Last night I lost my cool and yelled at Mia. Poor thing had a fever, but I didn’t know it yet: I thought she was being stubborn and unreasonable, and after a long day dealing with a whiny toddler, the last thing I needed was a preschooler crying over a potato.
That should have tipped me off. On any other day, her refusal of potatoes would be a clear indication she’s unwell. Our carb-loving little girl eats them with abandon, savoring them as if they were a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
But last night, I misread the signs, lost control and made her cry. Later, as I finally sang her to sleep, my mind drifted to a place where guilt and thankfulness made my heart explode with love for her. I kicked myself for what I had done, and wondered at the way our little girl still wanted to snuggle close to me for comfort.
I guess that’s the way of it when we’re facing something that makes us feel diminished. We cling to the things that anchor us and make us feel like ourselves, imperfect as they may be. Being a full time mom–fantastic and blessed as it may be–has revealed major flaws in me. A surprise, I admit. I used to think mothering would bring out the best in me, and sometimes it does, except for when it brings out the worst in me like it did yesterday.
The more time I spend at home with these Goobies, the more thankful I am for the grace that covers me because goodness, I need it. From them, from you, from the Lord. Sometimes that grace takes the shape of a whispered request for “Just one more song, please Mama?” even after difficult day, and sometimes it looks like taking you up on your offer of an icy cold Moscow Mule after the kids are asleep. Lately, the bright spots look like the things on the list that follows.
1. First, I love (love!) the Keurig My-Cup 2.0 you brought home for me. My complaining finally paid off, and gone are the days when I rely on those flimsy plastic pods filled with mediocre coffee. True–I agreed that getting a Keurig was a good way to make our lives a bit easier when the promise early mornings with another newborn loomed heavily before us. Now, even though our mornings are still early, my capacity for brewing a regular pot of coffee has returned, and buying dozens and dozens non-recyclable pods every month got harder and harder to do. Thanks to your thoughtfulness, I get to let go of an immense amount of guilt and enjoy my beloved Peet’s without the grocery budget taking such a hit. Coffee + YouVersion Verse of the day = starting the day on the right foot.
2. Next, Orgain Organic Protein, the Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor, clearly. I know it might sound really weird to profess my love for protein powder, but I don’t care. I have been devoted to this stuff for over a year and I’m lost if we run out. Two scoops, a frozen banana and unsweetened almond milk blended together and poof: I get breakfast. It’s like magic. (Not to mention the fact that all the kids like it, too. And everyone in our family can eat it–no gluten, dairy, peanuts or problems. It’s a dreamy scenario.)
3. Also (always), Jenny Rosenstrach. I’ve had a completely acceptable amount of devotion to her since I read her debut cookbook Dinner: A Love Story (DALS). You surprised me with it the same Christmas you got your appendix out. We went up North to your mom’s house in Yakima that year. Finding myself surrounded by extra hands to entertain the kids, I plopped myself down on your mother’s couch and did not move until I read the whole book.
In the four years since that day, the recipes and anecdotes in DALS have shaped our own kitchen culture. And while I hope someday we will all have dinner together every night, Jenny’s advice to forego the family meal and just get the job done for awhile freed me, and I hear her voice every evening when I’m trying to finish cooking dinner in time to feed the kids who are hungry by, like, 5:00. It rarely, if ever, happens, and they tend to get bits and pieces of what’s leftover in the fridge more than I like to admit. But because of her, I let go of dinnertime guilt and am thankful they get as much to eat as they do. Plus, I enjoy plopping down on the couch with you after the kids are in bed and eating spicy chicken nachos straight from a sheet pan. Her new cookbook How to Celebrate Everything is all about connecting over food and knitting together a family culture with ritual, and I need to get my hands on it soon.
These and so many others are bright spots along the way, making things little bit easier just because they’re there, like a mother stroking a child’s feverish brow. A strange list, perhaps. But for me, these few things keep me company on a daily basis, fueling me and cheering me on to doing my day well, imperfect or flawed as it might be. Well, these things and you, of course.