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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Silly Story and a Serious Link

I have a very silly story to tell you that will lead me to a serious article that I think all mommies (and the daddies, too, if you are out there) should read.  First, for the silly:

Let me set the stage.  It was the fall of 2004.  A few "big" things were happening in the life of our family, not the least of which was that I was literally very, very big.  Joe, my oldest, had just started "big" school (kindergarten).  The Boston Red Sox were trying to win the American League Championship over the Yankees in order to head to the World Series to try to pull out their first World Championship in 86 years.  I was about 112 months pregnant (give or take) with Drew.  I had been staying up every night watching the games go into extra innings and last late into the wee hours of the morning with my die hard Red Sox fan husband.  I know I was not myself because at one point during game 6, I had propped myself up on my bed on my side with 3 pillows strategically placed so that I could pretend to be comfortable when suddenly the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez tried to cheat.  If you don't believe me, you can read about it HERE.  I was not in my usual, classy, composed state because when he did that, I jumped up off my bed, putting my unborn son in jeopardy and yelled something really unladylike at the TV.  I'm pretty sure my husband who was downstairs might have blushed when he heard me and then probably thought about calling his friendly All-State agent since there was a good chance there was going to be some structural damage to the house.  I'm not proud of myself.  I'm just setting the stage so you know what my mental state was like at that time.

Anyway, during that same week when Joe came home from kindergarten, I noticed he had a little paper bracelet on his arm.  Here is what transpired:

Very Pregnant/Slightly Comatose Me"What's this, buddy?"

Kindergartner Joe "Oh.  They put it on your wrist when you forget your library books."

Startled/Shocked and Confused Me"WHAT?  No, no, no...I put your library books in your backpack this morning."

Kindergartner Joe"Oh, you did?  I didn't look in there."  (Goes back to eating his lunch)

Dangerously-Close-to-Meltdown Me"YOU DIDN'T LOOK IN YOUR BACKPACK???!  WHY NOT???  WHY NOT???  WHY NOT??? "

Kindergartner Joe"I don't know.  I guess I forgot."

Full-on-Unraveling-Fumbling-through-the-LL Bean Backpack-That-I-Had-Embroidered-with-His-Initials-Because-I'm-Such-a-Great Mom Me:  "LOOK, JOE!  HERE THEY ARE, RIGHT HERE, WHERE I PUT THEM!  BECAUSE TODAY IS YOUR LIBRARY DAY, WHICH I WAS TOTALLY AWARE OF BECAUSE I AM COMPLETELY ON TOP OF THINGS IN THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW AND I AM  TOTALLY READY TO  HANDLE HAVING A SIX YEAR OLD, A 3 YEAR OLD AND A NEWBORN.  TOTALLY, JOE!!!  BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK IN YOUR BACKPACK ON LIBRARY DAY!  YOU HAVE TO!"

Kindergartner Joe:  "Ok, yeah, next time I will.  Can I watch Tom & Jerry?"

I do think that I had some recognition that I was coming unglued then because I switched on the TV and went into the other room to begin my meltdown.  I sobbed with my head in my hands picturing the scenario that was occurring at the elementary school right then.  I just knew the kindergarten teacher was sitting in that teacher's lounge discussing poor Joe and his irresponsible mother who probably was out selling the school library's copy of  Curious George Goes to the Zoo to support her meth habit.  They'd probably already called in the social worker and were dialing Child Protective Services.  I called my husband at work and started spilling my story in between sobs and gulps of air. He, to his great credit, remained calm and did not tell me that I was a raving lunatic.

He said something, totally my-husbandish, like:  "Hon, this is what I think.  I think you're just like the Red Sox bullpen.  You're completely tapped out.  You've been up late every night and you need to go to sleep. No problem, I'll be the relief pitcher."

I know.  That is so annoying, but somehow I figured out that in regular-person-speak that meant that he was coming home early so that I could take a nap.  God bless him and his stupid sports analogies.

Minutes later, my friend, Kelly, brought Kyle home from preschool.  When she saw me and the mess that I was, she gave me a big hug and told me she understood how I was feeling and that I wasn't  a bad mother and I wasn't crazy, I was just way too pregnant. To her credit, she also held very tight to 3 year old Kyle's hand and didn't let go until I told her that Steve was on his way home and I was going to be able to take a nap.

Anyway...that is a silly, ridiculous story about a small mistake made by a 6 year old child that made his mother go into a downward spiral of despair.  But what made me think of that story was when I recently re-read one of the most powerful and not-so-silly messages I have ever read on the web.  I have mentioned this blog before.  It is written by a Catholic, home-schooling mom.  I am neither a Catholic nor a home-schooling mom, but I have learned an enormous amount about faith and parenting and family and trusting Him from reading this blog  [plus we sometimes get to hang out in the bleachers together at basketball games and she's fun :)]. This article in particular reminded me that in small ways and in not so small, our children are going to make choices and go down paths that are not as benign as being irresponsible about their library books.  We are going to cringe and cry and fear that we have not done our jobs right.  We are going to find fault in ourselves. 

In this article, Elizabeth writes:  "Children - even carefully raised children - grow into adults with free will.  Every choice a child makes is not a reflection of his parents.  It's a reflection of that child's own relationship with his Creator.  God isn't finished yet."

That is just a snippet of the immense wisdom you will find in this article.  I am going to keep it very near.  I have a feeling I'm going to need to read it many times over for many years.  Go HERE and read it.  Trust me.

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