In college, Thursday was totally my jam. Um, helloooooo?? Thursday was basically the new Friday, and we could all get our party pants on and head over to the Neon Cactus with our giant plastic mugs to rock it to some Britney and N'Sync and enjoy filling those mugs repeatedly with Long Island Iced Tea. AHHHH, SWEET THURSDAY!!! My adults self obviously didn't get the memo, as I am NO LONGER a Thursday person. I get a case of the Thursdays every week, and here's how it goes. . .
Mon: Yay! A clean slate before me, allow me to rock this week and my ginormous to do list. . .
Tuesday: Ahh, this is the life! It's only Tuesday and everything is great! Plenty of time left!
Wednesday: I haven't really gotten much accomplished this week, but don't worry! It's only Wednesday! The week is still young!
Thursday: CRAAAAAAPPPPPPP where did this week go? Tomorrow is Friday?? PANIC!! Despair! Discouragement!! AAAHHHHH!!!!
(Friday: Oh, well, I'll just do it all next week.)
I don't know why, but my four kiddos are also not "Thursday People". When everyone is whining, crying, laying around lethargically and moaning and generally just a hot mess, I can look at the clock and be sure it's 4:30 pm on a Thursday, and we are going to need to do some major deep breathing and powering through to get to dinnertime and bedtime. It starts at breakfast most Thursdays, the tired and whiny voices of kiddos who know they still have two more days of structure before sweet, sweet weekend freedom. Cereal box walls are built and tiny arguments start to form at the breakfast table over things like "He's looking at me!!!" or the relative fiber content of our four cereal selections. It's not always like that, just Thursday for some reason, and it ain't pretty.
I maintain equanimity through the majority of the week, but Thursday morning usually finds me snapping at my Whinese-speaking kiddos during the breakfast rush. So, this morning, I was determined to be aware of my triggers and make this day better. I got up plenty early to shower and be fully made-up before my kids woke up. Because, let's face it, I wear enough makeup to go to prom every day, and if I don't have it on I'm just not ready to go. That's how I roll. I woke the kids up with hugs and smiles and packed lunches that included notes (because I was informed that "MOMMY!! THE OTHER KIDS HAVE NOTES!!!") but also was sure to include Bugles and Pudding Cups, because this mama knows what her boys love!
I was patting myself on the back when I looked at the oven clock at 7:35, knowing all my jobs were done and my kiddos were dressed and brushed and loved and peacefully enjoying some basement playtime. However, I heard the early stages of "The Thursdays" beginning beneath my feet. I can't remember the details if the next 20 minutes, but it involved way too much refereeing on my part. I am a pretty peaceful parent for 10 minutes of a multi-child meltdown, but after that I start to lose my Zen. Now, the meltdowns were all about something sweet, they had all decided to color, but the strife related to selecting appropriate coloring materials was multiplied times three cranky boys. As we entered minute 20 and there was no end in sight, this mama just snapped.
"WOULD YOU STOP FREAKING OUT!!" (Now I recognize the irony of freaking out about freaking out!) STOP IT!! I CANNOT LISTEN TO IT ANYYYY MOORREEEE!! Just figure it out and COLOR! I have had ENOUGH! DANIEL! PHILIP! JOSH! ENOUGH!"
Now, the instant I lose my temper there is immediate remorse, but this morning it was even more so. (Side note- my own mom NEVER lost her temper with me. How did she do that?) I looked down at Noah, who was standing a few feet in front of me this entire time. He was looking up at me with his sweet little 17-month-old face and his eyes were brimming with tears. His lip was quivering. His cheeks were red. Eyebrows raised. In short, he was terrified. OF ME. Then, to top it all of, he cried out, "Mommmyyyy????" as if he didn't even recognize the woman in front of him.
I scooped him up in my arms to apologize. Daniel shuffled off to the kitchen and I heard him getting each of his brothers a glass of water as I comforted Noah. The bros sat in silence, sipping their water and coloring, as I rested my head on Noah's tiny shoulder in shame. I shouldn't have to lose my patience to get my kids to listen to me. I know better than that. I am better than that. I thought I had that all figured out. . .I woke up early, eliminated all of my triggers so I could be all ready for "The Thursdays." I had it ALL. UNDER. CONTROL.
Oh, wait. I didn't have it all under control. You know why? Because IIIIIIIII was the one trying to do it all by myself. See all of those "I"s in that paragraph above? See me over there trying to figure everything out? Leaning on my own understanding? Enough time to put on prom-level makeup but not enough time to put myself before God?
Sometimes it takes a moment like that to bring the heart back to humility. I did not have it all under control. God has it all under control.
From now on, I have some tweaks to my Thursday approach (after prom-level makeup time.) First, breakfast will be served out of Crock-N-Rock cups. It's Thursday. Let's live it up. But most importantly, I will take some time out to humble myself before God before the whole whirlwind begins, lest I be humbled again by a sweet toddler boy who just wants to know where his Mommy went.
I even wrote a prayer for it, a long while back, that I keep in my kitchen. I need to pull it out every day, but especially on Thursday. :)
Dear Lord, walk with me today.
Help me to live with intention,
to live my vocation
Help me to be patient with the needs of my children today,
no matter how small
they may seem.
Help me to remember that their needs
are your needs
and when I am serving them
I am serving You.
Help me to choose Love today
remembering that my words
can give life
or take it.
May I choose the words
that bring your Love.
May I choose the actions
that make your presence known
and honor your people.
May I make the most of the precious time
You have given me
to serve You on earth.
Let me be your hands and feet today
To everyone I meet, may I show kindness, mercy and Love,
Use me to do your will.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to get my Thursday kiddos off the bus and power through until dinner!!