It’s one of those days.
You know, where three of the kids are going on a field trip and they have to take packed lunches. But last night was so busy that we didn’t plan ahead. They have sandwiches and chips and that’s about it. There are no cold drinks, so we’re frantically mixing gatorade in water bottles and hoping there’s enough ice in there to keep them cool(ish) until lunch. As an afterthought they get peanut butter crackers and pretzels shoved at them – just in case.
And we ran out of milk, so only one kid got cereal the way he wanted it. The others had to experiment with it dry or eat a granola bar or… I have no idea what they ate.
And there’s a school project due that has to be carried safely to the bus without being squished.
And there’s a problem with someone’s shoes. (There’s always a problem with someone’s shoes.)
And one or two of them can’t find clean socks. (This wouldn’t be a problem if the socks had made it into the laundry hamper when they came off their feet. We’re not that behind on laundry.)
And at the last minute, as they’re walking down the driveway and one of them is already on the bus, I remember that I forgot their spending money. Buying things at the gift shop is their favorite part of this trip. I can’t let this slide! So I grab my purse fast, scrounge up some cash, (fortunately there IS some – I need to go to the bank) practically throw it at them and tell them to RUN to the bus.
Then I walk back to the door in complete frustration and irritation, grateful to be rid of them.
And then I think of the stories. You know the ones. A guy dies and the last words his wife/mother/brother/etc. remembers saying to him were angry ones. They’re left with feelings of regret because they said goodbye wrong.
I hate saying goodbye wrong.
Every morning every kid deserves a kiss and an I love you and the feeling that they will be missed while they’re away from home.
But some days perfect mom goes on vacation and it all falls apart. And then I expect the worst to happen. The pessimist in me believes this will be the day they don’t come home again. I didn’t say goodbye right; I sent them off in frustration. That’s going to forever be my last memory with them. Maybe I should follow the bus to the school and make sure they all know I treasure and adore them and can’t imagine my life without them.
But, no. That’s just dumb. I say I believe in Grace, but in this moment I’m wondering if I’ve been lying to myself. Do I really see God as the big, vengeful guy in the sky who’s waiting for me to mess up so he can snatch something precious away from me?
As I walk into the house, my husband is standing there singing a piece of an Andrew Peterson song, looking me straight in the eyes, “…hold up my arms when the battle goes long… when my arms aren’t strong…” And it reminds me of the reality of this whole grace thing. In one of my worst moments, there’s still this wise and kind man acknowledging that I am the person who helps make him stronger. He’s not reprimanding me for starting everyone’s day off wrong.
He’s reminding me that grace exists.