Hey y’all! I know this is different than my typical devotional, but I felt the need to share this. Many times we don’t recognize opportunities to walk in love toward others. Having felt shame about parenting choices I made and make daily with my son and confronting the feelings I have, God reminded of an opportunity I missed to walk in love towards someone else. I hope this inspires you to scrutinize your interactions with others and be more cognizant in the future of how you represent Christ to others through your words and deeds.
Dear Woman Who Lived Above Me in 2007-2008,
I wish knew you so I could apologize to you in person. I’m now in your situation, a single mom with a toddler. Our only face to face contact was brash because you insisted I come to you directly. I was in graduate school for my Masters, working on my thesis. More than anything I wanted a peaceful quiet home so I could work on my code and write.
Only that is not what I got. You and your beautiful daughter, who should be about 11 or 12 now, lived above me. I interpreted the regular crashes I heard as vases being knocked down and TVs falling. Now having an active toddler who regularly flips his table and knocks down his basketball goal, I cringe thinking of the frustration I may have added to your life. I don’t know where you are, but I hope you have forgiven me.
When people ask me what time my son goes to bed or when he will be potty-trained, I break a little inside because I am trying to juggle it all alone. I feel shame at the fact that he still co-sleeps and cries when he does not want to go to bed without me. I know I need to get him in the bed, but I am often scrambling to get him fed after getting home at 6:30 after work. I sit him in front of the TV for hours on end or let him use the tablet to play some educational game. I get frustrated when I go to the restroom to be alone, only for him to be behind me moments later. As I write this, I think of you and how I made you feel, and perhaps others made you feel, all those years ago.
I have fears about letting people keep him for me because I cannot protect him, but I am working on that. I wonder, did you have any help or were you going it alone. The only knowledge I have of you is the noise, and our single interaction. I came to your apartment after having complained to the office countless times, after myself and others heard the loud noises. It was late, and I came and stood outside your door annoyed. You accused me of being like all other black women (which was bizarre) but now I understand. You felt threatened and judged because I came to ask you to monitor the noise, telling you it sounded like appliances falling. I was young — 22 at the time — and very opinionated. I thought I was right and refrained from reacting despite your attacks. Sometimes I feel like responding like that, lashing out at those who offer unsolicited opinions, but right now I feel your pain. I hope you and your daughter are well, and that you didn’t allow the insensitivity of others to judge your parenting ability.
I pray you are well, and I hope you forgive me. I hope you realize you don’t owe me or anyone an explanation of your parenting choices. Love your child, adjust where necessary, and love your child some more.