Sometimes I get mad. It usually happens when I am over-whelmed, over-stretched, over-needed and over-spent. The perfect storm of mothering overload! When all those things happen at once, my little brain says, "All done" and I find myself with my jaw clenched, my eyes closed and my mouth fighting all the garbly-gook that wants to come pouring out. Sound familiar? Well, this happened recently ...
... on our trip home from our weekend in Denver. We had enjoyed a wonderful couple of days with Brett's parents ... all except the stomach flu that hit the kids. There is absolutely nothing worse than sick kids ... except maybe sick kids in someone else's home. Ewww....
After our departure on Monday morning (and amidst our desperate hopes that we hadn't left any hidden bugs to infect our Gramps and Grammy with any extra "love") we stopped off at a convenience store for a couple of Big Gulp cups ... just in case. Sure enough, about an hour into our drive, little Ashley moaned from her seat, "My belly doesn't feel good..." With my lightening reflexes, I spun around in my seat and shoved a Big Gulp cup under her chin. Just in time! Meanwhile, we were speeding down the interstate at 75 mph and the kids were listening to a book on tape and Lydia was playing with her sock. Just a regular Monday drive! :)
Brett pulled off at the first exit. I jumped out and dumped out the yuckies. In the middle of an apparent wind tunnel. My scarf was whipping around and I was trying not to get any of the aforementioned yuckies on me. As I climbed back into the car, Ashley whimpered that she got some on her shirt. I jumped out again, back into the tornado, to open the side door to help her with her nasty shirt. After I had carefully peeled the shirt over her head, I wadded it up so that all the yuckies were tucked inside and handed it across the seat to Norah.
"Can you please put this in the bag right behind you?"
Norah shrunk away from my hand as if I was holding a dead rat instead of a shirt. She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. The wind blew up my back.
I blew around the back of the van to open the back gate. As the door swung up, a jacket, caught by a gust of wind, blew around the side of the van toward an open field. Two birthday packages fell out the back into the rocks and the attached birthday card blew under the van behind the tire. Perfect.
I stuffed the stinking, slimy, nasty shirt into the bag, scooped up the presents and shoved them back into the van and then ran off for the fly-away coat. After stuffing that back into the van, I crawled down on my hands and knees to fish out the pink card. Once everything was back in the van, I gave the back gate a tug and then ran around to my seat. Then I closed my eyes, clenched my jaw and managed keep all but one of those garbly-gook words contained. I was so mad.
Mad at flu bugs.
Mad at the prospect of being with four kids in a van for the next several hours.
Mad at the possibility of many such stops to dump yuckies.
Mad at kids who don't want to touch nasty, throw-up shirts any more than I do.
Mad at the wind.
Brett reached over and squeezed my hand. He had just been on his way out to help when I slammed the door shut. I knew that he was thankful for my help. I knew that Ashley was thankful to not be covered in yuckies. I knew that Norah was thankful I didn't make her take the shirt.
I slowly felt myself deflate. A deep breath and a neck roll and I was all better.
Gratefully, God helped me by empowering me with a little self-control. It could have been so much worse! I could have really let loose and let everybody know how mad I was. I could have held on to my anger and stewed for a few more mile-markers. I could have said or done things that I would have regretted later. I could have pulled a Liddy.
Lately, when my little two-year old is really mad she lets us know. She recently had a similarly frustrating experience. She only got two Smartie Sweet-Tart Hearts and she wanted more. Yep ... she was mad. And she threw her usual tantrum:
She blew her runny-nose boogers all over her face.
She pulled down her pants and undies.
It wasn't a pretty sight!
Yeah, I'm glad that I've grown up a bit and I'm a little more self-controlled than my Lydia. Because nobody wants to see Mommy act like that.