Anybody? Does anybody have days like mine yesterday?
I don’t know, but I’m still feeling fuzzy this morning even after a seven hour sound sleep. Is this what Lazarus felt like when Jesus called him forth? A bit fuzzy and stiff and maybe a bit stinky? Just sayin!
Let’s see if I can remember it all in order . . .
I start my day, nice and quiet, praying and reading and writing with steaming cup of fresh ground and brewed Kenyan coffee beside me, looking out my window from my upstairs perch. And then the dog barfs. Joy of joys! Now THAT makes me want to eat breakfast. NOT!
Halfway into my rather lengthy, record-breaking-number-of-words blog post, my laptop crashes—just goes haywire nuts! And I’m thinkin’—WHAT!? This is a tribute to our daughter—and this stupid piece of equipment decides to go on strike?! Bound and determined, I write it again.
It’s only 6AM.
Horses get fed, teenager gets roused, and we actually get out the door on time for a change. We drive a half hour to tutoring. I’m sitting there, nice and quiet once again, and I get up to fetch something. Down from a silken thread drops a spider, just like in Charlotte’s Web, and I freak out screaming. Systematic desensitization failed this arachnophobe many times over and I still get a stabbing sensation in my ear every time I see these eight-legged creatures. I HATE SPIDERS and I see no use for them other than to torture my nervous system. Plus, I have REALLY curly hair and I’ve had a few traumatic experiences through the years with insects—like the time a bee flew into my curls piled high on my head (probably thinking it was a new hive or something) and got caught. I don’t know who was more terrified—me or the bee. In the process of trying to help it find freedom, the poor thing slipped out three stingers, plunging them all into my thumb. I’m sure the bee died soon after release, for if bees have hearts (do they?) it must have burst.
Back to the spider. So after screaming and running into the bathroom and slamming the door, I could hear my teenager laughing and saying, “She ALWAYS does this!” to his tutor. He’s right. I do. I can’t help it, honestly! So he steps on the spider and tells me it’s safe to come out and then makes fun of me because the spider was really, really small. True. But it doesn’t matter. If it has eight legs, my limbic system takes me hostage and my involuntary emotions rule!
So now it’s 11 AM. We drive back toward home, stopping to pick up Anna for work. It’s a beautiful day, sunny and near 70, a shocker for Wisconsin. We enjoy the moments, knowing they too shall pass soon. Some say, “If you don’t like the weather in Wisconsin, stick around five minutes because it will change.” Sadly, it’s true. Our sunny, perfect day, turned cloudy and rain moved in within a couple hours. THIS is why our closets are stuffed with clothes around here and we get so little done! We have to change outfits a billion times a day just to keep a steady body heat! OK, I admit, the weather stresses me a bit. But who wants BORING like my friend in Scottsdale, Arizona where it’s sunny, like ALL the time, and her closets have only a quarter of our clothes!? Um, MEEEEEEEEE!
I leave for lunch with a good friend who’s leaving Thursday for a six month stint in Colorado. Half way into our meal, we realize we’re the only customers in the restaurant. Then they start appearing, one by one, like the birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie. I’m recognizing faces, but they’re different. Then I realize that, one by one, the entire restaurant staff is congregating in street clothes, surrounding us as we try to eat in peace. The only working waitress leans over and whispers in my ear that they are about to have a full-staff meeting to go over the new menu. No rush, of course. Really? I’m not THAT dense even though I did just get a few blonde highlights thrown in for summer! Interpretation of her smooth whispered words? Hurry up, pay the bill, fork out a nice tip for me, and get out of here! REALLY? It’s 2:00 in the afternoon! Who DOES this? We take the hint, wolf down our tiramisu, and leave.
I go to pick up our teenager’s Tuesday friend—he comes over every Tuesday for tacos. I get home and the dog wants to play. I want to sit. She rebels and takes off with my husband’s other slipper, the one she hasn’t chewed, and starts in. She’s just plain naughty. I can see the gleam in her eyes and the “just-try-to-catch-me” look on her face as canines sink in. I wave my hands in the air and say, “Go for it!” turning my back and walking away. This is NOT what she expected. I’m too tired to care.
