Bringing our uglies into the light begins to dismantle the hold our vices have on us. Opening our chest of less than stellar moments encourages others to do the same. My vices of impatience and moving too fast led to this shame-filled, poor performing parental moment.
Running late to school Gianna, our 9 year old, uncharacteristically acted helpless, immature, and uncooperative about brushing her teeth. In a huff I ran to the bathroom to expedite the sluggish Weber crew in their unenthusiastic pilgrimage to the family van. Gianna whined over toothpaste dripping from the corner of her mouth towards her chin. The delay and weak attempt to overcome it frustrated me as I envisioned possible pink tardy slips and the disruptions when Ian checks in late for his school FM equipment.
I frantically looked for a face towel , to no avail. In my peripheral vision I saw a damp washcloth hanging on the towel rack in the bathtub. As I grabbed it, the fleeting thought of where it came from passed through my psyche overpowered by the dominant thought of needing to get Gianna moving. I used the wash rag to wipe the toothpaste from her cheek.
Returning the rag to the rack, things went from bad to worse.
Tears streamed down Gianna’s face as she cried, “You used the rag Ian and Benjamin use to wash their privates!”
My foggy self-dishonestly about what I did with the hope Gianna wouldn’t notice it was not strong enough to overcome the guilt and shame that overtook me. Thinking this was the kind of emotional scarring that adults bring to therapy offices, I knew I had damaged Gianna’s trust in me. Putting tasks above people as I am prone to do, I screwed up.
One instant of poor judgment like my “butt rag” tale requires multiple positive experiences to overcome. Sincere apologies followed by living amends repair relationships. To our benefit, God creates children much like Himself, quick to forgive.
The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Share a shame-filled moment if it could be of benefit to someone else.