Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pay Attention... This Doesn't Happen Often

This morning was a disaster for many reasons. Purslane was awake at 430 and in bed with us, Knox started fussing at 515 and joined us in bed to nurse and.. not fall back asleep. After a few minutes of fussing, Grant picked him up and took him down to the couch, where I assume they watched Sports Center until one or both fell asleep. Either way, I didn't hear anything from them until 7.

Pursy, on the other hand, was wide awake and wanted:

Yo Gabba Gabba on your phone (Netflix on my smartphone)
Poop on the potty
General mayhem. Exhibited by flips and jumps that belong in a beginners 4H horse competition at a county fair.

Over and over and over until I was beyond frustrated. I just wanted. to. sleep. By myself. With no one else. I actually think I offered an entire bag of gummy bears at one point if she would lay still for 5 minutes. Fortunately she forgot. Not that she kept her end of the bargain either.

By the time 630 rolled around, I was just mad. Not frustrated or sleepy or a little grumpy. The sort of mad that interprets every action done by the people around you as a personal and very unjustified attack. I was a victim of my husband and children. They hated me and chose this morning to passive aggressively show me just how much. Grant got out of the shower and accidentally used my towel- he hates me.  Knox puked down my shirt right inbetween my boobs- because he hates me. Pursy was already in the doghouse with me but when she jumped off the potty before I could wipe her and got a drop of urine on the seat- hate, hate, hate.

I actually got both children downstairs alive and close to the table to begin dolling out breakfast food. And while I was grabbing a handful of Cheerios for Knox, Pursy found a ballpoint pen and scribbled on one of my brand new placemats.

Stop smiling. Those placemats symbolized something more then a place to eat. They were a sign that I have not given up. I have not yet hosted a dinner party and set out laminated maps of North America because they are easier to clean off then linen. My plates are red stoneware which are gorgeous and impractical. They chip easily and are difficult to match mats and napkins with. So when I found these khaki linens with red birds perched on brown branches, I bought them. In a world full of sippee cups, dustbuster acting as vacuum cleaner and cheese stick as quick appetizer- these table linens symbolized to me that I was still a classy broad who could set a killer table.

So when I saw the placemat turned 2 year old art canvas, I did what any mature, loving mother would do.

I grabbed that mat and the other 5 out of the drawer and smashed them into the garbage can. I then burst into tears and walked out the front door to cry on the front steps like a character from a Woody Allen film.

And here is the beautiful part of marriage. My oftentimes more volatile husband when it comes to issues involving children, sleep deprivation and childish behavior- turned into a calm but firm presence. He took the mats out of the garbage, put Pursy in her high chair with some food substance in front of her, and came to collect his hot mess of a wife. He stood me up, put his arms around me and pulled me close until our noses were almost touching. I thought he was going to kiss me gently and whisper words of empathy and love.

Instead he stared me straight in the face and said "Christy, it is time to pull it together".


So I did. I fed the children, dressed them and myself then put us all in the car for Thursday morning Bible Study. We had a great morning and after lunch, I put both babes down for a nap. Alone in a quiet house with a soft rainstorm outside, I started to think about things. Life in general and this morning in particular. I thought about how it is possible to love two little people so much and still get so angry at them that it justifies an adult temper tantrum. And I looked at the mat covered in pen scribble.

And I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that Pursy had created a piece of art that will not rip, fall behind the fridge or smear paint on the rug. She will never again draw that picture or create that scribble- whatever it is. We have a permanent reminder of what she was like at 2. And that changes so quickly. I look at pictures I took 6 months ago and marvel at how she has changed.

I was given grace. Grace in a husband who had the balls to look me in the teary face and tell me the hard truth. Grace to recognize that I have two gorgeous children who make my world go round. Grace to look at that placemat and not feel anger or frustration about some idea about what my table linens say about my self worth. Grace to put the placemat back in the drawer and smile thinking about the next dinner party where I put those mats on the table and tell the story about the day Pursy drew me that picture.

I think I might be seeing the manifested answer to a prayer I have been sending up since the day Pursy was born. Prayer for patience and wisdom. Not perfect obviously, and a bit delayed but maybe next time this peaceful feeling will come at 630 and I will give Pursy a hug instead of the cold shoulder.


  1. i love you and your words. thanks for sharing these little (yet really big) moments. <3

  2. wonderful example of oratio! More on Sunday....blessings, sam+