Please note…I am writing this with permission from my husband, Edric.
Titus, our third son, was seated at the dining table gagging on hot noodles. He wasn’t choking, he was just upset and trying to figure out how to spit out his mouthful of it. My husband, Edric, wanted to help Titus out but he was not cooperating. He didn’t want to drink the water Edric offered him. Edric rarely gets annoyed like he did tonight, but he ended up being a little rough with Titus.
Let me explain. He said, “Just spit it out!” (in an aggravated tone) and pushed Titus’ head down so he could spit into a cup. Whoa. This wasn’t like him to do this. The rest of the kids saw the entire scene played out, and so did two of our househelp. I was really hoping and praying that Edric would apologize to Titus and the family. But inside, I was also dealing with my own irritation toward Edric for reacting the way he did.
Five minutes into dinner, Edric very humbly asked for forgiveness from all of us (he specifically addressed Titus and said sorry to him and he talked to the househelp and said sorry, too). He was very sincere and the kids were totally okay, but I still rubbed it in. While Edric was hugging Titus, I said, “Titus, were you HURT when daddy got irritated? How did you feel?” Edric gave me a knowing look. Uh oh. I knew I made a mistake. I put Edric on the spot in front of the children and this was something that we both agreed not to do to each other. Our issues, as much as possible, are discussed privately.
After dinner, the kids busied themselves and Titus was back to his happy, jolly self. He was singing his invented songs which he tends to do while in the shower, at play, or before he goes to sleep.
As for me, I went to apologize to Edric in our bedroom (after we talked some more about what happened). I also made an apology to the kids.
At first my eldest son, Elijah, responded with a “why, what’s wrong with what you did?”
“I was disrespectful. I should not have corrected your dad like that.” I heard an “Oh yeah” from Elijah. He also said something that kind of cracked me up, “There is a verse in the bible that says ‘do no revenge,’ you should just let God take care of it.’”
That was a perspective from a nine year old that I didn’t see coming! But he was right. God is my husband’s discipler and leader. I wasn’t really trying to revenge, but I should’ve let God be the one to speak to Edric’s heart. After all, he apologized to everyone concerned. And after everything had been settled, I could have spoken with him about my feelings in our bedroom. Knowing him, he would have gladly listened to my perspective.
All in all, tonight’s incident at the table was a humbling and grace-filled reminder that our family has a lot to improve on, especially Edric and I. We have boo-boos with our kids. (Do I even need to say this?!) We don’t always get parenting right. We don’t always get marriage right either. But we are committed to God, our marriage and to our children.
And here is my comfort…A few days ago, I was spending time with my dad and I asked him, “Dad did you make mistakes with us when we were kids?” (Honestly, I can’t remember that my parents made very many.) He replied, “Of course! But we had a good relationship. That was the key. We spent a lot of time together which remedied the wrongs.” (Oh, okay, that’s why I can’t remember…)
Well, out of curiosity, I asked Elijah why he easily gets over his hurt when Edric and I make mistakes. He replied, “Because I know that you still love us. I know you guys aren’t perfect but you always try to improve. And you always tell me, ‘I love you no matter what.’”
That made my day! Our children don’t need us to be poster-perfect. They see our flaws on a regular basis so there is no point in pretending. What they do need is our time, attention, and affirmation — the things that spell L-O-V-E for them.
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”