My BIG Mistake

Oops! I made a BIG mistake. How could I have been so foolish? And now, I feel like I failed as a Mother. I did something I told myself I would never do.

My oldest daughter is a figure skater. I remember the first time she took lessons and how she could barely stand on the cold ice. I occasionally watch those videos to remind myself of her perseverance and the excitement she felt during those 30 minutes of lessons. In the beginning it was all for fun, but the increase in competition gets the best of most parents, and it surely got the best of me.

Don’t you feel like you can see the potential of your children before they can recognize it themselves? We imagine their future lives and get so excited with the end goal that we occasionally push them too hard. This is the case for my daughter. I believe she has all the skill and talent to be a successful skater, yet sometimes I feel that she doesn’t try hard enough, so I push her. Those emotions came out in the wrong way last summer. She entered the ice and began one of her events. I had very high expectations, but within seconds I could see her performance was not going to turn favorable. I grew angry and frustrated.

Anyone can recognize that at that moment I had two choices. The first was to talk to my daughter and ask how she was doing. After all, she is probably disappointed with herself. But, I chose the other option. As soon as I saw her, I told her how disappointed I was and how awful I felt about her performance. I immediately recognized I made a HUGE mistake. What did I do? I did not love her, comfort her or give her an opportunity to talk. I let my frustration get the best of me. I was so furious with myself! I saw how hurt she was from my words, on top of her own feelings from that moment on the ice. My heart was breaking…breaking because of myself.

How do we fix our mistakes as parents? How can we salvage all the broken pieces? I recall a story I once heard about teacups in China. As the teacups break, the pieces are mended with gold, instead of thrown away. This illuminates the beauty found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through forgiveness we can not only mend what is broken, but we can grow as children of God. So that is what I did. I apologized for what I said, and acknowledged all the feelings I had mustered inside, especially the hopes and pride I have for her successes. She listened, as tears streamed down her face. I will never forget that moment.

It was a HUGE mistake. Even though I apologized to her, it wounded both of our hearts. The power of forgiveness provided some healing, but there will always remain a scar. We hope that God’s love and mercy will help us grow from these experiences, instead of being held captive by the pain. That experience was a big teaching moment for me in my imperfection. It also was an opportunity to step back from my role as “coach” so I can focus on the most important job given to me by our Creator – Mother! Since then I have become her cheerleader. When she’s down and disappointed, I provide words of encouragement. When she’s excited for her recent achievement, I celebrate with her!

Being a Mom is hard. We weren’t given these roles because we are perfect. We are like every other human being on this Earth – we need to journey and grow. It is through our kids that we learn the most about ourselves and who God wants us to be.