The soggy cheerios sitting on the table, the dishes piled high in each side of the sink, papers, toys, and clutter covering every inch of the kitchen counter tops, and the trail of toys stretching from the living room all the way down the hallway weaving in and out of each bedroom told the tale of Jamie’s life.
As Jamie went to sit at the kitchen table, her bum hit the Star Wars figurine she had told the boys a million times to put away. Frustrated, she brushed the figurine off the seat and pushed the half eaten Cheerio bowl aside. Of course she slid the bowl just a little too far and onto the floor it went.
“I can’t do this anymore”.
Jamie left the spilled bowl of Cheerios and milk on the floor and buried her head in her hands just trying to catch a moment of sanity. That only lasted three seconds before little Isaiah was tugged at her leg.
“Mommy, mommy, mommy” he whined with no pause in between.
“Yes Isaiah?” Jamie peered down at her little blonde hair, blue eyed three year old whom she loved so dearly yet could so quickly get to her very last nerve.
Before Isaiah could even get to what he was in need of, the two other boys came darting up the stairs screaming.
“Brody is chasing me! Mom, make him stop!!”
“Nu-uh was not, Derek is lying again just like he always does!”
“I am not lying!”
Derek was near hysteria by this point and Brody was in tears.
Jamie threw her hands up and retreated to her bedroom to escape the mad chaos. Even if she could find a moment of peace in her bedroom, she knew the vicious cycle would once again repeat the moment she opened her bedroom door. Jamie couldn’t help but to think of the “if onlys”:
If only she would not have gotten pregnant in high school.
If only she didn’t marry Derek’s
father when she was only 16
If only her husband didn’t love another women
If only he wouldn’t have left her
Jamie felt so alone. She felt as if everyone else had it all together yet she couldn’t get it together for anything. She felt like such a failure.
The next morning Jamie struggled into church with three little ones in tow, barely dressed, hair somewhat askew, shoes untied and of course fighting as usual. Brenda, a lady Jamie knew from church, warmly greeted Jamie as she awkwardly pushed herself through the doors. Brenda took a couple of the boys by the hand and started walking with Jamie down the hall to the boy’s classes.
“Hey, Jamie would you and the boys want to come over for dinner after church? I bought a roast that was far too large for our family and I am sure your boys would love to play with mine.”
Instantly Jamie tried to come up with a reason not to go. She would rather skip the humiliation of her kids fighting or worse, ruining something. She couldn’t think fast enough.
“Ok, that would be nice.” Jamie smiled trying to be gracious.
Jamie always saw Brenda’s kids behaving so nice and she always seemed to have all her ducks in a row. Jamie knew she was just not in the same league as Brenda.
As Jamie walked into Brenda’s house she was surprised by what she saw. There were toys from one end of the house to the other, a familiar looking trail indeed. The house was loud and a bit chaotic. As the boys were running off to play, Isaiah tripped, cracking the base of a lamp.
“Oh Brenda I am so sorry.” Jamie was humiliated.
Brenda laughed lightly. “Oh Jamie, this lamp was already cracked. It is a daily occurrence at our house. With three boys, how can I possibly keep up?”
She paused then looked Jamie right in the eyes. “You know what I mean; you can relate to my life more than most anyone else. Jamie, when I look at you with three boys like me but no husband to help, I am encouraged that I can do it too.
Tears filled Jamie’s eyes and she was lost for words to say. She got up from her chair and hugged Brenda. “You couldn’t possibly know how your words just encouraged me.”
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