The house is trashed. Papers all over the counters, books stacked like Italy’s leaning Tower of Pisa, dirty dishes overflowing from the sink, crumbs on counters and floor. Was I just made to be a MAID?
Teenagers get a bright idea and they want me to collude with them. They find a leg brace and crutches left over from our daughter’s surgeries several years back. Wouldn’t it be cool to concoct a story that Nick, our son, crashed the Moped and tore a ligament and needed surgery? Oh yes, this is going to be good!
Our nineteen year old son comes home from work and the fun begins. He comes running upstairs, finds me, and wants to know if it’s true. I tell him it’s something Nick and his friend made up, but please go along with it because they’re having fun. And Zach starts in . . .
“Where’s the Moped? Where did he crash it? How bad is it? Was he goofing around? I’ve told him not to drive wild on that thing!”
I tell him it’s all made up—a joke.
“Yeah, I know. But how did he crash the Moped? Where is it?” He’s indignant. He hates it when Nick drives wrecklessly.
“Um, it’s a . . . JOKE! It didn’t happen!” I try to hammer through thick skull again.
“THE MOPED IS FINE! THE WHOLE THING IS A J-O-K-E!!!!!” I sort of raised my voice in exasperation. OK. NOW he gets it.
It’s almost time for dinner and I’m trying to finish up some way overdue email responses and coach Zach on how to find a doctor’s phone number in the yellow pages so he can arrange to have a new prescription called into the pharmacy. This was one of those times where it would have been MUCH easier and more efficient had I done it myself but I was trying to be a growth-producing, nurturing mom. Instead, I turned into an impatient grump and snapped at him for complaining about having to make the calls himself and not being able to find the numbers EVEN AFTER I WROTE EVERYTHING DOWN ON A PIECE OF PAPER FOR HIM. And he wants to move out and be independent this summer? Good idea!
There’s a knock on the front door. Someone is here for me, unexpectedly.
Poor woman, my friend. She popped over to ask me a couple questions about the horse show coming up and I’m like a tightly coiled snake, rattling and ready to snap. I’m sure she heard it in my voice. I was NOT the perfect hostess. Sigh! We’re standing on the front porch and Nick comes screaming by on the Moped that had NOT crashed and he’s got one leg in that brace, sticking clear out. Now I’m seeing the crash coming. He’s revving the engine and his helmet is on. Being that he’s half deaf (Really. There’s no auditory nerve in his left ear) he doesn’t hear me yelling so I wave my hands like a wild woman to get his attention.
“TAKE OFF THAT LEG BRACE!”
I try to explain that he shouldn’t be driving the Moped all over the yard with a leg brace on. So he takes it off and is about ready to hurl the $250 out-of-pocket piece of medical equipment onto the lawn.
“DON’T THROW THAT ON THE LAWN! THAT THING COST US $250!!!”
My poor friend. And get this! She’s one of those very calm and soft-spoken types. I’m sure she has never, ever even DREAMED of raising her voice to her children. But then again, I suppose her children are perfect and never need to be yelled at like mine.
He hands me the leg brace and now he’s got a hiking boot on one foot and just a sock on the other. He wants me get his other hiking boot. There it is again!
He must have hallucinated seeing the letters M-A-I-D written BOLDLY on my forehead.
“No,” I try to say calmly, “you can go get your hiking boot yourself.”
He hops on one foot dramatically down the stone garden path on his way to his boot . . .
I go in the house. Husband comes home and gives something to Nick. Nick comes up to me with big grin.
“Here’s your Mother’s Day card that we accidentally gave to Grandma!”
It’s true. Our two oldest kids drove up to see Grandma on Mother’s Day and gave her the card that was mine. And on Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a “For My Wife” card that Nick thought was from the kids. (Since when is MOM spelled W-I-F-E?) It was signed “Love, Nick” and then crossed out, leaving ample space for my husband to sign the card that was from him to me. And Grandma was confused. Anybody else?
So, we can’t even get Mother’s Day right around here, for crying out loud! C’est la vie!
