Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Mom Lesson on Forgiveness and Love

Usually I learn mommy lessons through a lot of trial and error, reading dozens of blogs and articles, or picking people's brains for opinions. But today, I learned a really cool lesson, and all I had to do was stand there.

Goobie and I went to our favorite park today. With the forecast in the 60's, there was no way we were going to stay home. So out we went. Madeleine tripped on the way from the car and scraped up her face pretty good, but I think she was just too excited to get there. There were kids every where and Madeleine was thrilled to go and play. 

I chatted with other moms as Tiny explored. She played in the mud, slid down the slide, and swung on the swings - many many times.

(She was trying to figure out which slide to go down.)

On our final 30 minute swing session, we met a chatty 4 year old. She informed me that she had a friend for Madeleine, but that I could be her friend because she was bigger. After all she was going to be 5 next year, and as we all know, you're practically a grown up by then. 

Madeleine's little friend turned out to be this girl's baby sister. But in the process of trying to show her baby sister off, she accidentally hurt her mom. She immediately turned to her mom and started to apologize, "I'm so so so sorry Mum." Her mom smiled and said that it was okay. It was an accident and next time try to be a bit more careful. 

I thought that conversation was over and started chatting with her mom, but about a minute later, the 4 year old asked, "Mum, do you love me?" Her mom stopped her conversation with me and reassured her that she still loved her. She then asked, "Mum, do you forgive me for hurting you?" I was surprised that she asked the question. That's not something that most 4 year olds ask. Her mom again stopped and reminded her that it was an accident, but then she turned to her daughter and said, "I'm not forgiving you because it was an accident. I'm forgiving you, because I love you. When you love someone, you forgive them."

Her mom turned to me at that point and continued our conversation, and the little girl ran off to push Madeleine on the swing. It was pretty clear that this was not the first time that they had that conversation. We left soon after because it was nap time, but I thought about that conversation the whole way home. 

I like more than just the words that they exchanged. I like how the mom gave her daughter her full attention when she reassured her daughter that she loved her, instead of just shooing her off or ignoring her. 
I also really love that forgiveness was not a foreign topic in their household. I think it was neat that the conversation didn't end with a scripted "I'm sorry" but that the daughter actually cared if her mom forgave her. 

Then the mother's response was perfect. It was amazing that she let her daughter know that her love was not conditional...through both her words and actions. It seems that "I love you" is a hard enough phrase for many people and living up that that phrase is difficult enough. But to watch someone take it a step farther and teach someone what it is like to love unconditionally was really a unique experience. The fact that it happened so naturally I think made it all the more special. It almost seemed like I was in some religious ad. 

I don't think I had ever thought about how I'm going to teach Madeleine that we love her unconditionally. I think I figured that over the years that she would figure it out. Now that I know otherwise, I have to figure out my own way to teach her about forgiveness and unconditional love, so that maybe we can one day have a similar conversation.


  1. Wow! I love that! I think I'm gong to steal what that mom said!

  2. Right? I was really impressed by her. I can't stop thinking about it.