Shrek the Not

Last week, I was an ogre of a mom, and not the endearing, crusty-with-a-heart-of-gold, Shrek type. I was the hormonal, worried, perpetually frustrated type of monster who showed fangs whenever her two-year-old daughter acted two years old. My snarky mood came squealing to a halt, though, just after I spilled a bottle of orange juice all over Natalie. She looked up at the thunder cloud hanging over my head and sweetly said, “I’m sorry, Mommy!” Mommy, of course, quickly melted into a pathetic puddle of guilt.

The most exasperating thing about situations like this is that only minutes later, redemption is skipping around the room with a contagious smile. I’d prefer to wallow in the guilt for at least a few days, to pay mental penance for unleashing my inner monster on my daughter’s precious heart. But all Natalie requires is one look from me that shows I really, truly like her (a big bear hug doesn’t hurt either), and all of my actions to the contrary are forgotten.

Grace is hard to accept — agonizingly hard — but it’s what inspires me to keep doing my best at mommyhood. Really, it’s what inspires me to keep doing my best at personhood. If God and my little girl still think I’m great at the end of a hard week, it’s keep acting monstrous toward anyone, even myself.

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