I cut out the final keyword from my son’s classroom assignment and couldn’t hide my excitement to be so actively engaged. Because I’m limited in the amount of time that I get to spend with him, a joint science project effort seemed like one of the easiest and most natural ways for us to grow and strengthen our relationship.
With my expectations as high as my enthusiasm to prove my worth as a mother, I moved on and began trimming additional mattes before he even asked me. I was thrilled to be participating in what my son deems as important, and I was going to make sure that he presented his material with as much appeal as possible.
Our evening progressed nicely. We were talking, laughing, and even playing games while productively working together towards a common goal. It was all any challenged mother would ever hope for in an ordinary Tuesday night.
Finally, he arranged his methods, hypothesis, variables, and conclusion exactly where he wanted them. We had finally chosen an attractive layout that would earn him the grade he desired. We were practically finished when I came up with my great idea. Knowing that my son had many other responsibilities requiring his time and attention, I urged him with great confidence, to allow me to handle the gluing all by myself…
I’m not exactly sure when or how I forgot that liquid glue absorbs into what it is applied to, but after the ink began to smear and the mattes started shriveling up in the same zig-zag line that I applied to them, I was mortified. My son was going to be disappointed in me. I singlehandedly ruined his annual Science project that was due in the morning. My attempts to be the World’s best and proactive distanced mom were failing miserably right before my eyes and I could blame it on nothing but myself.
Unintentionally, I had failed my son again. Tears formed in the corners of my eyes. I was heartbroken. I knew I only had so many opportunities to influence my son. Today, I would successfully teach him what NOT TO DO, again!
According to his face, my son recognized the error of my way. I quickly tried to explain that it was not my intention to mess up his project, but that I had in fact undone his beautiful work. I offered to redo everything myself and get it to him on time, but he wouldn’t let me. My emotions overcame me and I started to cry. Within seconds, he wrapped every bit of his six foot, fourteen-year-old arms around me and said, “Mom. In real life, when is a Scientific discovery not messy? Nothing is ever picture perfect. That’s why we experiment in the first place. Besides, no one really cares about how fast sugar dissolves in water so long as it does.”
Humbled. God chose to use my son to teach me that hardship and trials should not be approached with fear and anxiety, but with the hope and peace of getting to meet the Creator Himself. During my failure, my son’s unconditional love ultimately reflected the heart of the Lord on the cross for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
Article originally featured at The Life of a Single Mom