Several cans of soda came home with us from a party the other night. I don’t ever buy soda or have it in our home, but letting them bring it home was easier than the sugar-powered battle that would ensue. I know, I was pansy Mom. A very TIRED pansy mom.
But I have to laugh about my disdain for soda. I am the health nut that cites the evils of sugars and processed foods, then whips up a batch of brownie cookies for them (us). Yes, from a box. I’m a confusing teacher at times. But soda, well, you’d think I live in New York by the way I ban it from our home.
So the next morning before school, the cans were sitting on the counter. By watching him, you would think my 7 year old has never had 7-Up before. He was asking if he could have some, (seriously, before school), and holding it like a treasured possession. Until he could no longer caress it because apparently it was too slippery. Any idea how far 7-Up explodes when dropped unopened? Here in this house, we now know. It was all over me, the ceiling, and really, everywhere imaginable. “At least it wasn’t Dr. Pepper,” he said, “that would be REALLY sticky.” I was mad…. I tried to handle things with grace and gentleness, and that slipped, too.
So began our mad rush to get out of the house to get the kids to school and me to work on time. And in our family, I try to teach the kids to pitch in and help out a bit, (any amens on that one?). So in that spirit, I asked my 10 year old to carry my chocolate, blueberry and spinach smoothie out to the car. It was healthy. And very dark.
When I settled into my seat, I notice a mud or something else soaked towel shoved between the rails on our deck. Upon investigation, I discover that over half of my breakfast was on that towel. Or so I thought. I soon discovered that much of it remained in her seat. At least it wasn’t mine. But she wasn’t going to tell me about it until I got into the car.
We were late for school. Accepted. But all semblance of grace was gone. Replacing it was anger and something way beyond frustration. It is a good thing I don’t swear. *Much*. In the car, I couldn’t speak. Didn’t want to. It was safer not to… But as I drove, God began to whisper in my ear, and I tried to brush away the voice like a stray hair. And being the ever patient loving Father that He is, He just kept whispering. Until I took a deep breath and began to speak.
I apologized for losing my temper. We discussed taking responsibility for our actions, (I startled Brody, so it was my fault he dropped the can, and Barrett shared how she could have handled it better, such as letting me know what happened and doing her best to clean up the mess). And I had to make it clear that even if I was frustrated and angry, I was responsible for my attitude, tone of voice and losing my temper. We all talked about our respective responsibility in the debacle, how we could handle it differently it there was a next time, and asked for forgiveness.
God led me to share with them that no matter how angry or frustrated I am with them, I love them no less. No mistake they make reduces my love for them. Just as God is with us. I think He must watch our folly with a bemused smile at times, and other times He must be like someone waving a lantern at a runaway train, hoping we will heed His warning of danger. But we can never be removed from His love, no matter how badly we crash our train. After this, there was a palpable release of tension and hurt, replaced by restoration and forgiveness only God can supply.
I know God allowed this all to happen for a poignant lesson. So I found myself very, very grateful to be dropping them off late, for having children to shepherd, for a loving whisper in my ear. Grateful for ears to hear, though they often need hearing aids, for towels to clean up sticky messes, and for half a breakfast.
With peace and joy,