I apologized to my toddler today.
Not just a quick ‘sorry’ in passing, but a full-fledged, genuinely remorseful admission of wrongdoing. And I asked for her forgiveness.
Because I lost it this morning.
In the rush to get two toddlers out the door on time, running on years of broken sleep and carrying the heavy weight of parenthood and LIFE, my patience was absolutely fraying.
I had no grace. No compassion. No tolerance for anything other than what she should have been doing.
We were late (of course), and I could feel the frustration rising in my chest, building with each sassy reply and her complete oblivion to the urgency in my voice.
I heard myself. Over and over again. Being so critical of such a little girl. Correcting every move she made, not with love, but with annoyance.
And as the words poured out of my mouth, I wished I could swallow them right back down. I thought about being on the receiving end of such impatience, and feeling like you can’t do anything right.
I’ve been there. And it’s not a good feeling. Especially coming from the person you love the very most in all the world.
I could feel her carefree, joyful spirit become burdened, taking on some of the weight I was carrying around.
Because without meaning to, I was unloading on her. The weight on my shoulders in that moment was so heavy it threatened to crush me. So, without even realizing it, I started throwing off some of that weight, causing it to land on anyone in my path.
And as she walked to the car with her head hung low, it split my already broken heart wide open.
I knelt down. I pulled her close and I lifted her chin in my hands.
I apologized for my behavior and asked if she could find it in her heart to forgive me.
I apologized to my toddler because she’s a human being, not just a child.
I apologized to my toddler because even leaders make mistakes sometimes.
I apologized to my toddler to model humility and repentance, real-time.
I apologized to my toddler to show her that mommy is flawed, just like we all are, but that bad behavior won’t be tolerated at any age.
I apologized to my toddler because she deserves respect.
And without batting an eye, she simply said, “It’s OK, momma. I still love you,” and skipped off to the car like nothing had happened.
My heavy load was suddenly lighter, and my shoulders suddenly stronger, and my heart suddenly bigger.
Because I apologized to my toddler, and she showed me the meaning of grace.
This story originally appeared on Daylight to Dark