She Did the Best She Could

I’ve become the parent I knew as a child. The one I looked straight in the face and fierce vowed I’d never be.” – Ann Voskamp

* * *
Years ago
a new mother
looked at me,
children almost all grown,
and considered me a success
in what was her dream,
to not repeat the sins of the past.

She talked of how she’d never do this
and never do that,
things her own mother had done.

Right or not
that day
I withheld from her a truth,
that very likely
there was
waiting out there in her future somewhere
a moment
where she’d fall short of that goal
maybe not permanently
maybe just a little
maybe just once
maybe just a particularly bad afternoon.

I hoped for her
that when that moment came
it would not hit hard
that she would see it as only a moment
that she could forgive herself
that she could do what needed to be done
to address damage and move forward
that she would not allow that moment
to become her whole story

I hoped for even more.
I hoped she would,
having such a moment,
see the door it is,
a door
to understanding
what had
until that point
been impossible for her to understand fully.
And I hoped she would step through that door.

* * *

I, decades earlier,
short on sleep
short on patience
short on ideas
walked a crying child
and began to know
what only parents know
and no child-rearing book can persuade you of in advance,
that the work of loving and nurturing is demanding
and one’s resources are inadequate for the task –
the resources of some less adequate than others
(and perhaps one’s own parents fall into this category).

A little door opened for me then, I think.

And when
so many times in years that followed
on the tip of my tongue
were things
I thought cruel
when said to me
I saw how thin the line really is,
how easily I could step over.

There they are, not far at all,
the very weapons I thought I’d put at such a distance.

In such moments of realization
lie opportunity,
the possibility of compassion
for one’s own parents
who may not have done well by you.
A door.

She did the best she could.
I did not always think this,
but then at some point
I did
and I do now
and this change of perspective is healing.

I hoped some day in the future
my young friend would see the door
and choose to step through.

Breaking out
is a worthy goal,
but there is also healing that needs to happen.

She did the best she could.
Important words.
A child who can say them….
is well on the path to breaking out
of so much more.
* * *
Do not miss Ann’s breaking out tips.


About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in forgiveness, good blogs, grace, letting go. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to She Did the Best She Could

  1. Chris Craven says:

    Thanks my friend for this today. Ann’s post was beautiful as well. It spoke to me and soothed me.
    “She did the best she could.” Can I get a tshirt made or a magnet made that says I’m doing the best I can? 🙂


  2. I’m going to read Ann next, but this was a blessing. As one who did so poorly sometimes, I am so grateful for grace and the blessing of a love that covers a multitude of transgressions.


  3. This is so insightful. Wow.

    It’s also a little sad. Sad to see what sin has done to us all.


  4. Marilyn says:

    True, Cassandra. Very true.
    But also grace. Grace allows a path back, which is really amazing – awesome even – to behold.


Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s