The Terrible No Good Very Bad Day (And How It Got Better)

Yesterday was one of those days, a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

It was only 7:07 am when I had 3 kids standing in front of me shrieking tears and lamenting about their unjust lives.

The day didn’t get any better from there.

I know my children didn’t set out to make my life miserable, but it felt that way yesterday.

All day long, I wallowed in my failures and instead of responding, I reacted to…everything.

While I was working with MB, the four other kids engaged in a wrestling match that involved catapulting over obstacle courses and extreme door slamming.

(Imagine teaching a math lesson while Armageddon happens on the floor above you.

It’s nerve wracking, I assure you.)

Christopher, Camille and MB full out sprinted through the house, embellishing their “athletic” accomplishments with ear-piercing shrieks of laughter.

There was a war over the Legos.

There was a war over who got to go first at the bathroom sink, who got the purple cup, who owned the stuffed (and tattered and filthy) tiger, and who taught Camille how to say potty words.

My fully bathroom-trained Camille pooped in her pants.

She also emptied an entire shelf full of books, just because she could (though she’d tell you it was because she was “reading” them).

Christopher used the (dirty, dirty, dirty) plunger as a weapon and broke it.

Instead of putting things in the proper place, the kids just dropped everything, everywhere all day long.

I know I’m not alone or special because I have to deal with zanny kid behavior.

Any mom in American, I’m sure, can relate.

But, for some reason, yesterday I had more trouble than usual handling the normal day-to-day antics.

If you had walked in when I was in media meltdown res, you might have wondered which person was the parent and which was the child.

I wondered the same thing.

I had just finished feeding everyone dinner and cleaning the kitchen, when the kids saw John’s car pull up after 7:00 pm.

Perhaps they were glad to see someone other than the resident Wicked Witch of the West, but they all ran to outside to greet their dad as soon as they saw him.

Meaghan and MB dazzled him with their artwork and Patrick chattered non-stop about some weird animal factoids he read in his National Geographic magazine.

And Christopher and Camille ran around in excited circles shouting, “Daddy!

Daddy!” in order to get his attention.

Me?

I quietly slipped out of the house and onto my front porch swing.

I pulled out my book.

I sat in the quiet.

I noticed the birds chirping and I listened to the loud buzz of the chain saw up the street.

I tried to still the chaos I had felt all day.

Eventually the mosquitoes became too aggressive, so I made my way back in.

I found John reading One Fish, Two Fish by Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss to Christopher and Camille and they looked so happy and engaged, cuddled up next to their Dad listening to him read.

Camille was counting on her fingers and prattling about the blue fish.

Christopher was correcting her.

It was like I was in a different house.

Everyone was calmer, less rattled.

I went to start a bath for myself when Meaghan came in the room.

“Mom, Dad hung the glow-in-the-dark nightlights we got for Christmas. Wanna come see them?”

I followed her and sure enough, a glowing representation of the Earth and Moon lit up the dim room.

Those nightlights--which have been sitting in the box since December--were finally hung and illuminating the wall.

The kids were so happy.

John finished reading to the little kids and then he started The Wizard of Oz with the bigger ones. By the time I got out of the bath, the house was dark and quiet.

The kids had fallen asleep and I had gained a little perspective.

I snuck into their room, I gazed at them sleeping, and I thought about how tomorrow, I would try again.

"Let us know how to remain calm even when others around us act in a manner that seems erroneous and unjust.  We should clearly do what depends on us to help them, even to see that they are reproved or corrected, in line with the potential responsibilities that we have to assume with regard to them, but everything should be done in gentleness and peaceWhen we are powerless, let us be quiet and let God act.
How many people lose their peace because they want, at any price, to change those around them!  How many married people become agitated and irritated because they would like their spouses not to have this or that fault!  The Lord asks us, on the contrary, to bear with patience the fault of others."

 --On Patience Towards Others from Searching For and Maintaining Peace