Part of the cycle I have trouble with, when I’m feeling wretched, is that it’s pretty rare for me to lose sight of the fact that I’m being ridiculous.
I mean, I feel crappy. I don’t like feeling crappy. But I have a roof over my head, a beautiful family, a pretty awesome job, and nothing of substance to complain about. The fact that I will complain, anyway, is proof of my unworthiness as a human being. Which makes me feel more wretched. Which makes me realize I’m being stupid. Which…
Well, you get the idea.
The fact that my family loves me anyway is concrete proof that grace is amazing—because Lord knows I did not earn it. I’m trying to be worthy of it, but even when I fail, well, it’s amazing. Period.
A few days ago I sat and cried about my frustrations with EVERYTHING; the kids, work, the color of the air. You name it, I bitched about it. And my husband sat with me and held my hand and let me do it. He didn’t argue with me or try to fix everything, he just let me vent. And then later he offered a few suggestions. And the next day I took him up on one of those suggestions (“Ask for help”) and asked him to make dinner, and he did, without complaint. And later on he helped me with a project to the tune of spending an hour on the computer fixing it while I soaked in a hot bath.
Had our positions been reversed, I probably would’ve said something like, “Well I hope you had a nice bath, because I’ve been slaving away on this.” Well, I’d like to believe I WOULDN’T have said that, but I definitely would’ve THOUGHT it. Otto, though, just asked me if I felt better and showed me what he’d done. Because he loves me.
We took Monkey out to dinner while Chickadee was off at a party, and because we’d been out and about running errands and because it was a Saturday night, we ended up eating quite late, at a restaurant quite a bit nicer than where we’d usually go. The same child who can melt down over a popped balloon sat quietly, only mentioned once or twice that he was ready to eat now, and gratefully gobbled down eat bit of bread I passed to him while we waited for our food. He was delighted that their “mac and cheese” involved spinach tortellini (fancy!), gobbled down his jumbo shrimp, and tasted and smacked his lips over my seafood etouffee.
When the waitress asked if we needed dessert, his little face just looked so hopeful, I couldn’t resist (even though it was late). He ordered a piece of french silk pie with profuse thank-yous to me and Otto, and then when the waitress brought it, he raised his fork in anticipation. And then he paused.
“Mama?” He asked. “Would you like the first bite?”
Yeah, he leaves his dirty socks on the floor and sometimes he has selective hearing and sometimes he’s mouthy. But I haven’t been any prize myself, lately, and still he loves me.
When I picked the kids up at school the other day, I was not exactly peppy and charming. We had to go turn in something to Chickadee’s teacher, and then work our way back out to the car. As we walked, Chickadee threw an arm around me and said, “C’mon, Mom, you can’t be cranky FOREVER!”
“Oh yes I CAN,” I countered. “My life! It’s AWFUL! TERRIBLE!!” I was kidding, of course, and hoped that Chickie would recognize her own drama in my sweeping arm gestures and tragic tone.
“Oh, Mama,” she sighed, patting my arm. “Sometimes my life is terrible, too. It’s okay.” I looked at her, and she looked at me, and we burst out laughing. And then she kissed my cheek; my gangly, almost-middle-schooler, who had just the previous day PRETENDED I WAS INVISIBLE because I dared to talk to her in front of a friend, kissed me outside the school, in front of everyone. Because I needed it, and because she loves me.
When I really stop to think about it, it’s pretty hard to sustain The Cranky.
I am loved. I am lucky. And that’s more than enough.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone.