Today I flew to New Hampshire to visit my parents. I did this alone, (which is to say, I was the only adult) with all three of the monkeys. I spent two flights of approximately one hour each wrestling Monkey3, trying to get him not to climb the seat back directly in front of me or kick his sister. I have been up since 5 a.m. I am exhausted.
At the baggage claim after the last flight, an elderly woman who had been seated across the aisle from me complemented me on the older two children's behaviour, and said "You must be the most patient mother in the world!"
Yes, some days I think so too. But only when I'm in public. I don't put on nearly so good an act at home. I told her, "I only wish that were true!"
Why is it so much easier to be kind and patient when everyone is watching? I'm so grateful for my children, who remind me "Mama, you don't need to sound so angry! You don't need to shout!" (Sometimes they even say it in a nice voice, rather than one like mine). I'm grateful for their forgiveness, and God's forgiveness too. And I'm thankful every day that there is grace to cover my mistakes, and that God is working in my children's lives, sometimes using me, sometimes in spite of me, always to draw them closer to himself.