Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monster Mama

I am amazed at the resilience of my children. While I do my best to be a good mama to them, I am thankful for their ability to bounce back from my mistakes! And I certainly give my kiddos plenty to bounce back from – especially when Monster Mama pays them a visit.

I don’t know about you, but my house has a sore spot. It’s upstairs  - my daughters’ domain. Only a bedroom, a loft and a half bathroom, it is the cause of great and constant pain for my household and its primary caretaker – moi.

In the same way you might baby a sore muscle, avoiding movement to minimize pain, I resist climbing those steps to their room.

To be honest, it’s gotten a little out of control. Okay, maybe a LOT out of control. I avoid the space altogether, begging my husband to risk it all, venturing into the fray to wake them up in the morning and kiss them goodnight. I just can’t handle the mess today, I whine to him.

Of course the girls are on to me. Knowing I won’t come upstairs gives them a certain reckless abandon. And when I finally work up the courage (succumb to the guilt) and crest the top of the stairs, I know what I will find: a disaster-area of creativity without clean up, snacks sneaked in and left behind, dirty laundry mixed with once-folded clean clothes.

I should be prepared, but I am not. I should be patient, but I am not. In a moment, I am transformed into Monster Mama. I grit my teeth, keeping the creature at bay while picking up trash (Gross, what’s that stuck to the floor!), closing dresser drawers (What is so hard about closing a drawer, I ask you?), picking up piles of dirty laundry (That still has tags on it – I’m never buying them clothes again!). I enter the bathroom (You don’t want the details here.) and it’s just too much to contain. The beast emerges.

The “mama howl” erupts. You know the voice - every mama has it, but we sweeten it up in public. No one will ever hear that voice except my family. I yell and I lecture and I hope the neighbors aren’t in the front yard.

After, I go into my bedroom and cry that I have unleashed Monster Mama and given my children one more reason for therapy. And I think, “When I croak, I hope we leave them enough money to pay for their time on the sofa.”

I pray for forgiveness, calm down, call them into the bedroom, apologize, ask forgiveness from the children, go upstairs to help them. Peace.

And then at dinner, grace.

Almost every night our family plays a game called, “High Low.” We ask them to share the highest (best) experience and the lowest (worst) experience of their day.

Normally, I look forward to “High Low,” but tonight when my husband asks the question, my stomach churns and my shoulders tighten, dreading the “low” that I know every child will choose. Monster Mama – without a doubt.

I look to my right with a forced smile as daughter number two tells us her high for the day. Then summoning my courage, I ask the question: “So, what was your low today?”

She looks up, mentally scanning the day that has passed for a low, but can’t find one. “I don’t have a low today, Mom.” I wait for the other shoe to drop, and look around the table to see if Big Sis will correct her, but don’t hear anything. I sit, fork in my hand, my mouth is closed, but my heart is gaping open in wonder.

How can they not remember? How can they not be scarred forever? How can they bounce back from meeting the monster?

And I hear, “Mama, it’s not all about today. You pour and you pour every day. It all counts. Even the lowest-of-the-lows evaporate in the atmosphere of everyday loving. Let it go.” Thank you God for miraculous memory loss. Help me accept the bounce-back blessings of forgiveness and fresh starts.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3.21-23


Marianne said...

Oh Daphne! This could be my house! We have the same messes, the same monster, and play the same game at dinner. The only difference is we all do our lows then all do our highs - that way we end on a positive note. And sometimes your low can create your high! I've sat at dinner myself, waiting to hear what my children would say their low is with dread. Thank you for saying what I was thinking : )

Daphne Fine said...

You're welcome friend! And that's a great way to play the High Low game - I think we need to make that adjustment! :)