She shuffled around the kitchen after announcing she was making cookies. She is young and restless and doesn’t see the need to read the recipe first. She stirs and whips and soon realizes we are out of eggs. She adds a heaping cup of water into an already full to the brim bowl, just because. The concoction was thin; it dripped from a spatula like chunky chocolate milk. Minutes later she asked her father to take her to the grocery store to buy a carton of eggs.
He knows regardless of the eggs, the cookies will never take shape. They will fold in the oven. She has stretched the recipe beyond repair, with too much of this and not enough of that. But even though her dad can predict the obvious ending, he drives her to the store to buy the eggs that won’t make a difference in the failed dessert.
But I know him well enough, this father of hers for 12 years, to say that the five-mile drive has little to do with the mixture of mush. What he says in his actions is that success or fail, he believes in her. He will applaud her effort to spite the outcome. He’ll stop what he’s doing to invest in another ordinary afternoon. And as they walk out the door I shake my head, wondering why he would waste his time buying a silly ingredient that will do absolutely no good.
But late in the evening, a lump forms deep in the back of my throat as I scrawl this simple story. Too often I focus on the success in my daughter and my two sons. I push and persuade these little ones of mine to behave and listen, and the obvious missing ingredient in my tattered and tired recipe for mothering is grace.
Grace in the daily blunders because they are still children. Grace to giggle at the frequent fiascos. And a heaping amount of grace in the moments of success and failure.