Last week we arrived at piano to discover that John had forgotten his piano bag (that holds all his music). I was more than a little frustrated. As background, he’s been more than a little forgetful lately. Books get put in “a special place where I’ll know where to find it” and then are forgotten. Water bottles are left at sports practices. Goggles are left at home before swimming. Assignments are given and then forgotten. If I wasn’t a pediatrician I’d think he’d lost his mind. However, as a pediatrician, I often have parents bring their 9 or 10 year old boys in concerned about possible ADD because of their sudden forgetfulness. Even so, realizing it’s normal doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
Back to last week. I dropped the boys off at piano, they have lessons back-to-back at the teacher’s house. Typically Ruth and I sit in the car and read books while we wait for them and it’s a nice special time for her. David usually goes first anyway so I was able to drive home and get the piano bag and drive back. It was an inconvenience and not as pleasant for Ruth but not the end of the world. Still, when we pulled up and he said “Where’s my piano bag?” my reaction was one of frustration. I didn’t yell but I did make it clear through my tone that I wasn’t happy to have to turn the car around and head back home.
As I pulled away with all sorts of not so loving thoughts running through my head I turned on the radio.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
Ok, seriously? That was not what I wanted to hear. What I wanted was to be self-righteous about how I was being a great Mom by going back to get the piano bag my incredibly sweet and smart but irresponsible son had left behind.
But grace? No, I didn’t really want to think about grace and all it means. I didn’t want to think about all the mistakes I’ve made and all the grace I’ve received. I didn’t want to think about how grace isn’t deserved but freely given. But I did think about it.
I got back to the piano teacher’s house right when John’s lesson was due to start. I took the bag in but instead of just handing it to him I gave him a big hug. He looked kind of sad and said “I’m sorry, Mommy.” I looked at him in the eyes and said “Don’t worry about it. It’s ok, things like that happen to anyone.” There are moments for teaching responsibility and independence. This wasn’t one. This was about teaching grace.
And maybe next time I’ll remember the lesson myself from the beginning.