Our Best

There’s a little shaggy-headed, ocean-eyed, almost kindergartener in our home.  He stands so tall that I can wrap my arm around his wee neck without bending over.  He smiles so big that my heart hurts.  And he can throw a fit so fierce that it makes me want to sprawl out and nap until he goes to bed.

Every couple of months, Captain Eyes-So-Blue and I have a rough week.  It’s like clockwork.  This is one of those weeks.  There have been talks about respect, talks about obedience, and lots of beloved, confiscated Transformers.  The constant combat this week has left me feeling drained and parentally discouraged.

Last night, though, was the best time that little boy and I have ever had together.  Ever.  He was struggling for sleep, and when I was getting ready to head off to bed, he meandered into the hallway and asked if he could cuddle me until he fell asleep.  Since the studious husband was going to be up reading for his “History and Philosophy of Science” course (umm…what does that even mean?!), I agreed.

After quietly reading the entire notebook full of puppy stories that he has written and illustrated, <insert 94 heart eyes> he was quite chatty.  It started with talk of our rough week, and we both admitted that we were struggling with various things.  He said, “Mama, I really try my best everyday.”  My response was so immediate that I knew it was the truest of the trues for each of us.  “Me, too, buddy, “ I said quietly.

I asked Jude if he wanted me to pray for him, and he said that he’d like prayer that he could be kind to everyone, everyday.  Golly.  A great prayer template for the whole world.  When I finished, he asked what my prayer requests were.  I told him frankly, that I needed God’s help to respond more lovingly, rather than getting so frustrated and angry with the people I love.  His simple prayer humbled me straight through.  The part that struck like lightning, that I will remember forever was this:

“Help Mama to do a great job….like she’s already doing.”

Guys.  Through all my shortcomings, in all my weaknesses, God takes my prayers to be a good mother, and He helps those darling boys to have grace.  He helps them to see that I’m doing my best today, and if that involves a harsh tone or grumbles of frustration, then my best means to offer apologies and reconnect.

Aren’t we all just trying our best everyday?  Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  This life isn’t supposed to be easy, and if it were, I imagine we wouldn’t have very much character or depth.  I think that when properly navigated, our mountains and scars should leave us stronger, wiser, and far more relatable and compassionate.

Lastly, that sweet boy’s prayer for me allowed me to have grace for myself during our rough week.  The feelings of failure and dejection that stem from persistent conflict can feel insurmountable.  But when that little voice told God that I was doing a pretty good job, it made me realize that even our roughest of days are not beyond grace.  It’s comforting to know that our best is enough.



If I knew how to add emojis to this, there would be fifty kissy heart faces. Gahhh. He writes books about puppies, people. And they always end with “and then the puppies went to the store to buy more flowers.” I can’t make this stuff up.  And that little brother to the left? He has permanently turned my heart to goo. He calls me his “Sweet Babboo” like Sally calls Linus in Peanuts. Please.

  1. Oh, Jo. You have me in tears again. My sweet eldest and I share such a similar story. Your boys see Jesus in you along with the human. What will remain is eternal. Be encouraged sweet sister (you’re doing a great job), and thank you for encouraging me today with your words.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, dear friend!! I lovvve that..”your boys will see Jesus in you along with the human.” ❤️Wish we could grab a coffee together and talk about life together.

  2. “He helps them to see that I’m doing my best today, and if that involves a harsh tone or grumbles of frustration, then my best means to offer apologies and reconnect.” loved so many parts of this. this line i copied and pasted so i could remember it. thank you for this.

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