Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Little Speed Czar

The other day, Princess asked BigBro to switch places in the minivan and BigBro refused. "I need to sit right here," he said, "so I can watch the speedometer."

While Princess accepted this explanation, I groaned inwardly. Uh oh. That little "incident" from last week? It wasn't going away on its own. I was going to have to deal with it.

Here's what happened: we stayed 10 minutes too long at the playground, and then everyone "had to have" a drink from the water fountain. By the time we were all buckled into our seats, I was feeling the stress, certain that we'd never get everything done in the time left in our afternoon.

I'm zipping down the street, going about 12 miles over the speed limit, anxiously checking the clock every thirty seconds. My mind is racing even faster. Can we get it all done? If I go this way, will I save us another minute? If I switch the order of my errands, will we still make it on time to our appointment?

My unrelenting inner monologue was rudely interrupted by the shocked voice of my firstborn. "Mom!" he scolded me. "You're driving ten miles faster than the speed limit! That's not safe!"

He's right. I know he's right. But we're late. Doesn't he get that? Why is he pointing out what I'm doing wrong when he's part of the reason we're running late?

In one of my lesser "mom" moments, I snap at him to be quiet, we're late darn it, and I keep on speeding down the road.

Later that night, after an afternoon in which we did actually get it all done, I thought that perhaps I needed to sit down with BigBro, apologize for snapping, and explain that I'd been wrong to speed that afternoon.

It was a good idea, but not the most appetizing, and so I put it off til the next day. And then, promptly forgot about it, until I overheard that conversation between my children in the van.

In confession on Monday night, with my conscience still pricked by BigBro's comment to Princess, I mentioned the triple-decker sin of unsafe driving, impatient snapping at my son, and setting a bad example. As Father and I discussed the incident, he spoke his assumption that I had already apologized to my son for my poor choices. When I admitted that I had, in fact, not followed through on that, he responded, "Well, that sounds like the perfect penance to me."

Which it was. Of course. There's nothing like the humility that a little accountability brings.

I'm reminded, again, that motherhood will push me (sometimes kicking and screaming) down this path toward holiness. I am not just raising children. I am laying down moral foundations, developing characters, and forming souls.

Every example I set, whether in speeding or in apologizing later for it, is watched, is learned, and may some day be followed.

Speed Czar or not, I'm thankful that I overheard that conversation in the van. It's made me more aware of the example I am setting these days... for a boy who will be sitting in the driving seat before I know it, for his siblings, and for myself.

1 comment:

  1. hey girlie, just keep pushing forward. you got it!