Yesterday was going so well. Despite the fact that we were all still dealing with lingering illnesses, we needed to shake off the funk and clear the cobwebs taking up residence in our brains. After dropping the eldest off at kindergarten, I took the little three to the local coffee place for bagels and coffee, partly to kill time before preschool, mostly for a little treat.The boys were so well behaved. They told me when they had to use the bathroom, they stayed (mostly) in their seats. They used napkins appropriately. We finished up and made our way to school, where they went happily to their classes. Frances and I headed home, her snoozing the hours away... I cleaned! I did laundry! I worked on prints! I had a quiet time!
It was, like, miraculous.
Smooth sailing continued through lunch and nap time - the boys totally agreeable, falling asleep nearly effortlessly and taking naps so long I had to wake them up to go pick up their brother. It was like angels were smiling down on us, and I gave myself a little pat on the back for the easiness of the day and all that I had accomplished before 3pm.
In fact, because behavior had been so stellar, I rewarded all the kids (minus the baby, obviously) with little bowls of ice cream when we got home.
As day turned to evening, things began to crumble. I realized I didn't feel as well as I'd thought. The crankies started to emerge from the littles, Lute was exhausted from a long day of kindergarten, Frances had come upon the witching hour, and Nick called to tell me his nine hour day was actually going to be eleven and he'd be home after bedtime.
And just like that, the amazing day that I reveled in was becoming a fleeting memory.
We ate our dinner, and as I cleaned up the boys went to play in the living room. Things seemed fine until I heard a loud thud that was clearly the sound of a little body crashing into the hardwoods. Seconds later a high pitched wail that let me know it was serious. I ran into the room to see blood pouring from George's mouth and nose, after he'd apparently tried to climb on top of his Little People car wash, which didn't seem to work out too well, since it sent him face first to the ground. After I'd cleaned him up and made sure his teeth were still in tact, I sat him on the couch with a popsicle to numb the pain and went upstairs to change Frances. Which is when Lute came barreling up the stairs to let me know Eddie had helped himself to a popsicle after I'd told him he'd have to wait until tomorrow since he'd had his fair share of treats.
At that point I knew it was time to wrap things up and get them to bed before I lost my marbles. Turns out it was too late for that, since fighting the bedtime battle on my own means I usually end up the loser. After too much "no not those jammies, I want the ones he's wearing", pushing each other off the stool to fight for the sink while brushing teeth, 812 uses of the toilet after already being put to bed, the 47th glass of water, the jumping from one bed to the other, the laughing and shouting and arguing and moving one culprit to the spare room, I was ready to lock myself in my room and let them fend for themselves.
And then the sound of the key in the door, the sound that brought relief and resentment as I was happy to hand off the chaos, and mad that Prince Charming was going to sweep in and rescue the three punks from the evil Dragon Lady and smooth everything over with a few soothing words that would surely lull them to sleep and erase all their troubles.
Tears welled in my eyes as I handed Frances to Nick and went into the bathroom to shower off the weight of the day. I cried and I prayed. I cried because I was so mad at myself for losing my cool. I was mad that after a pretty awesome day filled with happy moments, what my kids would likely remember was their mom yelling at them to stay in bed or else. That at 34 years old I still struggle with controlling my temper and emotions, that for as cool and collected as I think I am, I'm really not. I cried it out, I prayed it out, gave it away and asked for the help I know I need.
And then I left it in the shower. His mercies are new all the time - every morning, actually. It was a pretty tangible reminder that I can't do this parenting thing on my own, apart from Him. It seemed an appropriate reminder as we enter into Lent - a time to draw nearer to Him in prayer and sacrifice, that as I lean into Him, He can make me new every day.
I came from dust, and to dust I will return, but in Him I am a new creation. Thank goodness.
And as I went in to give George an apologetic snuggle before he fell asleep, I told him I was sorry for getting so mad and that I loved him. "It's okay, Mom. I wuv you a wat too." Turns out his mercies are new every five minutes, and I am thankful for that, too.