Sometimes, I am less than kind. Sometimes, I have no patience and pitch petulant, ugly tantrums because things haven't gone my way and no one is listening to me and I am picking up dinky cars yet AGAIN.
When the boys throw a fit (Luke) or whine because they aren't getting their way (Matthew) or they stand at my elbow, tugging and begging for attention (both), I am quick to scold, to scorn, to lash out.
But, in that awesome way of children, they shine a light on the witch I can sometimes be and God help me, it's an ugly sight indeed.
I was drying Luke after his bath - rushing through our nightly routine and speaking in clipped tones. Matthew appeared, and rightfully pointed out that I was using HIS towel to dry his brother, at which point Luke - naturally - melted down. I growled at both of them and then, not-quite-under-my-breath, muttered nastily, "Leave it to your brother to stir the pot."
Matthew froze. When I raised a quizzical eyebrow and then narrowed my gaze icily, he lifted his chin and said, "You shouldn't talk about your son that way, Mummy. It's not nice."
I set my jaw stubbornly. "Really, Matthew?" (Oozing sarcasm) "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you shouldn't talk that way. You always tell me to think about what I say before I say it. You should think about things, too. You're not talking nicely about me."
Big, HUGE pause for that absolutely shameful truth to settle around us. Even Luke stilled, knowing that something important was happening.
I took a deep breath. Faced my son.
"You're right, Matthew. You're absolutely right. I AM being mean and I'm sorry."
"It's ok, Mummy. You're learning, too."
Sometimes, I don't deserve to be their mother. I am so very glad that they forgive me my many failings. Without these little people, I would be entirely lost.
Every day they show me, in a thousand different ways, who I want to be when I grow up.
*Do your children inspire you? Who do you want to be?*