The tantrumming child that kicks me in the face in the Target checkout line or the one who- while his sister is freaking out- says, "Mommy? Mommy? I'm being a very good boy, riiiight?"
She wanted to open up a yogurt drink in the store and I said no. We have a strict policy (hey maybe it's even a law?) that we don't open or consume anything until we've paid for it. I played the Mom-under-control-in-public role pretty well, I think, and maybe people watched and thought, she knows what she's doing. I used my firmest soothing voice, I made those eyes, and even smiled calmly at the cashier. None of it worked anyway, but it was more about the effort. I was just trying to get my stuff and get out of there without bloodshed and mind loss. And truthfully inside I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't even know this child and which wire is it? Blue or red?! Disarm!
And it wasn't just the yogurt, it was everything else from a pink ball to pink cookies to pink gum at the register. It was how LOUD she said everything, even when she wasn't begging. It was Gray's constant questions. And how even when I let him pick out a special food he still was ungrateful because he didn't get the next thing and the next thing and the next thing that he wanted.
For about the thousandth time I pushed that cart to the car and BREATHED DEEP and pledged to never ever bring them to the store again.
Last night was a picture of utter chaos; I'm sure anyone walking into my home around six-thirty PM would have gone "What the...?" but! although it looked like I had no idea what I was doing, it was all skillfully under control. I washed the dinner dishes while simultaneously monitoring Ivy at the dining table with paints, assisted my oldest son with spelling while he typed a story online downstairs, and directed the other two to tun off the TV already and read to each other.
Part of me swelled with happiness as this machine hummed on and part of me burned with longing...I wish I was painting right now, I want to be writing a story online, I want to read my book. And I'll get to, eventually. But by then I'll be too tired anyway.
We got home from Target and after I was all deep-breathed-out on a very quiet car ride home, she said sorry, mama and she truly meant it.
Maybe it's these moments that teach them what a real apology is? Not just saying sorry because we tell them to but because from their soul, oh, do they mean it. Is this how it works?
Maybe it's these moments that teach me about humility, and grace, and what mercy really is? How natural for my heart to extend it to a stranger, but the ones I love......... is this how it works?
I still gave her the yogurt. And before I could even unload one grocery bag she spilled it all over the counter and onto the floor.
I'm sorry, mama. And she meant it.
I'm sorry, too.
I cleaned it up and announced we were playing the "let's start this day over, brand new!" game.
And we did.