I'll Do Better Next Time.

We got a hot tub a few weeks ago. It is perhaps my most favorite thing we have ever owned. Mostly because one of my most favorite things to do is nothing, as evidenced by my repeated pleas, "Can we just sit and BE?" My babies are antsy, though, so that is usually met with, "That's BORING! Can't we do something fun?"

There is not much you actually can do in a hot tub. Granted the kids manage to kick each other, splash, steal seats, turn off all the jets, make amazing light shows, play charades (the only mom-approved hot tub game), turn water bottles into guns and projectiles, and so forth. Occasionally, though, they sit and look at the stars or try to catch snowflakes on their tongues. Occasionally, they are able just to sit and be.

I treasure those rare moments.

When we were young and naive and had Chloe, every experience was new and fun. Parenthood was like being a kid in a candy store. Again with Peyton, even though we were older and more experienced, trucks and dirt and boy stuff was delightful in a whole new way. Now, I've mentioned a million times that Lily was a surprise baby. And despite my love for babies, I planned to love them from afar.

A funny thing happened though. Chloe grew up and moved away and taught me how fleeting childhood is. I am so grateful to have another little one. A couple more years of school parties, tooth fairies and Christmas magic. Chloe taught me how to be a mom. She was my guinea pig. I did so many things wrong and made so many mistakes, but she didn't know because I was her only mom. One time I read somewhere that if you just love them enough...if you just love them enough it makes up for those mistakes. I think that's true because she's all grown up and she's my best friend.

Course it could be that she's super-forgiving, having secret intensive therapy, or writing a Mommie Dearest kind of tell-all. That's cool too.

Anyway, I still make too many mistakes, but I believe that Peyton and Lily are blessed for the mistakes I made with Chloe. I believe all my kids are blessed for the mistakes my parents made. I believe that mistakes aren't for making you feel guilty and inferior but for helping you learn. I believe in owning your mistakes--not just saying you're sorry but meaning it and doing better.

It's interesting when I consider how God answers my prayers. If I pray for patience, He gives me strife so I can learn...what? Patience. If I pray for strength, He guides me through difficult times and reminds me of the source of strength. When I pray for forgiveness, God shows me so many opportunities to give it.

As long as we are on this planet, we will make mistakes. People we love will make mistakes. Each time we have choices. Guilt or grace. Forgiveness or resentment. During this month of gratitude, I'm grateful for millions of mistakes and the opportunities they bring to do better.


  1. I think experience is a great teacher and that mistakes are life's best teaching moments. I think one of the biggest mistakes is that of passivity, of just sitting on the sidelines sitting on your hands as life goes by. I have been married several times and nowadays sees it as attempts at getting what I wanted. Didn't turn out well but I did learn more about me so that right now I have the best wife in the world. Life is about struggling, learning and growing.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Irving. I try to find are lessons in every experience. Some of those lessons keep coming around for me. Now, I often recognize them when they arrive: Oh, I thought I'd dealt with you, but I need a refresher course I guess. I couldn't agree more about passivity.


Mary Swan-Bell 2012. Theme images by merrymoonmary. Powered by Blogger.