FROM APRIL 2012
Here’s a peek into my non-working Thursday, a day in which I found out that Ann Romney, mother of five and wife of one who is in the news quite a bit these days, was referred to as "never having worked a day in her life". Well, that same day, I tried to fit in Days of Our Lives and sitting on my tush staring blankly out the window, but somehow I just couldn’t make it happen.
Kyle had a follow-up surgery for his lip injury/surgery from last year which I wrote about here. Afterwards, he and his big, fat, sutured lip came home and slept for 3 hours during which time I’m sure I did something like lay down on the floor and stare at the ceiling because there was not a thing to be done in this house in which I try to keep five human beings alive, clothed and loved. He woke up simultaneously starving and nauseous and dizzy. He looked at me with fear in his eyes and a pale face when he felt he would pass out and I had the easy job of carrying my 11 year old to the bathroom. He is rather small for his age though, so no biggie. I finally got him settled on the couch after he got sick and put another sterilized gauze pad on his lip and gave him his medicine and put an ice pack together and made him a mint chocolate chip milkshake.
When Drew got home I told him I would make him a milkshake, too. At sometime before I got his made, he threw something downstairs because he was mad about something. Like crazy mad. Like cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs mad, as my friend, the lovely and talented Mrs. C. would say. I told him to go upstairs and calm down and stop throwing things for about 10 minutes and then we’d reconvene for a milkshake and homework. He screamed and cried and kicked and lost his ever-lovin’ mind and was yelling at me, “GIVE ME A MILKSHAKE NOW! and YOU’RE NOT FAIR! and EVERYONE IS SOOOOOO MEAN TO ME!" Then he stomped upstairs, kicking a few things along the way and slamming doors. He also took a picture of the two of us when he was a baby and threw it on the floor.
I felt really great about my parenting skills at that point and I prayed for patience and for the good Lord to keep my head from exploding while this tantrum went on for about an hour and a half. Just when I thought he was going to need to be sedated, he came down, a red-faced mess of snot and tears, and climbed on my lap. (Snot and tears mixed with blood and vomit from his brother on my fancy stay-at-home-rich-mom wardrobe, by the way.) We talked about his behavior and respecting his mother and compassion for his tired, recovering brother and blah, blah, blah.
He said, “Can I have my milkshake now?”
And I said no, that I wouldn’t be doing the right thing if I gave him a milkshake after that little horror show he just performed. I talked about how God had given him to me and I had to do the right thing because he was my most important job in the world and no matter how cute and sweet he was now, I just could not give him a milkshake. So he
About thirty minutes later I was sitting with Kyle wondering where I went wrong and pondering taking some of his prescription Tylenol with codeine. Then I heard shuffling steps and my sweet, precious, suddenly mentally stable, youngest boy came downstairs and handed me this:
I know you can’t see it, but this is what it says:
Mom I Love you. I am so sorry. I put the picure back up of you and me I am sorry for scearming and crying. Now don’t think I am just doing this for a milk shake you are the best mom ever for this one time can you love me J
I know, right? The tears came then, big and fat, rolling down my cheeks, mixing in with all the other snot, tears, blood and vomit. Then there were big hugs and me looking straight into his blue eyes to remind him of what I’ve said to my kids a million times before (which probably means we’ve had millions of tantrums by both children and mommy): that even when Mommy is mad, she loves you so much her heart could explode as much as her head could explode when you act like a complete maniac.
I told him this: “You know when it’s cloudy and rainy and you can’t see the sun, but you know the sun is still there up in the sky? That’s how mommy’s love is. Even when my face is angry and sad, my love is still there." (I totally stole that from a children’s book and I can’t remember the name of it, but I think it was by Dr. Laura…you can steal that, too, if you wish.)
Then he went and got his homework notebook and came and sat at the table with me. He had a post-it note on his shirt that said “I LOVE MY MOMMY.” He gave me a post-it note to put on my shirt that said, “I LOVE MY BOY”. So we sat there with our post-it notes on our shirts and practiced double digit addition and spelling words with the ou and ow pattern. And there was forgiveness and grace and absolutely no milkshakes.
PS Dear Ms. Rosen,
Hi. Most of the moms that I know – the full-time working ones, the part-time working ones, the stay-at-home ones, the wealthy, the middle class, the poor, the Democrat, the Republican – we don’t play that game anymore about disrespecting each other. I am quite aware that my life is really easy compared to a lot of moms. There are many in this country and in my own neighborhood who work much harder than I do in and out of their homes. I know you’re sorry to those that you offended. I heard that even the President and the First Lady were offended and that’s gotta hurt, huh? If you really want to make it up to us, I could let you plop right down in my home in the midst of a redheaded-7-year-old-championship-tantrum and see how much work you think that is. Whaddya say? I’m kidding and you know why? The moms of the country will forgive you because most of the moms that I know? We are well-acquainted with giving grace and forgiveness...even when it’s hard. Hard work, that is. Have a blessed day, Ms. Rosen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go get a milkshake and sit down and read about the economy in The Washington Post. I really hope I’ll be able to sound out all the big words.