{Site currently under construction. Grace for my mess?}

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Behaving Badly

Can I be honest? It was a disappointing Mother's Day.

I started the day plunging a clogged toilet and it went downhill from there. Sibling rivalry, laundry mountains, ant infestations, and being caught embarrassingly empty-handed when my stepmother-in-law stopped by unexpectedly to bring me a mom's day gift and I, in my absentmindedness, had nothing for her…not even a card.

I silently fumed when the History channel's war-themed programming filled the morning and there was no breakfast in bed, no sweet hugs, no happy greetings or appreciative speeches, just the usual sports and work talk I resented hearing.

I gritted my teeth when my husband asked me to rub his aching back, trying hard not to mention the state of my own agonizing aches, and again later when I woke him up from his nap with a yawn since I had been up most of the night listening to him snore.

I tore into the card he had picked up the night before, reading his haphazardly signed name and noting the absence of more names, no crayon-scrawled signatures to speak of. No wrapping paper or roses, no special dinner, foot rubs, pancakes, or heart-shaped necklaces. No thoughtful diatribe…just a few jotted words, an obligatory sentiment…an afterthought.

It was just as any other Sunday. Chaos, church, cranky kids. I cleaned up countless dog messes and we don't even own a dog (we're dog-sitting). I bandaged boo-boos and refereed bickering children, washed dishes, cooked dinner, cleaned toilets, overlooked homework, managed bath time, handled poison oak and undertook the usual onslaught of daily drudgery that is my life.

I just wanted a day. One day. One trip to the bathroom without hollering and pounding on the door. One hour of blissful napping while someone else hushed the children for a change. One meal's dishes not waiting for me in the sink. One car ride without wrestling the car seat's buckles or intercepting backseat battles. 

One day.

Instead, I got what I always get…tears and blood, body fluids and bickering, dirty dishes and mounds of laundry. I got more tired with each hour, more frustrated, more entitled. Every interruption made my disposition chip away. I waved goodbye to my husband as he headed to work for the night and continued the grind…dinner, homework, bath time, bedtime stories. I glanced again, alone in a pout, at the romantic movie that had lost its appeal. Who wants to watch a romantic movie when they're alone, ticked off, and disillusioned with romance altogether?

I'd have to watch it alone because my husband was at work. On week two without a day off, working two full-time jobs at once while he transitions into a new position. I have a laundry mountain to fold because I have healthy, happy children who play hard and dirty their clothes and a washer and dryer to clean them. I have dishes in the sink because we're nourished every day and despite our financial challenges, we have what we need.

I long for a moment in the bathroom alone, for a shower in peace. I haven't had that experience in ages because I have a boy who loves his mother, who misses me desperately when we're apart, even if just for a moment. I have older children who know I'm there for them, all the time, no matter what, even when I'm tired or cranky or wishing silently to pee in peace.

Tomorrow my hands will itch and burn from accepting the bouquet of an eager young boy, handing me handful of poison oak leaves as a beautiful gift while I recited the rhyme in my head, "Leaves of three, let them be." He was trying, in his tiny way, to honor his mama on this special day, and through the inconvenience… can I even see that? Can I see the gifts of this day through the cloud of entitlement and disappointment?

Can I see them lined up one by one, the gifts I longed to be free from for just one day? If I had gotten my wish to break away from all of this for some sought after peace, what would be better than these signs of life? A few minutes of sleep? Another necklace in my jewelry box?

How about an opportunity to kiss the little blonde head while snapping plastic buckles on the car seat, to teach my bickering children about forgiveness, to wipe tears off skinned knees, to show grace to my husband who works hard and loves well? When I'm feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed, always on…will I miss the gift of honor here, will I forget that it is pure gift to get to do these things, that I can do these things?

I still want a nap, a massage, someone else to do the dishes for a change, but I will tear metaphorical paper off the gifts disguised as inconveniences today, rejoice in them and in the Giver, and hope I am better behaved tomorrow.

Linking to: www.aholyexperience.com {technical difficulties preventing me from adding the link-up graphic}


  1. I totally understand. Justin is not usually great with gifts or holidays (I am not joking when I tell you that one year I got a "Happy Valentines Day to my Husband" card because he had waited until 6pm on Valentine's Day, and that was all that was left). Yesterday was no exception--I felt like all day I was doing this dance between being upset that my one small request for the day wasn't fulfilled, and recognizing the good that DID happen nonetheless. It's a dance of knowing that my feelings were hurt, but wondering if in the big picture, if it's really worth mentioning...

  2. Celebrating that choice with you today--the choice to sacrifice your wants for His blessings. The hardest roads to live are the ones that bring us to Him. If it were easier we'd skip right by Him. Praying you peace as you dig deep into the choice for gratefulness, friend. 

  3. Oh Meredith, that somehow makes it so much better. I know we have great guys but it's hard not to wish for a little more appreciation sometimes, a bit more romance or thoughtfulness for all our efforts. Glad I'm not alone but yes...encouraged to try and look on the bright side and to count my blessings rather than allow the bitterness to take hold. :)

  4. "The hardest roads to live are the ones that bring us to Him." Yes, indeed Amy. Thanks for your words, friend.

  5. Well now, I'm sorry to say that you and I had much of the same day...and, ended up in the same place.  I'd like to present myself to you on better terms, but I can deeply appreciate your struggle as I bumped up hard against my misaligned expectations for Mother's Day.
    Here's to lots of kisses on small blonde heads, knees free of scrapes, and knowing the way to love your husband to the full-
    Blessings on your heart and home!

  6. Oh, Cara, I am so sorry -- and yet I am also so humbled by your choosing to see the Father's gifts, love, and glory in the  toilet clogs, itchy rashes, and laundry piles.  Super powerful and beautiful, friend.

  7. This is strong and tender.  And this is a place that is familiar.  Know that you have touched a heart today with your unfailing love.  Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. I stopped over from Ann's.  And I am glad I did. Sometimes I long for the day when I can release my expectations 100 percent to Him, and just be surprised by the all that He has has.  Sharing with you today gives me strength and hope. gratitude here.


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.