Almost There

I surrender.

I forgive you.

I forgive me.

I am ready to let go.

Standing in church today, hands folded over my heart, I close my eyes and sing the song. My heart has been raw since I lost my temper the day of Riley’s first clay class. There have been times I have not been able to even look at her, because I relive it, and the thought of causing her pain is too much to bear.

In the aftermath of that shit day, I did an exercise from a book called Healing Through the Eyes of a Woman.It allows you to examine your emotions and takes you back to where particular feelings originated, and helps you transform them. I went back to a time pre-birth, and experienced the feeling of not being wanted. My parents were teens when they had my older sister, and I was the second child. They were young and overwhelmed and not ready for their first baby, let alone another one. All my life I’ve fought the general conviction I’m not welcome or worthy enough to be here. Like I have to justify my existence by attempting to be perfect.

Now, try as I might to have a good and peaceful life, the screams still interrupt it. And the little wounded part of me gets pissed. Try as I might to do right by this kid, I can’t stop her screams. If she would just cry. If she would just cower. If she would even run, but she doesn’t. She SCREAMS. And it rattles me. Sometimes it is too much. And the thing is, it is so much better than it ever was, but sometimes my own nerves are shot and I just can’t cope.

I surrender.

I forgive you.

I forgive me.

I am ready to let go

If you are privileged enough to never have had the experience of losing it on a beloved child, then that’s just what you are. Privileged. Maybe you don’t have kids. Perhaps your child isn’t a screamer. Perhaps your child’s scream isn’t the same ice pick through the ear drum pitch. Perhaps you have more help. Perhaps you were blessed with a calmer disposition. Perhaps you had a terrific childhood and developed stellar coping skills. Perhaps you do not clock as many hours with your child as I do with mine. Perhaps there is more going on here than what you read on this blog. Perhaps your husband wasn’t in the ER that week being evaluated for a possible heart attack, while your child was up all night vomiting with a stomach bug. Perhaps you’ve always had support, so you’ve never been in a position of having to pick…go to the hospital to be with him or stay with your sick child. Perhaps you are all around just a better person than me. You probably are. I’d be careful though because the thing we find vile in another is what’s bubbling under the surface of ourselves. Besides, you could never judge me more than I have judged myself. I have that market covered, thank you. If I seem mad at you don’t worry. I’m really just mad at me. 

I surrender.

I forgive you.

I forgive me.

I am ready to let go

On the heels of the hurtful words that flew from my mouth that day, self-loathing covered me, threatening to drown me. That is why I cried. No parent intentionally wants to hurt their child. As I felt myself sink into the pits of despair, I heard a voice saying,

God has not changed his mind about you. You are a good person. This doesn’t change anything. God loves you and never changes his mind.

 I held Riley and cried harder.

 And then, me being me, I wondered why the voice I heard called God a “he.”


I apologized to Riley several times that week. She seemed okay, but we were tentative with each other. I could not shake it. I spent as much time as I could, locked away in my office.


Eleven days later, prayers were said. Chickie was tucked in under Riley’s chin. We laid face to face. Looking in her eyes, my throat tightened. We talked about it, again.

In a whisper I told her,

“Riley, I try to be a good mother to you, but I am not a perfect person. Sometimes I don’t have patience. Sometimes I don’t feel well. Sometimes I am not in a good place. I get upset, but it isn’t really about you.”

She looked at me in the dim light, eyes big and pensive.

“But when you got upset at clay class, wasn’t that about me?”

I closed my eyes tight. Let out a breath. Looked her in the eye.

“No. It wasn’t. It was about me putting too big of expectations on the day. It was about me acting like that class was going to make or break our lives. I made it into a huge deal. It was about me being unsure of whether I’m cut out to homeschool, and wanting it all to go perfectly. To prove it is the right choice. It was about Mommy being very tired. I forgot to pre-pave. I forgot to set an intention for the day. I just plowed into that class without thinking. I want to be the person you can trust to comfort you, not the one who makes it worse. I’m so sorry Sweetie. You were upset, and I know you couldn’t help it. It wasn’t your fault. You are never responsible for mine or anyone else’s behavior.”

She looked at me thoughtfully. We gazed at each other.

A long moment went by. She put the back of her hand softly on my cheek and said,

“I think you can stop blaming yourself.”


I didn’t.


 Riley often says things she doesn’t mean in moments of overwhelm.

“Riley, when you screamed at Daddy just now, did it mean you didn’t love him, or did it mean you were frustrated,” I’ll ask her.

“I was just frustrated,” she’ll say.


Every moment is perfect. We are always learning. Eternal expansion.  


Hands folded over my heart,

If I don’t show her it is okay to forgive myself, how will she ever forgive herself for the outbursts she is so prone to?

A tear rolls down my cheek, and I sing, 

I surrender.

I forgive you.

I forgive me.

I am ready to let go.

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26 Responses to Almost There

  1. Niksmom says:

    Achingly beautiful. Hauntingly familiar in the lessons to be learned. I see much of myself in this.


  2. Jerri says:

    Beautifully written.

    That voice…the one who said, “I think you can stop blaming yourself”? That was the voice of God, speaking through your precious daughter.

    Listen to that voice, Michelle. Trust it. Trust yourself. And Riley.

