My third grade teacher used to say this all the time to us as a class. I hated when she said it. We would ask her to go outside and she would say no. We would ask why and she would say, "That's just the way life is today". You can imagine that this was her answer for A LOT of things that year. That saying has really stuck with me my whole life. I am ashamed to say it, considering how much I HATED that phrase, but I use this sentence in my house quite often. If the boys think something is unfair, they don't get their way, the other kid gets to pick the movie that night, or anything else happens that they don't particularly like and they make the mistake of letting me know about it... well, I use this handy dandy phrase and just keep on moving like nothing ever happened.
Well, sometimes in life I hear God whispering this phrase to me. Last night was one of those nights. I know a lot of people write blogs and it sounds like everything is PERFECT and CLEAN and well, perfect. BUT, I am going to be just down right honest for a little bit. Last night was anything BUT perfect. It started off that way but how many of us know that often times the way it starts is the direct opposite of how it ends! It started off with me cooking dinner and that went so smoothly and I chatted on the phone with a friend while I stirred pots on the stove and pushed buttons on my microwave (HEY! I said I was going to be honest here). Dinner was served and since John and Callum had meetings at church it was just me, Kobe, and Sam. We enjoyed our dinner and we talked about the day and that part could have been inserted into a Norman Rockwell painting (a modern day one...but still) because it went so smoothly and Kobe even said Amen at the end of Sam's prayer before dinner. I mean, it was really nice. Both boys helped clean up after dinner and then we headed to the grocery store.
I want to let you all know that what happens next is not for the weak! In fact, it may be down right emotional for some of you. It is hard to type...but I will be honest about what happened.
We made it to the store. We had fun going on a treasure hunt for groceries. Kobe and I took turns pushing Sam in the buggy and Sam helped pick things off the shelf and we all participated when it was time to put our groceries on the belt and back in the buggy as they were bagged. We continued on outside to our vehicle where (this is where it begins to go awry) Sam began acting a little wild. I chalked this up to the fact that he had been cooped up in the buggy that whole time and I was telling him no to ice cream and popsicles when we got home. After telling him more than a couple of times to get into his booster seat and get buckled with no action...I popped his bottom and he gladly hopped in the car and he and Kobe got buckled and ready to go home. The ride home was uneventful as we sang along to the radio. Once home, I decided to reward my little boys for their help (without complaining, I might add) and for being patient at the store...especially since I "used" their evening free time to go grocery shopping. (Here is where it gets ugly) I turned around and told the boys that because of their great behavior and their helping out with a joyful attitude that I was going to reward them by letting them stay up thirty minutes after they were through taking baths. They were already up past their bedtimes so they were really getting a treat. I told them that I would like for them to take my keys and unlock the door and I would bring the grocery bags up on the porch and they could carry them to the kitchen and then they could start their baths which would ultimately lead to thirty minutes of play time. I walked to the porch to sit my purse down and as I am turning around Samuel is opening the back of my SUV. Now, I normally open ONLY the glass part because I have just piled everything in and ...yep, you guessed it... if you open the entire back...the groceries will dump out on the ground. So, Samuel has opened the back and groceries are falling out. That normally wouldn't have bothered me as badly as it did last night BUT the bags that toppled out were the bags containing milk, diet Pepsi, gallons of tea, and crescent rolls. You can only imagine the mess I made it over to. I lost a gallon of milk, a gallon of tea, two cans of crescent rolls popped open, AND a diet pepsi was spurting everywhere. Not to mention that there were groceries laying everywhere and cans and boxes and bags of food were dripping in milk and tea and it was a GIGANTIC mess. I reacted quickly (and without completely thinking I might add) and yelled for Samuel to just go in the house. As I was saying this... I have to mention that Samuel is standing over this mess looking very sad because after all, he is only four and trying to help. He hesitated about going inside which made me yell again and a little louder for him to get his tail inside and get his pajamas on. I then showed him and pointed out the very LARGE mess I was about to have to clean up because he dumped it all out of my car ( go ahead enter my name in as "Mom of the Year"). He is very sadly walking and crying to his room as I stand there looking at this mess. As I get a laundry basket to take in the groceries that I can't carry in because the bags are full of milk, tea, or diet Pepsi I catch a glimpse of his sad face as he is getting ready for bed. That look plagued me the entire time I cleaned the mess up.
I was so aggrevated. But as I was cleaning that mess up the Lord spoke to me and He told me that I have made much BIGGER messes in my life that He has cleaned up. He hasn't HAD to clean them up HE WANTED to clean them up. I instantly began to feel such shame for the way I had just treated my Samuel. I felt guilty for Kobe being there and having to be involved by default. I hated myself. I hated my actions. I was so ashamed of myself.
I went inside and put away all the groceries to the soundtrack of Samuel sniffling. I got completely done and called Samuel into the kitchen. I got down on my knees and looked into his eyes and told him how sorry I was. He just started wailing! Which, made me cry too. I told him that sometimes mommies say stupid stuff and that I hoped he would forgive me. To my complete surprise my four year old began defending me...he said, "Mommy, you are NOT stupid! You are smart and good". I tried explaining what I meant but he really didn't understand. I eventually just told him how sorry I was. He laid his little head on my shoulder and said "me too". I asked for what and he said making a mess. Now, I was really feeling the guilt! If he had asked for ANYTHING he would have gotten it right then. He pulled back from hugging me and started playing with my hair and just said that he loved me with all of his heart. The Lord spoke to me very clearly and very quickly (because at this point I was contemplating on hosting a "How to Break Your Kid's Spirit" class as a professional horrible mom) and He told me that my child could have never responded to this incident if I had not taught him how to respond in a loving and forgiving way.
We all have our bad mommy moments. We all have "those days". As I sat there holding my sweet boy and literally crying on his shoulder I began to know what the love of the Father really feels like. Just pure, unconditional love...even when we make messes. Needless to say, Samuel got that popsicle. I was trying to just chalk that up to a lesson learned and know that we all make mistakes and things like this are going to happen...and I found myself thinking..."Well, that is just the way life is today".