I may have had my worst parenting moment to date.
Actually, I've had quite a few of them in a row it seems.
But let's start with the golf ball. Yes, the golf ball.
Sure, it sits there all simple and easy, like it's just chillin' and sipping a mojito poolside. But oh, the horror that such a small object can bring.
Where to start… Oh yes, how about Monday. Monday was a day spent scrubbing toilets and washing linens, after dear Georgia spent the better part of the day vomiting into a bowl held by her loving father. When she first woke up that morning, we teased about her getting up on the wrong side of the bed and told her she needed to go climb back in to take the “sharkness” of the attitude away. Twenty minutes later, she was hunched over the toilet. Bless her heart.
Vomit, being my number one fear, caused me to instantly (in a very composed and ladylike way mind you), beg Stuart to stay home with me. Please call in a sub! Please! I beg you! I beg you!!!! I can't do it alone! I can't handle it!
Now, I like to think of myself as a pretty strong person. I can handle the butchering, the cleaning, the blood. But the vomit just gets the better of me – we all have our strengths, no? Handling vomit is not one of mine.
My loving husband agreed to handle the vomit and called in for a sub. Thank you, Jesus!
Throughout the remainder of the day, Georgia lay in a coma-like-state with Stuart by her side. She woke up every so often and I smeared a big more garlic salve on her chest. She took a few baths and watched countless Disney movies while curled up under her favorite blanket. It was the epitomy of a pathetic, sickly child that you just wanted to scoop up in your arms and comfort.
Until you remembered that she'd been vomiting all day. At which point I passed the duty on to her Daddy.
Anyway, the point of the story is that after being up through the night two nights in a row with the sick littles and after frantically cleaning the house of vomit the day before, by the time Tuesday morning rolled around, I was pretty exhausted.
After breakfast, I stuck the littles into a warm bath tub to play while I cleaned up the kitchen. I could hear them, splashing about and the inevitable crying while “someone who shall not be named” grabbed the toys out of a much-younger-and-defenseless hobbit's hands. After policing their interactions for a few minutes while I scrubbed the egg yolk from a plate, I was caught off guard by a naked Georgia running through the kitchen, soaking wet, shouting:
DER'S POOP IN THE YA-TER! DER'S POOP IN THE YA-TER!
Allow me to translate:
There's poop in the water! There's poop in the water!
I quickly ran into the bathroom to find Owen swimming amongst a bathtub full of poo pieces. And I'm not talking a floating log here. I'm talking about millions of little poo pieces, following the current of the water set about by his splashing.
I quickly rolled up my sleeve, plunged my hand into the water, and pulled out the drain. Then, I went to grab him out. But wait? Why wasn't the tub draining?
I reached in again to see if I could dislodge the toy that was blocking the drain, a seemingly likely scenario considering there are currently 279 Little Pet Shop toys littering the tub.
If only I'd been so lucky.
No, what I quickly discovered was blocking the drain was a golf ball. A ball of golf. A perfect sphere that had wedged itself so tightly into the drain via suction that it was unshakable. Holding stronger than the Hoover Dam, that ‘ol golfball.
I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a butter knife, and sat down on the bathroom floor, certain that if I could wedge the knife between the ball and the wall of the drain, I'd be able to break the suction and lift up the ball.
Ten minutes later, my shirt was entirely soaked up to the armpits with poo water and the golfball remained as lodged as ever.
I'd like to say that at this point, I offered thanks to Jesus for the opportunity to practice patience and grace and all that other super-cool stuff He'd taught me to do (ahem) but instead, I grew furious. Absolutely furious. Stuart says that sometimes I tend to lash out in anger at objects that aren't doing what I'd like them to do. And again, I'd like to say that I proved him wrong.
But lash out I did.
Sure, it sounds stupid to type it out now. Really, Shaye? Loosing your cool over a golf ball? Way to be, like, super holy.
But it's the truth. Not only was I have gagging at the floating chunks that kept touching my hands, and not only did I have two naked babies running about, but I also had this danged golfball that refused to move.
I ran to the kitchen, once again, only this time opted for a paring knife. Super sharp. Super deadly. If you're a golfball, that is. I was ready for war.
I went into the tub and once again plunged my hands into the luke warm poo water. I stabbed and scrapped and gripped and pryed as best as I could. By this point, I'm pretty sure I was screaming in anger and cursing the golfball for being from hell and questioning a God that would put such horrible circumstances in front of a, quite obviously, tired, weary, and short-tempered Mother.
Why, God, Why!!?!?
Again, it sounds pretty stupid it type it out. And sure, after the moment passed, I could easily see the stupidity of it all. But the truth of the matter is that that suctioned golfball brought up rage inside of me that should only be reserved for Satan himself.
I thought about leaving it and letting Stuart deal with the poo water. But then I thought how horrible it would be to come home from school to find your wife in disarray, your children still not clean after their poo filled bath, and (the worst part, I'd say) is a now-cold-bathtub-of-water awaiting you to drain it. Poor Stuart. I couldn't be that cruel.
And so, I carried on. Cursing the day, cursing the golfball, cursing the kids for having a golfball in the bath in the first place (let's not point fingers at the Mother who put it in there for them, shall we?), cursing the now-extremely-bent paring knife, and cursing… well… pretty much cursing it all.
Another 10 minutes of struggling, I did eventually pry the golfball loose. Yes. That means that for 20 minutes, I floundered around in poo water, sulking like some poor fool.
Afterwords, I threw the golfball away and prayed out loud to the Lord. “Lord, why have you made me this way? Why am I so short-tempered? Why am I so quick to anger? And so slow to practice patience? Why do I feel this rage inside me towards all golfers now?”
Just kidding about the last part. But the rest is pretty much true.
The Lord, no doubt, has made us all uniquly different. Strengths and weakness are easily viewed in each individual. My weakness just happens to be patience towards stupid and frustrating things.
Wait. Is that the wrong attitude to have again?
My weakness just happens to be patience in general. I am a sinner, no doubt.
“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath – prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory…” Romans 9: 20-23
The Lord HAS made me like this, with my own particular strengths and struggles. But the Lord has also called me to bear fruit of righteousness.
Lashing out at golfballs in poo filled bathtubs like a caged rattlesnack is not the fruit of righteousness. And praise God that He loves me far too much to leave me there, curled up in fetal position on the bathroom floor crying out for His mercy.
The moment did pass.
His mercies were renewed.
I was continually humbled and reminded of my need for an ever-loving God.
And then, I ran across this. I smiled. And cried. And once again curled up in fetal position. And then thanked God for his goodness:
The good news is that Jesus does not call you to control everything, nor does He expect you to. Actually, He wants you to be okay with the fact that you can't. Your “success” as a mom is not measured by your capacity to keep everything in order; it's determined by your ability to trust that even in the chaos Jesus is beautiful – and even in the mess, so are you.