Swiper the Fox

So for some time now my son has had a little nickname that we have given him of Swiper.  This derived from a character on Dora the Explorer who takes things from people.  Liam on a somewhat regular basis tries to swipe any lingering desserts on the table.  Ava has fell victim to this many times as she doesn’t eat them as quickly as he does.

A few nights ago in the madness of what I call dinnertime I was cleaning up in the kitchen when Liam said, ” Look Ava I am having the last bite of ice cream,” as he scooped up the last bite and put it in his mouth.  Irritated I slammed my hand down on the counter and yelled, “Liam!”  I couldn’t believe he did it again.  He stole Ava’s last bite of ice cream and was taunting her about it again.  Liam froze, his eyes bulging out at me.  He finally in a shaky voice replied, “Mommy this was my ice cream.”  Now I froze completely stunned.  I quickly replayed in my head the last five minutes of dinner and to my horror realized Ava had an ice pop and Liam had ice cream, he indeed did not steal her dessert.  Complete and utter remorse and self-deprecation washed over me.  At this point Liam’s lower lip was quivering and I felt horrible.  I quickly rushed to him and scooped him up in my lap.  I apologized profusely to him and tried to explain to him why I jumped to the conclusion I had.  As he calmed down in my arms a heavy albatross grew around my neck.

A little while later while Will and I were finishing cleaning up the kitchen I was discussing my plans for our garden and how we needed to go to Lowes the next day to pick up some materials.  Liam interjected into the conversation how he wanted to be with me tomorrow and just me for some mommy and Liam time.  My heart melted and I felt a little better about what had passed thinking that he had forgiven me.  Will and I quickly came up with an idea that when we got to Lowes we would split up, so Will would take Ava and I would take Liam to pick up the items.

The next day Liam, Ava, and I got in the car to meet Will at Lowes after he got out of school.  As we were pulling out of the driveway Liam said, “Now remember Ava you will go with daddy and I am going to go with mommy.”  Ava said, “No why don’t we all go together.”  Liam said, “No we can’t. I have to make mommy feel better about her mistake.” That is when my ears perked up.  Mistake, what mistake?  Today had been a relatively low conflict day.  “Liam what mistake did I make?” I asked.  “Remember yesterday mommy when you yelled at me because you thought I stole Ava’s dessert.  I knew you felt bad and you were hurting so I wanted to make it better.”

12305814_10208286065415264_490324964_nI could not believe what I was hearing.  For a moment I was completely shocked, but I had to shake myself out of that as we were driving down the road.  I was in awe on how insightful and thoughtful and empathetic Liam had been.  Even now as I type this out it astonishes me how forgiving and loving he was.  It’s unbelievable how sometimes the littlest actions, the simplest words can have the most profound impact.  Liam in that split second reminded me on how as wonderful and great, grand gestures are sometimes, it’s the purest, smallest moments that can have the lasting effect.

 

 

 

Forgivness of a Toddler

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The other day Liam and I were wrestling with each other. In the middle of our rough housing I gave Liam a light push and he fell down. He scrambled to his feet very quickly, came up to me, shook his finger, and said, “Mommy you don’t push me.” I blinked a couple times in surprise, but then looked at him and said, “You’re right Liam. I’m sorry. Mommy was playing and she got a little too rough.” Liam gave me a big hug around my neck, kissed me, and said I forgive you. He then went back to tickling me.

If adults forgave like toddlers there would be no grudges, no resentment, and I truly believe that world peace could be obtained. Unfortunately, as adults even when we forgive we don’t forget. For some conflicts it may even be impossible to forget, but moving on without holding onto it, is key. By keeping a tally of all the wrongdoings someone has done to you, it only causes bitterness in your life. It weighs you down and whatever issue it was has won. For Liam the minute he forgave me it was in the past. I know he will not bring it up again when future problems arise as something to count against me. As adults even if we say we forgive, we hold onto it. We don’t let it go. We either bring it up in a future fight with a spouse as ammunition or use it as a reason to push away a friend. Regardless we are always looking for a way for the wrongdoer to “earn” their way back into our good graces.

The beauty of forgiveness, true forgiveness is the freedom you achieve from it. If you can’t forgive the wrongdoing because you are still hurt, try forgiving just for your own peace at mind and let those negative feelings go. One of the biggest problems with adult forgiveness is that we are too busy thinking about how we have been wronged and never try to see it from the other person’s point of view. When our children misbehave part of the lesson is to teach them what they did was wrong and how it affects other people. Ava took Liam’s toy. Liam got mad and hit her. Ava cried. It is important for Liam to realize that although Ava shouldn’t have taken his toy, hitting her was wrong and now she is sad too. How come we spend so much time teaching our kids to see how their actions affect others but we refuse to do it with our own problems?

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all are in the wrong at times. “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Liam and Ava are constant lessons to me about the important things in life, such as forgiveness.  If we could walk into situations with a clean slate with people we might actually be able to enjoy things better and coexists in a better place. At the risk of breaking into song, I think Idina Menzel sung it best, “Let it go, let it go.”