    Blessings to you and HT and Riley and Seth.

  3. Jenn E says:

    If it helps I lose it on a non verbal 4 year old who can’t help himself.


  4. Kim G. says:

    Yes. Time to forgive and teach through that part of this process. What a gift you give your daughter teaching her the words, the heart and the actions of making relationships right.

    How’s HT? Brad has had heart issues in the past, email me if you want to chat about what he’s experiencing. Take care of you, friend.

  5. With you in spirit, my friend, since I’ve been there in “deed” as well. Many times. We do the best that we can at each moment. Love.

  6. Wonderful post and one I needed to read. Thank you for sharing such a personal process.

  7. graceonline says:

    When they tell us we must sacrifice something, we don’t always get that they mean sacrifice our sins, sacrifice our guilt, sacrifice our self-loathing. I pray you can relinquish yours forever and get on with the loving, and with receiving support. No one should have to do all you do alone. I pray for HT’s continued well-being. I pray for the best possible support for you.

    May unknown blessings be speedily on their way.

  8. pixiemama says:

    I truly believe that the hardest person to forgive is myself.

    This is an amazing post.

    I think Riley’s right – it’s time to stop blaming yourself.

    Did you know that the essential oil of Lemonbalm is connected with forgiveness? I often breath it deeply.


  9. Amanda says:

    My dear friend Michelle, who I turn to when I need the voice of reason, my dear friend who has taught me so much in such a short space of time, I really hope you can find it in yourself to forgive and forget about the first clay class incident. Of course there is more going on than you share with us – I’m always in awe of how you do what you share, let alone the rest of it.

    Stop beating yourself up, it’s going to happen again, as these things do, because of your love for your children and your desire for the best that life can be for them. speaking as a mum who still stews about things internally months down the line, let me know when you find a way to kick the habit properly because just when I think I’ve got it sorted, something brings all those feelings about not being the mum I want to be back. Right back to the dreaded square one.

    Sending love and happy thoughts to you all.

  10. Jess says:

    Relationships are a thorny business, aren’t they? And none moreso than the ones we have with ourselves. We are all just works in progress. Hugs.

  11. Kim says:

    Love this. Absolutely love everything about this. I see myself in this many times over. No one is perfect but you are an amazingly good Mommy to think so long and hard and to apologize to her the way you did.

    It is hardest to forgive ourselves. So true.

  12. JoyMama says:

    What an amazing statement, “I think you can stop blaming yourself.” Permission to forgive yourself… but also faith that you will, indeed, be given that grace to forgive yourself.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  13. naomi says:


  14. amber says:

    ” All my life I’ve fought the general conviction I’m not welcome or worthy enough to be here. Like I have to justify my existence by attempting to be perfect”…

    Maybe not everyone understands this. But I do. I dooooo. And I love you so much.

    I dooooo.

    I find it hard to imagine an “all around better person”, than you. Sorry, sister. I’ll kick anyones ass who even hints otherwise.

    …what Riley said. Touched me so deeply. Made cleansing, thankful tears fall.


  15. Penny says:

    An amazing post Michelle. YOU are amazing. YOU are a good mother, through and through. What you have said has touched my heart. I have a 13 year old daughter with autism. I have felt the way you felt. I have asked myself for forgiveness. It is a blessing I am able to give myself and to my daughter. I hope that your words bring you peace. There are others out here who understand. I understand and I stand with you in your quest to be a better mother to our children who we try so hard to understand.

  16. Betty says:

    Let it go and forgive yourself. Riley already has.

  17. Wanda says:

    Love. Amazing love.

  18. Lolly says:


    “An inner, secret turning to God…..Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. But when you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breathe a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are. . . . ‘This is what I am except thou aid me.’”
    Thomas R Kelly, Testament of Devotion

  19. Carrie Link says:

    I love you and everything about you.

    Thank you for being a teacher.

    You are my human.

  20. Camille says:

    Babe, Please forgive yourself. Let Riley see you’ve forgiven yourself. It happens. We’ve all been there. She’s a beautiful spirit. Let her love you and heal you.


  21. Hello
    This is really a beautiful post and I really like to read it.I must say that your are such a nice person and I really like that you have shared your thoughts and feeling.Thanks for this lovely post.

  22. Meg says:

    Oh, Michele! I learn something from you nearly every time I read your blog. I have been there – the losing it over something that in retrospect seems so trivial and seeing the pain in your child’s face and hating yourself for it. Thank you for guiding me in a better way to handle it.

  23. Puanani says:

    Self forgiveness is the hardest.
    And…you’re right, “Every moment is perfect. We are always learning. Eternal expansion.”

  24. Beautiful thoughts, Michelle. Listen to Riley. She is your savior. Simply choose again. As we say in our Creating A Holy Relationship workshop, it is in our relationships where we do our healing. You are also Riley’s savior. You’ve both made a huge leap forward, in spite of what you might fear. Just let the love replace the fear. You and Riley and HT are all perfect children of God, just the way you are.

    Your solo on Sunday was so lovely. Thank you for sharing your Self with us.

  25. Bettse says:

    How great is the love of God?
    You and Riley are Divine Love. Examples to be cherished.

    Love to you both,

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