Amazing Grace

A few years ago a dear friend of mine gave me a book titled, “Grace Based Parenting.”  I loved the book and recommend it.  To sum it up, it theorizes that we parent from fear rather than grace.  We set rigid rules and expectations that don’t allow our children the grace and space to mature into adults with their own flair intact.  Even simpler…don’t sweat the small stuff.  Your teenager wanting to have blue hair—small stuff.  Your teenager having a clean cut hairdo but experimenting with drugs—big stuff.  Worry about the character development, not the hair.

Although I stumble frequently, I think about that book often.  I try to remember to parent with grace and dismiss the small stuff.  Along the way, I hope they pick up bits and pieces of the good stuff and ignore my many failings.  I always try to picture them speaking to my future grandkids and want them to have a model in habit that I’ll be proud to hear repeated for future generations.  Repeatable grace is a daily prayer for me.

That being said, let me set the scene of my past weekend.  Avery, my 10 year old, had been invited to a very cool birthday party.  We’re not talking balloons and cupcakes.  We’re talking an actual re-creation of the Hunger Games-themed birthday party.  No lie.  The invites were amazing, the setting was perfect—200 acres in the country and her entire class was invited.  There was to be an actual cornucopia set up to mimic the games.  The hope was that it would play out in similar fashion—well, in mimicked fashion…sans the actual killing.

She was pumped.  Heck… I.was.pumped.  The letter that came with the invite stated that parents could stay and play help.  I figured it would be a great way to see an awesome birthday party, watch my daughter have fun AND maybe meet some new friends in our new town/school.

The party was scheduled for Saturday night. The weather was slated to be perfect—a cool fall evening.  I woke up Saturday morning and checked the invitation so I could enter the address into google maps to see how long it would take to get there.

Then I saw it.  My heart sank…there is a distinct possibility it may have stopped for a brief second.  No…it couldn’t be.  The date was suddenly flashing in bold. I grabbed my phone and before I looked at the home page, I prayed I was wrong.  Prayer unanswered.  The party had been the night before.

I just stared at the invitation.  I think I was willing it to be different.  I called the host parents to explain our absence since we had told them we were going to attend.  I think somewhere in my brain I was hoping they would say: “oh gosh…it turned out to be so chilly that we postponed the event for tonight…” yeah…right… Actually they told me what a huge success it had been and were so nice regarding our no-show.  It sounded wonderful—I was thrilled for them but it stung just a bit more to know that it had been as fantastic as we had hoped it would be.

Avery wasn’t awake yet but I had to get this conversation over with.  I sat down on the edge of her bed.

 Me: “Avery, I screwed up.  You’re going to be really upset with me.

Avery, barely awake but with that look of dread on her face: “what!?!?”

Me: “Your party was last night.  I messed up the dates.  We missed it.”  (at this point I’m just short of taking cover…waiting for the meltdown.)

Avery: “Mommy, do you know…”

––I’ll stop her here because before she finished the sentence I had already filled in the rest of it with a million possible conclusions in my head…

For example, my brain thought she would say one or many of the following…

“mommy, do you know…

          …how long I’ve been looking forward to that party? …that all of the kids in my class will have been there and now I’ll have to hear about it all week and won’t be able to say a word? …that I already told her I was coming?!”

And the worst ones that I was really dreading…

             …how hard it is to start a new school where you don’t know a single person in your entire class?  …that I was lucky to be invited to the party?  …that 5th grade is really tough as a new kid? …that I miss my old friends and this was a chance to make new ones?”

Yep…those were the ones I was bracing for.  But in that millisecond that I was prepping myself for the onslaught, my daughter was busy completing her sentence.

 Avery: “ Mommy, do you know how many times I have screwed things up like that?  Don’t feel bad.  Besides, it was cold last night.  I really hate being cold.”

Grace repeated.  Thank you, God.


  1. Jana Bistline says:

    What a wonderful young lady she is growing up to be. I will have to check out that book. I know a lot of my parenting is fear based. I am not sure I can handle the consequences if something bad were to happen.

  2. Teresa Pearce says:

    Sounds just like something her mother would say, or has said, when I’m apologizing for screwing up. How did you say it?…..”a model in habit.”

  3. Sandra Lake says:

    What an amazing child Avery has become. She is so grown up. This brought tears to my eyes.

  4. Jayne crook says:

    Wow. I love your daughter. You’ve taught her well.

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