We are low on coffee, so I am forced to shop.
Maybe we will go to Kohl's too so I can spend my gift card from Christmas.
We attempt an early start to town... but then the van won't start.
(Eldon thinks there's an acorn in it.)
So, I'll take my husband's car. But I can't find my keys.
We waddle up to his office to get his, where I leave my coffee behind. (Precious coffee!)
I load the boys in the car, and realize I cannot drive a stick with this stinkin' boot!
And no, Eldon, there's not an acorn in daddy's car, too.
Forget it, boys, just forget it.
And so they don't cry, I give them a hose, and I call it a morning.
I skip morning snuggles to make french toast, because we are out of everything else.
I tell the boys we're going to town for the morning. I plan a grand adventure for us. I put on my sense of humor, tell myself to embrace the chaos and to enjoy walking at toddler-pace, and off we go.
The van starts, but it's raining.
I am determined. I grab umbrellas. (yes, Marcus, I got your Spiderman one for you.)
On my list: Kohl's, Walmart, and maybe the indoor playground if they are good. I imagine myself feeling accomplished, sipping coffee while they play. I imagine them eating chicken nuggets in the van on the way home, and then all boys taking a long, wonderful nap.
I realize that I went to the wrong side of town first. I'm pretty sure Kohl's doesn't open until 9.
We get gas.
I look at my list and realize I could skip Wal-mart and go to Target and Aldi's instead.
I'd probably save us a few dollars that way, too.
They won't stop touching each other.
Someone gives my standing-in-the-cart son a worried look. I tell him to sit and he ignores me.
I shorten my list, a little.
I've given too many orders, too many unheeded. My blood is not boiling, but it is starting to simmer.
I mentally scratch Kohl's from my list, but try on a few dresses at Target.
They join me in the dressing room. They have a face-making competition in the mirrors, then they almost knock the flimsy walls over.
I find nothing I like, though it might have something to do with the boot I'm wearing, and the frazzled look on my face. I give up on dresses.
I cut the rest of my list in half.
Someone runs through the clothes. Someone throws something out of the cart. Someone got hurt, again.
I'm trying to make them scared enough of me to obey without sounding mean enough to be reported.
It is not working.
I decide I don't really care if we save a few dollars at Aldi's.
I would probably cut off my hair if it meant we could find everything we need at Target and just. be. done.
I can't find the caramels for Aggie, but I see that Target now sells wine.
Or did God just put this here for me, for this very moment?
Checkout lady offers pity. "In a boot AND three little boys? You poor dear."
Each boy is squirming on a separate square on the floor while I pay.
I am glad the cashier didn't offer stickers. They do not deserve stickers.
"NO, you are not getting treats, are you kidding me? Sit down and let me buckle you."
I think to myself, "How can they go from raising holy hell in Target to being passed out in the van in 2 minutes! This does NOT count for naptime, boys! No-siree!"
We are home, and it is raining, hard.
The two-year-old begs for an umbrella. I get him out of the van and give him the umbrella. He promptly decides he is incapable of holding an umbrella, asking for help, or even walking in the rain. He throws the umbrella and screams about getting wet. I direct him to the porch, and he falls to the ground, screaming.
Apparently, a little rain destroys this child's ability to function like a human being.
I turn on the TV while they grab random items from the grocery bags.
I let them eat said random items in front of the TV because I can count it as early lunch.
Forget adventure. I just wish my couches had seat belts.
(Oh yes, there was some yelling through all of this, especially once we were home.)
An hour later, because God is gracious and merciful and not even little boys can cause trouble forever, they sleep. I pout and complain and repent, a little.
"Mama I get up?"
Oh no you don't. It's still naptime, boy.
I snuggle him quickly, and he falls asleep again.
Commence hallway happy-dance.
"Mama I waaaaant you!"
His eyes are full of sadness because of my betrayal.
I crawl back into bed with him, ready to resign myself to a nap.
"I yub you," he says, with arms around my neck so I can't escape. He burrows his head into me, and his pillow smells sour. I roll on to my side and face him.
"I won't leave this time, honey. Let's snuggle."
A tiny sigh.
He removes his arms from my neck, but then he pus his hot little bare legs over me, on top of my hip.
As I lay in his loving warmth, the fist of my heart melts.
Slow breaths, prayer, blankets, and quiet surround us.
For no reason, his eyes open, wide this time.
He sees me relax and he giggles.
"Get up now, mama?"
Yes, little one, I am ready now.
I put him on my hip, that sweaty little boy.
He is sweet and sour, like motherhood.
A refreshing moment,
but not enough to sustain me for the rest of the day.
That afternoon surpassed the morning in frustration, and yes, yelling- theirs and mine.
They sap me of my ability to function like a human being, and I react like an angry two-year-old throwing a fit in a rain storm.
This vocation is ridiculous, impossible, wonderful, and terrible.
And I long to bring grace and gentleness into this whirlwind life, but so often I am simply tromp on everybody and make lots of noise.
But, they still love me. And I love them. And we'll wake up tomorrow for another day of this.
How terrifying. Wonderful.
I am exhausted and blessed.
Do you relate?
This day inspired my previous post: Yelling on my mind.
God, help me love more and yell less.
Grant me a gentle heart.
Grant me a gentle heart.