Thursday night Adam had a choir performance. I had carefully laid out his (brand new) embroidered choir shirt and his (brand new) khaki pants in our laundry room. Ten minutes before it was time to leave, my three-year-old daughter (ever growing taller and surprising me with what she's able to reach), somehow grabbed the bleach pen from atop the dryer.
I'll let you imagine what she did to the choir uniform.
This is where I would like to tell you that I handled this with complete grace. That my first thoughts were for the fragile feelings of my ten-year-old boy, or that I laughed at the humor of it, or that I breathed a sigh of relief that she didn't destroy more than just a shirt and pants.
I would like to tell you that, but I cannot. I handled it terribly. There was yelling and sighing and eye-rolling and overly-harsh elbow grabbing. All from me.
Generally speaking, when a "crisis" like this is past--when the mess is cleaned and the kids are quiet and the emotions are soothed--I usually can keep a healthy perspective. But never, it seems, in the heat of the moment, am I able to respond the way I'd like, the way I hoped I might after walking this mothering road for ten years.
It's episodes like this one that most frequently drive me to my knees after the fact, asking, "Really, God? Was it really a good idea to make a hot-head like me the mother of four children? Will I ever respond with even a fraction of the grace you have shown me?"
He responds, of course, by pouring out more grace, reminding me that despite the messes I make, He'll faithfully finish what He's started. He grabs me by the boot straps and pulls me back up off my knees, a little more humble and ready to make things right with the four little people He's given me.
There's another "crisis" just around the corner, of that I'm certain. Something will get ruined, or someone will be bleeding, or something terribly important will be forgotten. Maybe I'm a little wiser-- maybe next time I'll be the mom I want to be. Or maybe I won't, and I'll wind up right back on on my knees. Come to think of it, it's not a bad place for me to be.
Onward and upward, friends.