Love is, indeed, all around

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.


  1. Brigid

    I needed all those bits of love before I head off to pick-up my kids and grouse at my husband.

  2. elizabeth

    family is the best. happy love thursday. =)

  3. Kelly

    Oh gosh that brought tears to my eyes. You are raising two wonderful kids over there, and you are pretty & shiny! :)

  4. Lylah

    This post is one to come back to over and over. Sometimes, you have to see love — not just hear the words — in order to defeat The Cranky…

  5. Debbi

    Your Monkey post made me cry. Their love for us is just amazing!! My Bubby did something similar recently and completely melted my heart and I cried. I can’t wait to go hug him now :-) Happy Love Thursday to you and your family!

  6. Pamela L

    This was wonderful!! I needed it too because I have been quite cranky of late and I need to remember the good stuff.

    You are a wonderful mother with wonderful kids – Thanks.

  7. Mama Goose

    Wow. I think that snapped me out of my grump! How is it that kids can still love us and say such sweet things even when we act our worst? Love, love, love. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Aimee

    Aw… I so look forward to Love Thursday! It’s true, you know. You can’t stay cranky forever. I’ve tried!

  9. ashley

    Wow! Happy Love Thursday!

    Thanks for this post. I needed it.

  10. el-e-e

    Another one brings me to tears. First bite of pie. WOW.

    happy love thursday, Mir!

  11. Lee-ann

    yes, love is good, and appreciating the love is good, and sometimes the cranky is telling us something, too! Lovely post!


    I just finished mid term exams at culinary school. Reading that gave me my first grin of the day!

    Much-needed grin, at that.


  13. khubb


  14. Lady of Perpetual Chaos

    The Monkey story made me tear up. I always love your Love Thursdays! Maybe when I grow up I can put my feelings into words as well as you….maybe. ;o)

  15. erin

    I know where you ate! That’s my place with my fiance…I love Love Thursdays.

  16. Heather

    That just about made me cry. :P Gosh.
    Very sweet.
    Love Thursdays are awfully hard on me ;)

  17. annette

    I feel like that with my family as well. I am not sure I wold love me as much as they do.

  18. MomCat

    I’ve been waiting for that all day. : ) Thank you!

  19. Megan

    Is there a patron saint of computers and digital photography? Because if not, I definitely have a candidate. Darn, Google informs me that there is already a St Otto who was Bishop of Bamberg. He may have been alliterative, but I’ll be he couldn’t fix a computer AND know when a wife needs a good, long, relaxing bath.

  20. JennyM

    Wait… is that a unicorn?

  21. Michele Bardsley

    Would you please clone Otto? I’m willing to hand over kidneys and whatnot for one.

  22. Angela

    Thank you! I needed that.

  23. Jess

    I’ve had my own cranky days lately, and this made me cry.

  24. Kelly2

    Can Webster’s fit that in the dictionary next to love?

  25. megs

    You definitely brought tears to my eyes. It is so easy to complain and look over all that is good in your life. Thank you for making me thankful even during the crazy times!

  26. Flea

    Happy Love Day, Mir. :)

  27. Fabs

    Once again you made me cry. Thank you though, because it is a good cry.

  28. Melisa

    Happy Mother’s Day to one of the best ones out there.

  29. Keesha

    We’re in the middle of moving and as a result I have been wallowing in the cranky this week. My family met me at a restaurant on my dinner break today and we let the kids order desert, which is a rare treat indeed for our family. My 3 1/2 yr old son got hot fudge cake and instead of aggressively defending it against attack (as usually does when he gets dessert), he spooned up the whipped cream and offered me a bite. It made me tear up, as did your very similar tale of Monkey and his dessert. Little boys can be so trying, but also unbelievably, heart-meltingly, sniffle-inducingly sweet sometimes!!!

  30. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck

    I had a day like that last week, and I was so upset over everything and nothing. My 4 y.o. daughter drew me a card that said “U Ir May Sunchan” (translation: You are my Sunshine). She sounded it out herself. It was the best gift ever. And my 2 y.o. son told me, “You my best fwend”. Its hard to be cranky with love like that around me. I’m glad to hear your family is helping you find some happy, too.

  31. Love Coach Rinatta

    Awww, Mir. Such a sweet post.

    Today I was very cranky because I could not get a technical thing done that I had worked on all day. Then my little boy danced into the house, handing me a flower he picked for me. I melted. And smiled.

  32. Rick @ Tiny Prints

    My wife and I just enjoyed reading your post and enjoyed it thoroughly. There was more than a teensie bit of deja vu mixed in:)

  33. mama speak

    you know what Mir. You need a dog. No, seriously. I get the cranky too. Big Time. But one of the best and easiest things to do to get over the cranky is to go out w/your dog. Throw a ball or go for a walk, or even if outside isn’t an option, just let you dog come lay next you & nap together. Something about them just lowers your BP & helps put it all in perspective. Not that Monkey & Chickie aren’t a good substitute. (I think they’d like it too.)

  34. Headless Mom

    Really, really good, Mir. We’ve all been there (THE CRANKY), and thank goodness for those in our lives that love us anyway.

  35. ingrid

    how wonderful… thank you for this post.

  36. Paulla

    Lovely stories – and what better mother’s day gifts than these? :)

  37. dad

    You should frame your last paragraph and put it someplace where you can’t help but notice it every time life throws you curve.

    You’ve come a long ways baby.

  38. Tracy

    I hope your next days are more blessed than the past. Hang on to those kids and keep them close. Soon they will be out of the nest and you’ll have only yourself and that wonderful Otto close! Feel better SOON!

  39. Brigitte

    Aw, you’re making me verklempt!

  40. Katie in MA

    The lady who has it all: a devoted husband, funny and loving kids (who SHARE THEIR DESSERT!), and every mood under the sun, and SHINY NEW APPLIANCES! Woot! Who’s da woman? You are!!

  41. Suzannah

    I was pretty grumpy last night, mainly because I was hot from working out and the fact that my husband won’t turn on the A/C. I was kinf of crabby with the boys, and my eldest (12) said “Mom, are you tired?” And I said “No, I’m just hot, and that makes me grumpy” And he said “And when you’re grumpy, you get tired, then you go to bed and when you wake up you’re not tired or grumpy anymore.” And my youngest (6) chimes in with, “I think that’s her life cycle.” I totally cracked up. Grumpiness diffused.

  42. Rebecca

    Oh, Mir. I am so glad to read this post. Thanks. :-)

  43. Liz@thisfullhouse

    Aaaand they are very lucky to have you, too. I’m just sayin’ Enjoy your weekend!

  44. Nicole

    Wow. I am pretty impressed by “Mama, would you like the first bite?” That’s love, right there. I’m lucky if my kid lets me eat the dessert he drops on the tabletop.

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