she would stay in their room. I decided to stay put, and I washed my face and laid down in the guest room, alone.
I didn’t stay where I was most needed mainly because I was angry at my husband. As the night had worn on, we had a silly argument, and I could tell he was angry at how I responded. I started the fireworks with the kids before he came out, and we didn’t interact for the rest of the evening. I wasn’t particularly interested in staying with him.
Had we been home, we’d have gone to sleep in the same room, maybe angry, but we’d have slept in the same bed. Yet here I had an out. Another house and a paper thin excuse that the one child with two adults might need me specifically.
The baby with the injury and the eldest with his pleading, and even my husband who had taken my bags to the other house earlier, were the ones who really wanted me with them. And I left for selfish reasons.
I had also had three glasses of wine over the course of the evening, and I can make foolish decisions when my brain is fuzzy instead of fueled with the clarity of action my faith requires me to take.
I had also shared a story with my mother-in-law about the first time I saw my father after the divorce, quite sometime as the case was and in less than ideal circumstances, and I had never spoken the story out loud before, not even to my husband. I somehow managed to feel the wounds fresh on my heart all these years later.
I can still be selfish. I can still be foolish. I can still be wounded.
It was not an irreparable action. Yet those selfish, foolish, wounded-fueled decisions in marriage and parenting can add up if you don’t watch it. It becomes all too easy to write off the instance as “a one-off” and not ask for forgiveness and determine to do better the next time. Then those costly one-offs add up to more distance and more damage.
There is hope. In the midst of the I can be’s… (add your own laundry list of less-than adjectives).
I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:5-6
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
This week is about the hard stories. The ones I’m not particularly happy to share. But if we don’t start talking about the hard stories, how we will find our way to the other side?