Please forgive the repeat of whining. I had to write my article for MOPS this week, and I could think of no other more appropriate subject.
And thank you, by the way, for being the arms of grace for me. I’m feeling much better.
Late last week, I threw a little fit. Just a little one. Just to vent a little frustration.
OK, so it was a big one. Huge. I was Grouchy Mom of the Year. I really wanted to throw things. But I didn’t. I just fumed.
That’s the difference between a 3 year old tantrum and a 35 year old tantrum. We get older and we learn to internalize. Then we get high blood pressure and heart disease. Maybe we would all be better off if we just threw things.
My fit was a direct result of my children’s public misbehavior coupled with my husband’s upcoming 9 day trip to Vietnam. He gets to go save the world, one eyeball at a time, and I stay home and deal with poop and peanut butter and soccer practices.
I needed a good fit.
In the middle of my fit, I cried out to God, I can’t do this! I don’t WANT to do this! If I’m going to get through this, You’re going to have to help me. I really, really can’t do this.
My husband – bless his heart – tried to make it better. He humbly (and very carefully) offered suggestions to make his absence a little easier. The payment for his services was a Very Dirty Look.
I went to bed grumpy, woke up grumpy, and let my computer keyboard take the wrath. I wrote an entry on my blog that morning about how unfair life is with travelling husbands and wild animals disguised as children. Taptaptaptappitytap…backspace, backspace, backspace, TAPTAPTAPTAPPITYTAPPITYTAP!
I still didn’t feel better. So I went to Costco. Costco always makes me feel better.
I came home with two chick flick DVDs, a large bag of almonds and a large box of mini cinnamon rolls to ease my pain.
I still didn’t feel better.
Driving home, my phone started to chirp and croak like a South Florida swamp, which means my best friend is calling. Every time I hear her assigned ring, I think my car is about to break down – until I realize the chirps and squeaks are coming from my phone and not from under my hood. I originally selected that ring because it reminded me of our lakehouse vacation together last summer, but considering how many times I’ve had a near-panic attack when she calls me, I’m considering a change.
So we talked. I whined, she reassured. I grumbled, she empathized. I cussed, she laughed.
And I laughed.
I just love her so much.
When I got home and put away my goods, I turned on my computer, fully expecting some cowardly, mean anonymous comment about how I need to get over myself and get some perspective and quit whining. (I really hate those cowardly anonymous comments.) Instead, I had an inbox full of love notes from my sisters-in-arms who know what it’s like to be a single mom – temporarily or permanently.
Breathe, they said. Run a tight ship. Don’t push yourself. Keep dinner simple. Keep the house clean in order to maintain some semblance of control. Put the kids to bed early. Watch movies. And, most importantly, eat chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Decadent desserts seemed to be a common theme among them. You can’t argue with that. I stocked my freezer with 4 pints of Ben & Jerry’s and one pint of Blue Bell. (You think I’m kidding?)
They reminded me that the definition of grace is God’s empowering to do what we cannot accomplish on our own. Grace allows us to be who we cannot be and do what we need to do.
I had begged God for help. I told Him I couldn’t do it, and I melted into a puddle.
He heard me whimper, He saw my desperation, He knew what I needed. He reached down with the words and arms and voices of my sisters, and He picked me up. Grace emerged in the form of Facebook comments, blog comments, emails, and phone calls. The sisterhood pulled me up to my feet, dusted me off, and kept firm hands on my back to support my wobbly legs. They turned my head to hear the words of truth, warm on my face like summer, and once again, I could take a deep breath.