Day 13 was one of those days where life got the best of me and I was, once again, THAT mom. It was school picture day at Hayleigh’s preschool. In an uncharacteristic move, that is unfortunately becoming more and more characteristic, I decided on her outfit that morning. She was unbathed and her hair had been in a “messy bun” the day before so she really needed a heavy dose of conditioner. I blow-dried her hair out nice and smooth, all the while feeling thankful we are in the afternoon class and don’t have to be there until noon. When we got there I went to get Royce out of the carseat and saw that she had scratched herself (we will just go with that story instead of the distinct possibility that I was the culprit when I was trying to scrap crusted boogers and oatmeal off her face before cramming her and her puffy coat into her car seat). Anyway, she was bleeding. Did I have tissues? Of course not. And no diaper bag either. It was supposed to be an uneventful drop off at preschool so I had not bothered to bring it. I sat on the floor of our van and used my coat to wipe her bloody little nose…while Braxton ran through the parking lot dodging traffic and Hayleigh stood on the grass shrieking that he was going to get hit by a huge truck. Oye. We made it into preschool at which time Royce decided it would be a good time to ooze a second bodily fluid, this time from the other end, all over both of us. (The one time I leave my diaper bag at home!) It was my winter coat’s first debut of the season and already it was taking a beating. Then I discovered that for some reason I was the only parent who was not given a form for Hayleigh’s pictures. Not a big deal really, they just gave me one to bring home and return the next day. But as I was looking for my wallet in my purse, what should I find among 3 months worth of sermon notes and Wegmans receipts, (I will give you a hint: not a tissue), the envelope containing Hayleigh’s tuition-2 weeks late. When did I become this? Usually I can laugh off many situations but I think the school picture and tuition together were too much for me to handle. I am pretty sure I really was never given the picture form, but I found my mind going all sorts of places it had no business going. I told myself lots of lies on the way home from school. For those of you reading this and thinking “man, this lady is a big mess”, you are kinda right. For those of you reading this while scrubbing bodily fluids off your coat, exhaling and thinking “glad to know it’s not just me”- welcome.
I have such a tendency to let one circumstance or one blunder define who I am. I am way too quick to label myself as “a mess” or a “bad mom” or any other slew of insults, none of which are entirely true. I got home yesterday, called Peter and vented a bit. Then I was able to calm down and give myself a dose of truth, wrapped in grace, topped of with perspective. Being able to do this is an area of growth for me, one that has not come without a LOT of work and a lot of set backs. I am thankful that I have God’s Word to remind me of what is true when I let my mind wander and I start to believe the lies. I am thankful that he allows me to be a bit of a mess sometimes, (although it happens more than I would like these days) so that I can have practice at taking my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), thinking about what is true and real (Philippians 4:8-9), and accepting His gift of grace (2 Corinthians 9:8). Also, I am thankful because I am one of my own biggest sources of laughs.
And today, Day 14, has been going slightly better. Instead of blow drying Hayleigh’s hair, I was actually blow drying a Y shaped stick she needed to bring to preschool but we had not bothered to find until t minus 2 hours before she needed it. Other than that, things are going well. Which brings me to what I am thankful for today. I am thankful that I get to stay home with my kids. It is a dream come true of mine, and one that my husband works his butt off to make happen. I am glad I get to be the one to blow dry hair and y sticks. I am glad I get to be the one to wipe (and scratch) noses, and make peanut butter sandwiches, and drive to preschool and play dates. I am honored that I get to be the one to answer tough questions and teach even tougher lessons. However exhausting it may be I am glad it is me who breaks up hair pulling fights about who pinched whose private parts and who gets to eat which puzzle piece that are “really” beautiful cookies and sub sandwiches made by Chinese people. I get to make masterpieces with them. I get to hear their dreams and their hilarious mispronunciations and perspective on life. I get to read them stories when they are sick. I get to give them cuddles even when it is inconvenient. I get the best and the worst of them. I get all of them. It is the hardest, most ridiculously exhausting, most eternally important, most wonderfully rewarding thing I have ever done.
I hope I am not rubbing salt in the wounds of any moms who do not get to stay home with their kids. I hesitated to even write this. I know a number of incredible woman who are incredible working moms. They regularly inspire me by all they are able to accomplish and how they are able to balance everything. I pray for them that God gives them the grace and strength to handle it all. I pray that they are able to battle the un-warranted guilt we all feel with truth. I pray that God blesses them and that God causes them to be thankful for his plan and purpose in their lives. Today I am thankful for God’s plan and purpose in my life. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to stay home with my kids. It is not always rosy but I wouldn’t trade it.
Yesterday in the midst of my inner turmoil, I hear the little voice of my B-boy say “Mommy, can you dance with me?” His arms were reached up in the air. I lifted him and we danced cheek to cheek in the sunlight that was reflecting off the snow and coming through our windows. He whispered in my ear “I like you, Mommy. You are dah best Mommy in dah whole world. The love I have fowh you will nevah evah top (stop)”. Ahhh sweet Jesus, thank you for doses of grace, even when they come from the tiniest of microphones. And thank you God that some times the small things really are just small things-things I shouldn’t make into big things, but some times the small things are the biggest things.