Mother of the Year - A Mother's Day Tale
Yes, I'm not bashful. I'm just letting you know. And why am I mother of the year this time? (Oh yes, I have deserved this award many times over, by the way.) Let me just tell you a little Mother's Day story to help you see why I deserve this honor - yet again.
Just this week, Isaiah and I had a wonderful afternoon that included copious amounts of baby powder on the living room floor, spread around generously by my sneaky three year old while I was attempting to make dinner.
When I discovered that he had emptied 36 ounces of baby powder on the living room floor and was swimming in it, I did what any good parent of my generation would do... I took a picture of it. Then I followed some very small baby powder footprints up the stairs to see what my daughter had gotten into, as she was also way too quiet. It turns out that she was emptying a package of diapers onto her floor to accompany all of the clothes from her dresser that her brother had already emptied on the floor. So again (like any good parent), I took a picture. I sighed, took Annika downstairs, and took one more picture of Isaiah and Annika practicing the backstroke and assigned myself to cleanup duty. Sigh.
Out comes the vacuum to sweep up the baby powder. Because it should be noted that water plus baby powder equals a paste like consistency that sinks into cracks in hardwood floors and won't come out. Trust me, I know. When the vacuum came out, the poo hit the fan. Isaiah (after not taking a nap that day) freaked out because I was cleaning up the mess. Like started screaming, yelling, shutting off the vacuum, and generally throwing an angry tirade BECAUSE I was cleaning up the baby powder. I hadn't yelled at him for dumping baby powder, I hadn't said anything at all to either of the kids for the gargantuan messes that they had made. In fact, I figured that it was my fault for making dinner so late after they were already hungry. Or perhaps I hadn't given them enough tactile learning opportunities lately, and baby powder on a hardwood floor is just what their curiosity needed.
But when Isaiah freaked out, I lost it. I was furious that he was freaking out at ME because I was cleaning up HIS mess. Furious, angry, mad. I grabbed him, put him on the stairs (probably rather roughly), and told him he was in time out. He continued to cry, scream and yell, at the top of his lungs, and began slamming the gate we have at the bottom of the stairs open and shut. He has done this before, but when he threw the gate down the stairs, I went off the deep end. I screamed, picked up the gate and threw it on the floor. Then I took him upstairs to his room and slammed his door. Three times. I angrily walked downstairs and continued my cleanup with the vacuum on to try to drown out the screaming, crying and banging coming from his room.
I was so furious at the whole situation. Baby powder all over the hardwood floor, in the cracks, and fine baby powder dust all over the furniture, area rug, and sofas. I was trying to not freak out initially, and was honestly worried that baby powder in their lungs was probably a health risk, and needed to be cleaned up ASAP. But I let the kids play in it a little bit (again, maybe I missed the boat on tactile learning opportunities as of late). It wasn't just the mess, but rather the mess plus Isaiah's reaction that had me furious. I had tried to count to three and breathe deeply in the midst of the baby powdered living room, but I was still seeing red. And in my anger and frustration, I behaved badly.
After Isaiah freaked out in his room alone for a few minutes, and I got most of the mess contained (I have a feeling I'll be finding baby powder in the living room for weeks), I had to talk to Isaiah about his behavior and my over reaction. I had to apologize to Isaiah for freaking out. Because while Annika didn't seem to notice or care that mommy was acting like a madwoman, Isaiah certainly knew. He cried harder when I threw the gate on the floor and I could see the look of fear in his eyes. Mommy guilt welling up. I sat him down and I told him I was very sorry for acting the way I did. I was sorry for getting so angry, sorry for throwing the gate, and sorry for slamming his door. Three times. And his reaction to my apology? He said, "Mommy, it's okay," and gave me a huge teary hug. Just like he always does when mommy tells him that she's sorry for her sometimes crazed reactions to the very typical antics of a very typical three year old.
Just like that. "Mommy, it's okay." Spoken calmly and with the utmost trust in his mom. In me, the angry, crazy woman throwing gates and slamming doors. And the hug. My sweet little three year old boy couldn't wait to rest his head on my shoulder and hug me tight. He longs for our relationship to be right, and to love on me. So short is his memory of my transgression, he won't be holding a grudge against me tomorrow. So complete, yet simple is his forgiveness.
The forgiveness of my little guy gave me pause. It was such a beautiful picture of a much larger truth. Isaiah's was so quick to forgive me. He was so sincere and complete in his forgiveness. He just wanted to be okay with mommy, to hug me and love me and have me hold him. He didn't want to nurse a grudge, hold on to his anger, or make me jump through hoops to make him feel better.
Do you see the bigger picture - the picture of the forgiveness of God? We come to Him, admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness, and, through the sacrifice of Christ, He richly and freely forgives and forgets. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven freely, completely, and have our slate wiped clean.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
He forgets not because he has the mind of a child, but because he chooses to forget (Jeremiah 31:34). His forgiveness is instant and complete, with no strings attached. He longs to be in a right relationship with us, not wanting to hold a grudge or hold on to his righteous anger at our sin. What a beautiful big picture!! Thank you Isaiah for helping your momma out!
The rest of the day wasn't perfect after my lightbulb forgiveness moment. Isaiah threw a fit over dinner, and a fit after dinner about needing a bath. But that's how motherhood - and life - goes. It's messy, it's frustrating, and it's amazing all at the same time.
So yeah, maybe you guessed I really wasn't mother of the year. And I never have been. If anything, I've been nominated for anger management classes. I'm not perfect. I'm not even close. But I'm forgiven. I'm working on this thing called humility, trying to set my pride aside for long enough to know I need to ask for forgiveness, even if I need to ask my son. And I hope that maybe someday at least in my son's eyes, I can be the mother of the year.