As I pulled out of my parking spot, Rachel let out a piercing wail. “What?! What?!” I called, slamming on the brakes.
Sobs wracked Rachel’s little five-year old body; she only cried louder when I unbuckled myself and embraced her in her seat.
God then prompted me—yes, this was a moment when I knew at that instant it was Him—to unstrap Rachel and pull her onto my lap in the front seat. She clung to me for dear life and cried inconsolably for several minutes.
Finally, she sputtered, “You didn’t say that my campsite was gorgeous!” And she dissolved again into tears and sobs.
She was right. I hadn’t overly praised Abbie’s necklace, but I hadn’t said anything about the extensive “campsite” Rachel had meticulously arranged over most of our playroom floor that morning. In fact, as I remembered now, my first inclination had been to discuss her responsibility to clean up at day’s end. Knowing I shouldn’t ruin her moment in that way, I’d said nothing.
And—however unintentionally—I’d wounded my child’s heart.
My heart broke at that realization. I squeezed Rachel tightly and--again at God’s clear prompting in my spirit—said, “You’re right, honey. I’m so sorry. Can you forgive me?”
And Rachel’s crying ceased.
Just five years into it, I know how hard parenting is. And I know from others that it does not get easier. I’ve screwed up too many times to count--and I will surely continue to do so. Because I am human.
But I also know the truth of what my pastor recently taught: an apology—as a purposeful form of love—covers over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8), with our children and with others in our lives. Praise God for that!