"But he started it!!!"
In the space between the fighting and the making-up, the offense and the hurt, there are two pointed fingers and one mama losing her grip on calm.
"It isn't important who started the fight. You have a part in this too. You hit back. You said hurtful things too."
And I fight-- to hold it in, to keep it down, gripping my right to an uninterrupted life like a favorite toy. And my fingers are pointed, too.
"They started it, Lord! I can't help losing my temper again! Why can't they just get along for five minutes?"
"I'm a terrible mother. It's all my fault--how will my kids ever learn self-control when their mother can't keep a lid on it?"
I doubt my children will stop their bickering any time soon. But their mama can. I can breathe deep and lean into the discomfort of resolving conflict. I can own up to my angry words, and drop my blaming fingers. I can seek and grant forgiveness.
After all, that's what I want my kids to do--and some things are worth fighting for.