I actually thought this trip to the library was going well. Besides Havi rolling around on the ground near my feet and Noah asking the antisocial librarian about each weird trinket on her desk in a semi-inside voice, we had had a farely successful 3-child library raid. (Somewhere between the “one child trip” where you browse the isles and pick up books, open them, and possibly put them back and the “4 child trip” where you grab the first 10 books off the library cart- the “three child trip” consists of moving up and down the isles rapidly with Havi on my hip looking at the books the helpful staff has placed on top of the shelves and grabbing the first 15 with intriguing covers.)
Anyway, I was trying to get the dang electronic check out scanner to scan my first book and the librarian looked at me and said,
“You are more than welcome to have the front desk check you out, its clear you have your hands full.”
I don’t know if it was her tone of voice or the pitying expression on her face or the fact that she might have been the 3rd stranger that week that mentioned me having my “hands full” that ended my benevolent attitude. I completely ignored her and went about shoving the spine of the book, less gently, under the translucent red line. When I had finished I irritatedly told the kids to follow me to the exit. Of course, then my 3 year old darted in front of a group of elderly people trying to enter the building I apologize to them and then grabbed Isaac and had a less than self-controled conversation with him about “selfishness”, “lack of respect for authorities”, “being a ruckus” etc etc.
This incident has haunted me for the past week. Unfortunately it’s not because I never wig out on my kids like that. It’s actually a common scene if we have had an unpleasant experience in a store, restuarant, playdate- whatever. No, I think that God is showing me something even more unpleasant than disorderly children, my own nasty sin….
The things Jay and I expect from our kids are not bad, in and of themselves: Listen and obey, be mindful of others, respect your elders, don’t lick the windows in public places- there is nothing wrong with our rules . But so often the sin happens in my own heart when I am upset with my child for the embarrassment an infraction has caused me instead of actually addressing their heart. The difference is h.u.g.e. Loving vs shaming. Restoring vs punishing. Yes…I’m afraid pride is the ruin of godly parenting many days in this house.
I really don’t like noticing my sin. Usually because when I see it in one area it starts showing itself all over. So, I am busy these days… busy noticing how far i have to go before pride is not an hourly battle. Busy appologizing to my kids. Busy taking this sin to the cross and praying for a humble heart that can hear annoyed patrons at the grocery store say, “wow, you really have your hands full” and genuinely smiling knowing whose hands we are actually all in.
(for those who just check my blog for pictures of my kids…. eat your heart out.)