My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Parenting=Most humbling experience of my life (again and again and again)

I have a million blog ideas floating around in my head, and someday they might make it further than my head, but not today.

Today I have to tell you about the big fat piece of humble pie I have been eating.

My story goes like this…

Oh, wait… I have one thing to get out of the way: Even before this situation occurred, I fully acknowledged on multiple occasions that my children were not perfect, flawless, angelic, or incapable of mass-destruction. Okay, carry on…

So the other day it snowed. Yes, it snowed the night before Halloween, and I think that this happens nearly every year as an eye-catching conversation-starter prior to traipsing your little ones around on an October evening where light-weight nylon costumes are the norm. In any case, my kids were thrilled to see that someone had the gumption to make large snowballs with the snow on Scout’s school’s playground.

The catch? Since the playground is home to a half-acre of woodchips, the snowballs were more of a wood-snow-hybrid. (This is what those in the story-telling biz call “foreshadowing.” )

Ruby enjoys playing with the “big kids” on days when we pick Scout up from school. So do a lot of little siblings. The problem comes when the little siblings try their not-yet-ready-for-elementary-school moves on some of these other kids: pushing, shoving, etc. Add snowball throwing to that list.

I stood back from the playground with a few other moms, and the next thing that I knew I heard Ruby crying and a few older girls were running towards me to tell me that Ruby had indeed been beaned in the face by a snowball by a fellow kindergartner’s little brother. So it goes, right? Well, I was surprised to see that this kid was pitching snow/chip balls at kids that were approximately 5 inches from him. I did my mommy thing where I talk really loudly and say, “So-and-so, did you like it when this little boy threw a snowball at you? Well, maybe you should tell him that you didn’t like it.” Yeah, everyone, let’s all tell this little 3-year-old that we aren’t crazy about having a ice-laden woodchip dagger being flung at our heads.

When I went home that afternoon, I felt like this issue was resolved and we were all better for it.

But, like many parents before me, I found out that there wasn’t so much a sequel to this epic story as a prequel.

The next morning, while we were brushing our teeth, Scout mentioned something in passing. “Well, Ruby did throw a snowball at him first.” Turns out, Ruby had started the entire thing. That other kid, he probably didn’t even know what a snowball was until he saw my kid chucking one at him. That kid probably watched her slug him with one of those things, and he burned with the fire inside: “That looks like so much fun! Why don’t I fling one of those things at her face?” Turns out, Ruby instigated the whole shebang, and I can’t even contain how uncomfortable that makes me. My smugness at thinking that I had helped the victims confront their assailant? My self-righteousness at assuming I had understood the proper way to handle things? Gone, and replaced by my knowledge that I had it all wrong. As it turns out, I should have been helping that little boy confront my daughter, the original woodchip-snowball thrower, and teaching Ruby a little lesson we like to re-visit regularly called: HAVING EMPATHY FOR OTHERS.

You could call her "The woodchip-laden snowball thrower," but I will just call her Ruby

You could call her “The woodchip-laden snowball thrower,” but I will just call her Ruby

Yikes. We all have days like this, stories like this, and humbling experiences like this. At least, I hope that we do. The beauty of parenthood is that tomorrow I can go forth with the knowledge that I have gained today, and I hope it will make me a more loving, compassionate parent. I know that it will make me way less judgmental of the kid who throws the first snowball… because I might not have the sequence of events quite right.

How about your humbling experiences, parenting or otherwise? What have they taught you?