It’s been a week.
The “back to school ick” is running rampant and we became its victims this week. One by one, our entire family was overwhelmed by snot and coughing and exhaustion. My husband had a really busy week at work with some later nights at the office and sometimes at home. My mother-in-law, who usually helps when things go off the rails, got sick as well and needed to rest at home. So for a few days it was just me and our circus all to myself.
I was feeling pretty crummy, of course, so I let the kids watch many more movies in one sitting than I ever have before (except for long car rides). During my “forced” quiet time while they were watching “Pooh” movies, I was scrolling through Facebook and Twitter. But what I probably should have been doing was reading my Bible and in prayer with God. I was completely and totally untethered to Truth. And, what’s worse, I knew it and I just ignored it. Just a few weeks ago I had resolved to not eat the bread of idleness, but there I was, snarfing it down.
Predictably, it didn’t take me long to unravel.
It was the end of a long, difficult week. Neither kid napped Friday afternoon, so we were all grumpy after dinner. Before bedtime, I had to suction the our youngest’s nose out so she could take her bottle. She hates nothing as much as she hates that saline spray and suction bulb. She screams and cries and flails and oh my heavens it is SUCH an ordeal.
The baby screamed and cried. The toddler, who seems to think yelling at her sister will stop her from crying (I don’t know how she hasn’t noticed yet that this method has the exact opposite effect), was also screaming.
I had been incredibly patient all week, but I was tired and exasperated from fighting kids to help them. I started to cry. I grabbed the toddler and deposited her in her bedroom and slammed the baby gate behind me.
“I can’t handle both of you right now, I will be back later,” I snapped.
Later, with baby sister in bed, I went and got our oldest out of her room. I felt terrible. I knew I had scared her by crying and yelling and I had been unkind with my words. I took her out to the living room and sat on the couch with her. I told her yelling at other people is always naughty. She shouldn’t have yelled, but neither should have Mommy. I apologized. As I was saying that I was trying to be a good mommy, but sometimes I just don’t get it right, she interrupted me. Turning to face me, she patted my head and said:
“You’re good, Mommy.”
All in one sentence and totally unawares, my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter showed me the grace I did not deserve, could not earn, and was ashamed and yet so eager to have. It was like I was hit with a lightning bolt of pure joy. I bawled. She thought I was laughing so she laughed, and soon I was laughing too.
I should be living in that lightning bolt of pure joy every day. How amazing, how wonderful, that God can teach a grown woman about the radical grace of Jesus through her child. I see more clearly every day, “for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)