Today was rough. Not the worst we’ve ever had, and not entirely unusual, but worse than it’s been in awhile.
From school pick up at 2pm ‘til I put them to bed at 7:30, it was CHAOS. This is an incomplete recap of our afternoon and evening. Yes, yes, there was more.
2:30-5pm Temper tantrum, wailing and gnashing of teeth (literally), rending of bedding, “I’m getting a new family,” “I want a new mom,” (one kid), while the other was talking incessantly about two new friends she made at school in between getting upset about the other one being upset and responding with verbal abuse to said other child. Temper tantrum regarding the fact that I let sister play with old (not connected) iPhone while she played with BRAND NEW KINDLE FIRE she owns because she won it in a library raffle. Said electronics were confiscated for the evening. It was a downward spiral from there.
5-7:30pm. More crying, fighting, bickering. “Can we go play with our new bouncy balls in the field behind the house?” Yes, please. Stay where you can see our house. Husband walks in door from 12 hours at work at almond harvest, to eat dinner and leave again, and I turn around and they are out of sight. I run out into the 30 ACRE field. Nowhere to be found. I hear a blood curdling scream, still can’t see anyone. After screaming their names myself, I see Annie running to me, “Amie’s stuck”. I run down our row of houses backing up to the field, to what would be the OTHER END OF THE BLOCK and there is Amie, holding onto a fence crying and screaming like a banshee because HER SHOE IS IN SOMEONE’S BACKYARD. I retrieve shoe. I retrieve children and dog and dolls and bouncy balls.
Walk back. Tell girls to play in back yard. Feed husband. Try to talk to husband. “I want water.” “You can wait. I’m trying to talk to Dad.” Look out the window. She is filling a cup of water from the pool. I decide I don’t care. Until she drops said cup and decides to stick her head UNDER THE POOL COVER to try to grab the cup. Fails. Decides WHAT THE HELL and throws 3 cups, a plate full of paint from painting earlier (I won’t say how many days earlier), a fairy house from painting unnamed days earlier, and a chair. Literally all in one minute. I head out and make her clean it all up. Walk back in, husband has finished food and is gone.
I had actually been a trouper to this point. Used my “don’t mess with mommy” voice, but didn’t yell, didn’t spank, held at appropriate times, and held firm at appropriate times. But this time, I cry.
I tried to explain that their bad choices literally took the 5 minutes we had with Daddy today away from us, and that our tired Daddy came home for a little rest and food, and got CHAOS. Annie, “I’m sorry, Mommy.” Amie, “Are you still my mom?”
Are you still my mom. She knew it was a rough day. She knew she had crossed several lines, and her fear was if she was still mine.
In my tears, I got down on her level and looked straight in her eyes and with everything in me, said, “Yes, yes, yes. I am and will always and forever be your mom. No matter what you say to me, no matter what you do, I am your mom. I chose you. YOU ARE MINE.” Annie wanted forgiveness, but Amie wanted to know her place in my heart was secure.
Wearily, I got them both to bed. (T shirts and dirty faces and tangled hair and no brushing of teeth this night and I don’t care.) I did threaten big trouble if there were any nighttime wanderings. I don’t think I could be held accountable for what I may do if I were to have to parent any more. I made myself a stiff drink (don’t judge) and sat by the pool in the cool of the evening. Out came the stars, and right in front of me, the Big Dipper.
I have looked out at that constellation many an evening - particularly when we lived in Washington, I would go out on our balcony each night and look at it a few minutes while listening to the frogs sing in the creek nearby. It always makes me ponder God’s greatness, His bigness, and His faithfulness. It’s always there. He’s always there.
As I looked this night at the Big Dipper so large, so close, framed by the perimeter of our fenced back yard, I thought of Chris Tomlin’s song, “You are Amazing, God”. He sings, “You placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name, you are amazing, God”. I was reminded again of God’s great love, and God’s great faithfulness to me. He is bigger than behavioral problems. He is bigger than chairs in the pool and messes on the floor, and dinner thrown in the trash. He loves me and has chosen me and I will always be His. He is faithful to me in this calling he has placed on me to be these children's mommy. He is faithful to them, to call them to a higher purpose, and to love them as they are. He chose them, literally pulled them out of the muck and mire of their former homes and gave them a firm place to stand with Him and with us.
And maybe, as I parent them, in a day like to today, and with all my heart can say, “Yes, yes, yes, I am your mommy forever no matter what!”, I will be able to help them get a glimpse of God’s faithfulness, His everlasting love, and their eternal belonging to them. His choosing of them. That, my friends, will make it all worth it. For now, I’ll be happy if they sleep all night. I’m off to do laundry and bed, and love them more tomorrow.