The Internet's still down at home, so I ran over to Mother and Dad's house this afternoon to look something up on the net, and to login to my bank account and verify that some check had cleared.
And I realized immediately that I'd made a horrible mistake. In my checkbook. Again. I do it far too often; I'm just not diligent enough.
Frustrated and angry with myself, I logged out, closed down the computer, and loaded Lex and Gentry back into the car to go home for lunch.
As I pulled away from the curb and started to drive away, Gentry, who gets a little anxious about certain things, started crying because he couldn't get his seatbelt buckled. He flips out if the car starts moving before he's buckled. That's probably a good thing.
So I slammed on the brakes, turned in my seat, and yelled at him to "hurry and buckle the seatbelt". I'll admit; my frustration at myself over my checkbook mistake overflowed.
He started bawling, and got so flustered he couldn't get his fingers to work well enough to get the belt latched. He dropped the buckle. I let out one of those exasperated half-sigh, half-grunt things through my clenched teeth, leaned back and roughly buckled the belt for him.
Then we drove to McDonalds.
As we sat in the drivethrough-me in the drivers' seat, brooding at my mistreatment of Gentry, Gentry doing that quiet hiccup-sniff thing he does when he's trying so hard to stop crying, and Lex whispering quietly to Gentry "it's alright Bubs", I realized that I'd been out of line. Far out of line.
I turned around in the car and said, "Bubs, Daddy's really sorry for yelling at you back there. I was wrong; I shouldn't have done that.".
"It's allwight," he sniffled quietly.
"No, it's not. It's nowhere near alright. I'm really sorry, ok?"
"It's OK," he said.
"Are you mad at me?"
He looked up at me with a questioning look on his face. "No, I'm not mad," he said.
"Why not," I asked.
"Because youw always nice to me. Youw hawdly evew mean, so it's ok."
"I love you, Bubs," I said.
He stretched up to hug me. And I realized that he was telling the truth. I WAS forgiven--even before I'd apologized. Because he loves me. And that's what love does; it gets hurt, but it keeps on. True love isn't contigent...on ANYTHING. Its there; always. Without qualification.
How is it that my five year old son and six year old daughter have got this figured out, but I still don't have it quite right?
They're so much wiser than I. I should listen to them more often, I think.