Sunday, January 3, 2010

Never Too Late

Much like the alleged shuffle function of my iPod, my brain has been stuck lately on a single track. It is a sad song of regret for opportunities lost: opportunities to do right by my kids, to demonstrate healthy adult responses to everyday stressors and model the importance of remembering what is important. No matter how I pray and beseech the Lord for more patience and sufficient energies to get everyone fed, dressed and to the park, I find myself yelling at everyone to hurry, hurry, hurry so that we can make it to Wal-Mart before naptime.
Yesterday, en route home from the Post Office, where I stamped 70 Christmas cards that had become New Years letters, the big kids ran back and forth between my stamping station and the drop box, carrying fistfuls of greetings and feeling so proud of themselves for being so dang helpful. It had been a trying morning and the enthusiasm and cooperation of the Post Office event melted the icy crust of my grouchy heart. So, as I buckled everyone in, the first happy feelings of the day and the Starbucks card from Santa that had been weighing down my pocket propelled me to spontaneously offer that we celebrate a new start to the day with hot chocolate. There was much rejoicing.
And so I entered Starbucks with my three children, my good sense accidentally sent down the mail shoot and on its way to California with the holiday cards. I ordered drinks and Moses kept watch over our table, yelling repeatedly and with increasing volume, “I found us a ‘pot, Mom! I found us a duud, duud ‘pot, Mom!” I hadn’t even finished telling them how much I enjoyed celebrating our new start to the day before they wanted the lids off. Cups were tipping; fingers were covered in whip cream. Sarah chastised me for forgetting to ask for water. “This hurts my tummy. You were supposed to ask for water, Mom.” Moses and I tug-o-warred over assertions by him that he could get the lid back on by himself and threats from me as to what would happen if his adorable lip didn’t get tucked in on the spot. I fought to keep everything but a few bits of pumpkin loaf out of reach of the baby, who tossed those expensive bites on the floor for Sarah to step on as she wiggled in and out of her chair. I looked at my watch. It was only 10:30.
The distance between Starbucks and home was just long enough for Michael Franti to save the day again. We had been listening to an older album, one with a song about starting over. It is a song Sarah especially likes and she sang along as we drove. Somewhere near the top of the hill she yelled up to me, “Its never too late for me to lay my head down on your shoulder, Mom. Its never too late for me to come on home.”
I choked down my frustration, agreed to the truth of our musical friend and thanked the Lord for the reminder. If nothing else, they will hopefully learn grace. Grace to start over, for the third time, at 10:30 in the morning. Grace to know it is indeed never too late, that our Heavenly Father has the power to make each breath new, ensuring that there are indeed enough minutes to get this thing right. Grace they can observe as God soothes Mama, comforting her after she skins her knees again over the same rough sidewalk she insists on using to carry her children to and from each day.

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