I am ashamed to say it. I became “that” mother today. That mother that yells at her children, that puts the house ahead of her child, that cares more about shoes than her crying preschooler- and that finally strips her child down to her birthday suit on the front door step and carries her screaming to the waiting shower (that looming cavern of fear for most preschoolers I have encountered). That mom who then slams shower doors and later on leaves the house in her husband’s care, all while muttering under her breath that “she is going to lose her mind” as she runs toward the doorstep. Yup. That was sadly me today. I became that mother I despise- the one that is a basket-case and has one precious nerve left. Of which, it just so happens that last nerve just got stepped on. And so now she has none.
That woman, dear reader, is me. I am sadly “that” mother.
I am standing beside the downstairs bathroom sink, watching a cleaning bucket fill up with sudsy soap bubbles. The bucket has been prepared for the express purpose of keeping my floors free of the muddy river clay stuck to the bottom of my son and husband’s feet, by which they will wash off their feet in the warm water and then dry off with a towel. The boys are just getting in from a boat ride up river, and have now towed the vehicle out of the water and into our driveway for safekeeping overnight. Boating adventures are over for another day. The pending rain has so far been kept at bay, but the sky looks ominous. We had planned to go for an evening boat ride to cool off, but perhaps the rain will take the humidity away for us instead. Here’s hoping…
As I watch the water rising in my red utility bucket, my youngest daughter slips into the house and calls me from the doorway. “I have to use the washroom,” she states matter-of-factly. I hear no urgency in her voice, so I allow myself the second or two that it takes me to turn around and walk from the bathroom to the entryway where she stands. As I walk out of the washroom and toward her, I see between us the six or seven bags of groceries I still have not put away, along with the four pairs of soccer cleats, the various shin pads, jerseys and soccer shorts lying helter skelter everywhere, and I silently remind myself that this room is next on the list for a complete end-of-the-day overhaul.
In that ten second interlude in which I walk from the bathroom to my daughter, she has decided she cannot hold it for one second longer, and when I reach her, she is peeing on the shoes.
All over her soccer cleats, my son’s Adidas sneakers that he bought with his own money in North Carolina (won’t he be impressed), and over top the various sandals and shoes that happen to be strewn everywhere. I feel like things are moving in slow motion, and I yell at her to ‘stooopppp’ all while making a gigantic lunge toward her small frame. She is in no condition to stop the process that is already underway, so instead I scoop her up, all while insisting that she stop in the name of time this poor decision to pee anywhere other than the toilet (or in dire situations, outside under the tree…which is what she should have done, come to think of it), and then we two proceed out the front door.
She is crying at this point, but I am in no mood to simmer down. I keep up the tirade. I am merciless. I strip her down to her birthday suit, carry her back into the house, over top the puddle that has formed on my entryway floor and on into the bathroom, where I shove her into the shower and turn on the water, full blast.
I move away from the scene to collect myself. I am still fuming. Not only has this little inconvenience added another job to my ever-growing list, but there is the small matter of my daughter to deal with. And she is currently screaming at me from the shower.
“Mommy, mommy, mommy?” she yells out. I assure her I am right here in the room next to her, but she is not appeased by the sound of my voice. I start to sift through the various grocery bags with melting ice cream and other perishables within, and as I am trotting downstairs to the freezer, I hear my daughter calling me again. She is no longer in the shower but running naked and dripping wet through the entryway looking for me.
I think I am about to lose my mind.
I am “that” mother, at this point. It is not pretty, nor am I proud of my decision. In fact, I will wear my shame like a trophy all evening and into the night, when I confess my sins to my husband and later still, to God. And the next morning, I will try to make up for my grievances by cooking a big breakfast for everyone, complete with bacon and eggs, which I will bravely endure even though I hate the smell of bacon in my hair for the rest of the day. And as I calmly sip my coffee and survey the peaceful faces of my family, this is what my precious daughter will say: “That’s funny! Last night was the worst night ever and this morning is the best day ever,” as she happily eats her scrambled eggs on toast. She will beam at me, and I will be unable to help but say thank-you to God for inventing forgiveness. For Father, I have sinned and been forgiven all in one short stroke of life’s paint brush. And for that I am grateful, oh so grateful.
And my daughter, the clearest example I have of how sweet forgiveness really can be, is the one I have to thank for that.