So my friend leaves the chaos in need of a tranquilizer, I’m sure, and I discover that my dinner plans had already been eaten. I was going to bake those homemade pizzas we bought at church. I went down to the deep, dark, dingy bowels of the earth—our basement—and discovered the pizzas had been consumed by the beasts above! Great! Back-up plan? Frozen spinach and mozzarella ravioli with a homemade marinara sauce made from organic tomatoes, seasoned perfectly with garlic and basil I grew, harvested and froze last fall. Martha Stewart, move over! Even when I’m bone tired and frazzled, I can pull off a tasty dinner.
Let the banquet begin! We sit down at the table together and say grace. Then . . .
One kid starts choking on milk. Another kid thinks it’s funny and starts laughing as her sibling is turning red, half from choking, half from being mad at her for laughing. The other kid also starts laughing, which then leads to choking on his own milk. My husband and I look at each other, mind-reading the following:
“Why did we willingly admit ourselves to this crazy ward called parenting?”
Dinner conversation resumes, ravioli is consumed, and dirty dishes pile high just waiting for me to lovingly touch each piece and submerse it into beautifully bubbled water, warming my hands just like at the spa.
“Calgon take me away!” I say.
“Who’s Calgon?” one kid asks.
“Never mind.” I haven’t the energy to explain something so long, long ago in my old, old life . . .
Dinner dishes cleaned, counters wiped, it’s now 8:15 PM. Just when I’m about ready to go sit down, in comes Zach.
“We don’t have any peanut butter left and there’s nothing for lunch.”
Really? I feel like Martha Stewart just fired me and I will NOT get that “Mother of the Year” award after all.
“Oh, how about I make you some tuna salad?”
I get out two cans of tuna, celery, mayo, sweet relish and go to work—again.
First can of tuna drops from my hand-held can opener splattering tuna oil all over my just-wiped counters, dripping down the knotty pine cabinet door, spreading out over the oak wood floor. Nice! It’s now 8:30 PM and I get to clean the kitchen floor and cabinet too!
Back to the tuna bowl I go, putting finishing touches on my own recipe.
In comes the taste-tester after all has been put away and counters cleaned—again.
“Yummmm. Could use a little bit more relish though.”
I grab the plastic relish jar and tell him kindly to adjust the relish proportion to his liking—himself.
In comes daughter, fresh from relaxing on living room sofa . . .
“Anything I can do to help you?”
PERFECT TIMING! I think to myself. “No thanks, everything’s done,” I say instead.
“You should relax,” she instructs. Right!
SHALL I SCREAM NOW OR WAIT TILL I GRAB THE KEYS AND DRIVE AWAY, TIRE RUBBER KICKING UP GRAVEL DUST CLOUDS SHIELDING MY EXIT ROUTE?
I take her advice. I walk outside and onto our west-facing deck, snapping a few photos of what’s left of this one fine day. And I remember a few little things that made me smile . . .
. . . four male Baltimore Orioles all lined up on the front porch rail, waiting their turn on the half orange.
. . . the first-time-in-my-life sighting of a male Scarlet Tanager, a bird I’ve yearned to see since childhood.
. . . dropped over daffodils too heavy to hold their heads up, yet still beautiful (I can relate to the first part.)
. . . healthy, happy kids all laughing and having fun with each other and us, their parents.
. . . beautiful land we get to enjoy and share with our circle of the world.
. . . great food, grown right here on the farm.
. . . a healthy, loving husband who steadies me and offers shoulder and comforting arms wrapped around at the end of a very long day.
. . . a setting sun with trust in the One who will raise it again and give a brand new day.
As I head off to bed, I’m thankful for all the crazy, imperfect mess of this life. And in the morning, God-willing, I will write and laugh as I read back to myself all that happened—all in one day. Each day, every day—can we embrace the crazy, imperfect mess of our lives and give thanks for it all, even laugh at ourselves and our silly responses? And can we realize that even in our most desperate days, when we feel like ditching, there are joy moments that will lift us up if we’re open to discover and embrace and give thanks?
Shall we try together, all in one day?
Photo of Scarlet Tanager by Mike’s Birds