Back in my early twenties I used to have Bad Hair Days. You know, the days when absolutely nothing seems to go right? Now that I’ve moved on to my early thirties, I have Bad Mommy Days. Those are the days when absolutely nothing seems to go right and mommy has a breakdown.
Tuesday was just such a day. The morning had gone fairly typically for a Tuesday around our house. Because we live in a rural area, we try to make Tuesdays our “go to town day.” I teach some classes in the evenings at a performing arts studio in town, so we can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I take the kids in to town around mid-day, run all the errands that need running and when my husband leaves work we meet at the studio where he takes the kids off of my hands and I spend the evening teaching and learning.
Another thing we do pretty routinely is stop at the Sonic Drive-In for mid-afternoon refreshments. I prefer their fresh-brewed iced tea and their “happy hour” specials of half-priced drinks make stopping there a delicious AND economical choice. We had just left Sonic with our drinks in hand, including my huge 44 ounce tea when I decided now was the time to get some money out of our savings account at the credit union and take it to be deposited in our checking account at the bank. Driving away from the credit union I took the one hundred dollars they had given me in $20 bill increments and laid them across my lap, thinking I would pull into the bank parking lot and fill out a deposit slip before heading through their drive thru.
Things often get nice and cozy in our little single cab pickup truck that the kids and I take to town. My daughter sits next to the door and we squeeze in my son’s booster seat between us in the middle section. My son, who is getting close to that wonderful age of two, loves to see how many buttons he can push on the dash before mom pulls her hair out. Yesterday, he had decided to repeatedly kick the cup holder that swings out of the dash. I had repeatedly explained to him that this was not acceptable. Now, as we drove toward the bank he took the opportunity of my driving and not having total attention placed on his actions to swing his little foot up and poke a 2 ½ inch hole in the side of my foam Sonic cup.
The entire FORTY-FOUR ounces of iced tea began to pour out of the cup all over the truck – into my purse, into a bag I keep my drama class supplies in, into the diaper bag, all over our shoes. I went into panic mode. I couldn’t stop the flow of liquid and I couldn’t stop the car in the middle of the street. I was finally able to pull into a nearby parking lot and get the offending cup out of the vehicle, but by that time quite a few things in the cab were soaked. I began to pull things out of my purse and try to salvage them. Then, I ran around to the other side of the truck and began trying to dry things off on that side. In the meantime my daughter said to me, “Mommy, your papers are blowing out over there. Mommy, your papers!”
With my patience already having been pushed quite far, I answered her a bit testily. “Okay. Thank you.” I did a quick scan and saw that some of the credit union deposit slips I had just picked up were blowing across the parking lot. I figured I would deal with that later after I had saved other, more important things from being ruined. During the time all of this was going on, I was giving my two year old a harsh talking to, explaining to him that his having made a hole in mommy’s cup was completely unacceptable. It sounds nice when I type it out here, but what I was really doing was yelling at the poor boy.
After I had everything sopped up I looked down at my tea stained pants and shirt, checked the clock and decided I had just enough time to head over to the department store and pick up a new outfit before I had to go teach. I hurried the several blocks from where I was to there. As I pulled into that parking lot, I realized that the six $20 bills that I had been carrying in my lap were no longer with their accompanying deposit slip. Oh no. “N—–!” I spoke my daughter’s name sharply. “Was the money some of the papers that were blowing away!?!” Looking at me warily she answered, “I think so…”
I immediately made a U-turn and headed back for the original parking lot. Driving back in a huge hurry I ranted and raved about the fact that I couldn’t afford to lose the money. My poor daughter, thinking that I was angry with her, began to cry. “I’m sorry, Mommy! I’m sorry!” Realizing that my anger at myself was clouding my judgment, I let up off the accelerator and tried to calm my daughter down. I assured her that she had nothing for which to be sorry and that, in fact, she had attempted to tell me that my papers were blowing away and had then been rewarded with a surly thanks. I apologized for my ranting and told her that I was in fact quite angry with myself for having panicked and possibly lost the money.
When we arrived back at the first spot, I spotted a $20 bill right away. I jumped out of the truck and retrieved it. I actually ran all over the parking lot and found all $100! It had blown here and there, but it was all still right there in that parking lot. As I picked up each bill, I prayed, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, God! Thank you!”
Breathing deeply and trying to calm myself down, I drove with the kids back over to the department store. I told them we really had to hurry now, so that mommy wouldn’t be late to her job. We rushed in, I quickly found an outfit to buy and we hurried through the checkout. I picked my son up out of the cart he was riding in and ran out to my truck, figuring I would change clothes at the studio.
I got to the truck and began digging in my purse for the keys. They were not there. I couldn’t find the keys anywhere. At this point, I was on the verge of tears. I called my husband, explained the situation to him and asked if he could pick me up at the store and take me to the studio so that I would not be late. I figured we would just have to find my keys later. He said he would head my way. In the meantime, I hustled the kids back into the store and searched all the shopping carts by the door to see if my keys had fallen into the cart as I picked up my son. Finally, I thought to go to their customer service counter where the kind lady handed me my keys. Whew!
Now, I could finally make it to the studio. I checked the time and thought I was going to be five minutes late from the time I normally arrived, so I called the studio owner to let her know I would be running late. She said she would let the parents know. I dashed across town and pulled into the parking lot at five minutes after four pm. As I pulled into the parking lot I realized that, although I do normally arrive at the studio at four to prepare for my class, I do not technically have to be there until four-thirty when the class starts. I was not actually five minutes late, I was twenty-five minutes early!
This was not the first Bad Mommy Day I have had since my daughter was born. I am sure it will not be the last. Yesterday I was compelled to look at what many call “The Love Passage” in 1 Corinthians 13. I realize that I failed miserably in loving my kids yesterday. Here’s a list of the ways: I was not patient. I was not kind. I was rude, self seeking and quite easily angered. I was not protecting, trusting or hoping. Yesterday I failed. I had to apologize to my husband and children yesterday for my failure. But, I am so incredibly grateful that God, who is Love never fails! I am so grateful that He can Love my kids and heal their wounds. Even the ones that are inflicted by me. If that is not a humbling mommy truth, I don’t know what is.