Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pay Backs

Last week when I was picking the boys up at school, Joshua asked if he could go to Jay's house to play. Jay's mom wasn't at school yet, but he told me he'd gotten permission the day before to have Joshua over that afternoon. Initially, I wanted to say no (That is always my first reaction. What fun am I???) but I thought again and reasoned it would do no harm to let Joshua stay at school until Jay's mom got there to confirm their plans. (I would have stayed, but I needed to take Matthew to an appointment.)
We agreed that if Joshua went to Jay's house, he would call me when he got there and we would decide what time I was to come and pick him up.
We agreed, and I felt everything was good.
But when I got home from Matthew's appointment, Joshua hadn't called. So I looked for the school directory to call Joshua myself. But I couldn't find this year's directory and last year's directory had the wrong number. And Jay's phone number wasn't listed in the phone book.

And after all this looking, Joshua still hadn't called.

To top it off, I didn't even know where Jay lived. OK, I knew what road he lived on, but the road is several miles long. Knowing the road didn't make me feel like I knew anything.
My son wasn't calling, I didn't have the right phone number, I didn't know where he was, and although I had absolutely NO rational reason to be worried about him, I felt uneasy because he hadn't called.
After I had a chance to go through my "I'm a terrible mother" routine, beating myself up for letting Joshua go to Jay's house without personally talking to Jay's mom first, Joshua called.
At first I was upset with him. I figured he had been having too much fun to remember he was supposed to call. And I am quite sure he heard my disposition in the tone of my voice. Our conversation was brief, I got Jay's address, and was on my way to pick Joshua up.

But something happened to me while I was driving to Jay's house.

God reminded me of one evening when I was seventeen years old.

I was in my high school's musical. Went to a cast party after the show one night and was having fun with my friends. Then one of my friends suggested we go out to get something to eat at Denny's. That sounded good to me, so we went.
And we were having fun!
Laughing, goofing around, being care-free teenagers. Finally we decided we ought to go home.
So we left.
And when my friend dropped me off, I was met by my worried and upset mother. She wanted to know where I had been. Why hadn't I called her when I left the cast party? What had I been doing? Didn't I know she was worried about me? She had called the house where I had been at the cast party and found out I'd left a couple hours earlier. Now my dad was out driving around looking for me because my mom was so concerned.

Why hadn't I called???

Honestly? It never crossed my mind. I was with Mike and Stacy and we were just going to Denny's. I wasn't past curfew. We were fine. We were just having fun. Calling my mom simply never crossed my mind!

But, boy did I ever feel bad at that moment in time. What I wouldn't have given for a chance to do that one over. Instead I just went to my room and hoped my mom would still talk to me the next morning.

She did.

It was in reflecting on that scenario that my anger with Joshua subsided. Maybe he was having too much fun to call me. Maybe he needs to learn more about responsibility and accountability. I know one thing for sure: I am not letting him go to a friend's house again before I have talked to the other mom!
But I remembered that I messed up as a kid, too, and being mad at him wasn't the solution to the problem.
My mom forgave me.
I learned my lesson.
I knew I needed to extend grace to Joshua, too.

And what a delight it was to see the relief on his face when he realized I wasn't as mad as I apparently sounded on the phone.

As it turned out, Joshua did try to call after all. However, there were complications and he wasn't able to get through. We talked about what to do "if that ever happens again" and I think Joshua will do better next time.
But for this time, I am thankful for the reminder of my mom's grace to me and the opportunity to pass it on in the midst of being paid back for making my mom worry. *grin*

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Leah said...

Oh how often I have needed and gotten grace from my heavenly Father. Thank you,Karen for such a beautiful reminder of our need to extend grace to others. Hope you got your computer fixed.


Jessica said...

Wow, I would've been scared too, but what an interesting lesson! Sometimes I find myself wanting to tell my kids no and then I stop and think, why? Why is that my automatic response, esp. when it's not anything big?
I don't know why.

I'm glad everything turned out okay. :-)

Daveda said...

This is so very true. The last several years I have felt the Lord, changing my heart as a parent. Changing me to be a parent that is more like Him...*smile*

The more I understand "grace" for what...who...it truly is, and begin to walk in relationship with the Lord based on that, the more I want to parent my children the way that He parents me!

Great Post!

Fadi said...

Hello Karen, I am sorry to leave this off-topic comment, but I am in desperate need of your opinion and advice about the complications I am facing with my mom about my summer plans with my friends. Please email me when you are free to help me. Even though I am an adolescent, you blog is helping understand my mom day by day and help me survive the misunderstanding pain!

My email is fadidraghici@gmail.com

Jerralea said...

Thanks for sharing this, Karen, and reminding us that we need to extend grace sometimes to our kids.

btw, I have a blog award for you over at Jerri's Journey!

On Purpose said...

For life is truly about living out grace. Receiving our grace and then living in it each moment so we can extend it to those around us. Way to go momma...you knocked this one out of the park!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

How often I have needed and still need that Grace from my heavenly Father.

Great post - i was feeling a little anxious there with you for a moment!