Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In your catharsis, do not sin

I woke up in a funk this morning. And tired. Stayed in my pajamas, didn't want to see or talk to anyone all day long. Which is terribly unfortunate considering I have four very small children who demand to be seen and heard. Usually all at once. All day long.

I had not done laundry since Thursday, and in this household, that is never a good thing. The pile of dirty and evermore putrid clothes seemed to be growing like a blob in a science fiction movie that wanted to take over the house. I just needed to tackle it. All a woman dreamed about was folded laundry put away in appropriate drawers and closets. Such small dreams. And yet so unattainable.

Walker threw his back out somehow yesterday. So he worked from home today, despite my warning that Tuesdays are noisy. I like it when he works from home...kind of. I kind of don't. Because it is frustrating for him to be here, but not be here. Especially when I am the grouchy mean pajama mom who really could use some help.

I tolerated my children all morning. I did not play with them, I did not enjoy them. All plans of making banana bread and playing in the sprinkler evaporated as I tolerated them, and they tolerated me. I did let them fingerpaint, as a sign of my benevolent tolerance. Aside from that, I brooded and folded laundry and they watched way too much TV. I don't think I have been this checked out since I was pregnant with Ingram.

We all made it without any casualties until about 4:45pm.

Maggie had awakened from her nap in tears, which is her new habit. Suddenly, the easy going Maggie is freaked out by transitions and it is now typical for her to cry and whine from naptime till bedtime. Ingram was fussy as well, and Shepherd has begun throwing tantrums to make a two year old jealous. In addition to that, he is going through a normal four year old stage of realizing that his words have power, and can be used to unleash ugliness into the universe at will. Fun revelation when you're four. And Eva Rose, well, Eva Rose is Eva Rose. She has always been my most challenging one. Today was no exception. So now, grumpy Mommy has four grumpy babies. No good can come of this.

And none did.

The babies had been satiated momentarily by food and the big kids were playing in the backyard. Only they can't just go out there and play. They have to go out, then come back in for a toy. Then go out, then come back in to tell me something. Then go out, then come back in to tattle. The go out, then come back in to ask for lemonaid. Ad nauseum. And each time they come in, I call "Shut the door!" in a futile effort to keep my home from swarming with mosquitoes, because it is now effectively summer in Texas and they are on the prowl.

I was standing in the kitchen, listening to both the babies fuss over something, when Eva Rose came back in for the umpteenth time. And left the door open. And then it happened.

Mommy lost it.

I yelled. I yelled as loud as I could. "SHUT. THE. DOOR!!!!!!!" It felt good. Really good. So I yelled it again. "SHUT. THE. DOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Eva Rose burst into tears and howled. Maggie howled. Ingram howled. If we had a dog, it would have howled.

And the marketing manager on the other end of Walker's conference call interrupted the conversation regarding how desktop sales will affect this quarter's P&L to ask, "Whoa, what was that?"

Five minutes later, my husband came from his office/bed with a perplexed look on his face. "Are you ok? What the freak? Go. Just go." I gladly slunk to my room and crawled into his former office and pulled the covers up high. After ten minutes of Judge Judy therapy, I was drowning in guilt.

How many times have I disciplined Eva Rose for talking ugly when she is angry? How many times just today? And just the other day, I discussed with Shepherd how it was ok for him to get angry, but he had to learn to control himself when he did. "In your anger, do not sin" I had told him. And then I completely lose control. What kind of hypocrite am I, quoting scripture at my child that I don't even obey? How can I possibly expect my children to learn from my words when my actions are so utterly deafening? How am I not going to pass down this sin to them? Oh, I should just give them all up for adoption. They deserve a mother so much better than I am. How many times have I prayed over this? How many times have I asked God to help me with my temper? WHEN am I going to get better at this? And will it be too late? Are my daughters going to yell at my grandchildren like this, thanks to me?

I slunk back into the family room where Eva Rose was sitting on the couch. I cupped her face in my hand and said "I'm so sorry I yelled at you baby girl."

She immediately grabbed me and hugged me tight. "Oh, I just love you Mommy!"

"Do you forgive me?" I whispered into her neck.

"Um hm. I'm going outside now to play. Bye Mommy!"

And that was that. Forgiven. She was over it. Moved on. She had forgiven me and moved on before I had even apologized.

I have certainly never forgiven anyone so quickly. Maybe she won't inherit all my sins.

So maybe I need to forgive myself now. Because, tomorrow, is another day.

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