Asking forgiveness. Love notes to my children.

June 8, 2017


I have accepted my role as vacuum cleaner, waste bin, and rear wiper. It’s part of the job description as a mother, and it’s a small price to pay for the benefits that come with the job. However, on summer break, it seems this part of the job description is moved to the top, repeated, highlighted, and circled. I don’t seem to get past these 3 aspects of life.



Welcome to summer break. A time when the sun rises early and sets late. The water flows steadily through the backyard sprinkler. The perpetual dripping stains of popsicle and watermelon trail through the kitchen floor. Bike helmets and mismatched shoes are scattered along the front porch. Wet towels drape over the backyard porch. Darts from dart guns are found under every couch and pillow cushion.

I love having them home. I love getting to see them play endlessly together in their carefree innocent worlds. I love getting to hear about which superhero they are that day with which new assumed power they now have. I feel so lucky to see their friendships with each other grow. However, my patience tank seems to be running on fumes already. By 10am it feels like we have lived an entire day! I mean, HOW are the days suddenly 10 years long each?? As such, I mess up often as a mother. I lose my cool, I get tired of settling squabbles, and I get real tired of being a vacuum cleaner.

(Little outfits from Childhoods Clothing – love their soft and durable clothing.)

I have had to eat a good deal of humble pie as I fail to show my children the virtue I just got finished trying to teach them. I am sure some of you mothers can relate to that awful feeling when you know you’ve messed up? Well I started to think of ways I can show my children how deeply I love them even when I am crabby and poor in patience. There is nothing that quite reaches my children as affirmative words. So recently, I wrote each of them little apology/love notes. Simple words that remind them how valuable they are. I hope it is something I can continue to do in order to instill in them a conviction that they are loved without measure by their parents, and by the God who made them.  For example…

“I’m so sorry I got angry with you. I hope you know my love for you I even deeper and wider than the ocean itself.”

“Your smile brightens the world around you like the sun in the sky. Thank you for brightening my world!”

“Max, you make my heart sing! You are one of my greatest loves!”

When I gave my children these notes they were immediately forgiving and very happy. It only grew my resolution to do better for them. If anything, these notes were for my own practice of humility, asking forgiveness, and trying again.

So mothers everywhere in the middle of summer vacation….I see you. We are in this together;)



P.S. These photos Gabe captured after a very tough attempt to take our kids out to dinner. I left frustrated, defeated, and wondering why we even tried! Rocco and Max don’t mix well with confined spaces right now. We walked to a nearby park and let them run wild and free for a good hour. It turned my mindset around as I accepted this place in our life right now and how good these children are. These photos weren’t meant to be posted here, but it’s a day I want to remember. When I see them I am reminded that my tired efforts are being poured into something really wonderful.

Leave a Comment

  • Awww, that was so sweet, and I know they’ll know you tried the best you could.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • What a beautiful post! Thank you for your honesty and humility! I’m going to be writing these notes to my girls this summer!

  • I understand where you are coming from and only have one. It is both so joyous to be a mother and oh so exhausting at the same time, but luckily the happy moments are so much more so.

  • Days that are 10 years long! Yep…
    Love your blog- so beautiful and encouraging!

  • Made me cry, Anna. (and now I need to find a pen…)

  • This was such a lovely piece. I’m not a parent, but I am a human, and because I’m a human I sometimes snap at the people I love. This has really reminded me to try my best with making sure, even though I will snap, they are valuable and I do truly love them – thank you

    – Natalie

  • I feel like these are moments I have often as I’m in the throws of young motherhood too. I’ve been quick to adapt the policy of apologizing to the kids when I need to though and I think it’s so helpful for me to feel that humility, and for my kids to learn to apologize when they need to too. I want to try harder to be better, but for my kids to also know that I openly acknowledge that I’m not perfect either.


  • Love this! I’ve heard many parents say you shouldn’t have to or should never apologize to your children … I never understood that. How can we teach our kids to take ownership of faults or mistakes if we can’t humble ourselves to do the same.
    We’re Moms not super heros (well we kinda are most days?? but…) We all have good Mom days, bad Mom days, and for me some days it seems I vary good to bad, bad to good, hour to hour ?…. but it’s those little things like your sweet little notes that they’re gonna hold onto in they’re hearts and remember forever❣️

  • I really appreciate your honesty. It’s hard to be a mom. It’s hard for to believe that my kids will ever be able to turn out okay sometimes, the sharp edges in my voice that I catch, the times when I lose my cool. I appreciate what you have to say about the restaurant too, I so enjoy my kids, but in public I often don’t, trying to contain little boys’ both energy and volume wise is impossible, let them loose out doors and we are all happier. This motherhood stuff isn’t for the faint of heart!

  • Oh, I can so relate to this! My kids and I have a word for this: it’s called “being grouchy.” We are ALL grouchy from time to time, and we ALL ask forgiveness. I’m not proud that I sometimes yell at my kids (“For the 100th time, PUT YOUR SANDALS ON… NOW!”) but I know the process of acknowledging grouchiness and asking/giving forgiveness is a big life lesson they won’t forget. What I love most is that they are super quick to forgive, even with each other.

  • THANK YOU for being so honest and vulnerable! You have no idea how encouraging posts like these are to a young mom in a world of “perfect” social media profiles. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles with your readers. You are being a servant-leader.

  • Michelle

    When I read this it touched my heart. You are definitely right God made your little gems and he entrusted parents with caring for these gems. They truly are a blessing and a gift from him. The little notes they will cherish always. Your children know you love them and the way you show it reinforces that. Keep up the good work.

  • I can lose patience with my little boy and there is only 1 of him! How you manage with 5 is beyond me but I don’t doubt you’re their Wonder Woman.

    This went viral so I’m sure you already saw it but just in case:

    I think it’s human nature to worry and over-analyze but I think it’s a trait you develop as you age. Kids remember the good moments, that’s why so much of their conversations are ‘you remember when’. <3

  • It’s beautiful and completely understandable. This season of parenting sure makes those days seem long… especially when they begin at 5:50am! Hope you have a wonderful summer. You’re such a good mom!

  • Pat Schwab

    Anna, Summer with the kids is always the best but tiring. I love seeing your kids in such happy carefree moments. I wrote my 22- year- old daughter a thank you note for cleaning up the kitchen when I fell to sleep a few weeks ago and I know she appreciated it because she hung it on the fridge. I have been where you are at and every parent gets tired and may snap a little or lose patience but we are only human. Pat S

  • Amanda Marshall

    Anna… I see you back and am high fiving you, sister.

  • Kelly Schardt

    I always appreciate your honest words! I definitely needed this read as I looked at the clock and realized it was ONLY 9 AM and I just got done yelling at Eva and am fully regretting now!! ? If only I could stop myself in the Heat of the moment! Any suggestions on how to accomplish that?!? ?

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