Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Better Than Attila
By Patty Wysong
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“Mom, I need my uniform this afternoon but there's a stain on the front. I put it on the washer, could you wash it for me? And Mrs. Anderson is giving us extra credit for being there early to watch a film on driver's safety and I'm late, could you run me to school?”
Today I planned on cleaning and organizing the living room and dining room since those were the rooms that disintegrated when life got hectic. There were piles that were toppling, and my patience with them had run out a week ago. My schedule was painstakingly kept clear for today, and I planned on conquering the mess and then celebrating with a bubble bath—all before the kids got home from school. Running some laundry through would be no big deal.
“Ok, but next time you'll wear it with the stain if you leave if for the last minute.” I checked to see that she understood I meant what I said. She bobbed her head, repentantly. “Extra credit in Driver's Ed? I suppose it's worth it, let's go.” I grabbed my keys and we trotted out the door as I called for the other kids to finish eating.
Ten minutes later I returned and Bryce slid into the kitchen. “Hey Mom, today's my day to bring a snack for our Bible study group at lunch and we've had brownies for the past three weeks, think you could do cupcakes or something?”
“Today? Bryce, why didn't you remind me yesterday?” I asked, my patience slipping away just as surely as my coveted bubble bath reward was.
While Bryce was hem-hawing, my husband strolled into the kitchen for his last cup of coffee before leaving for work. “Hon, I need you to make some calls for me this morning.”
Being the home management expert that I am, I grabbed my ever-present to-do list off the fridge and jotted notes as he ticked off each call. “Mechanic, dentist and church. Got it. You want that with a cherry on top?” I meant it sarcastically, but I managed to say it sweetly, complete with a smile.
My darling husband got a wicked gleam in his eye as he looked me up and down. “That'd be real nice, Sweetie.”
I really wanted to growl, but instead I planted a kiss on him. “Your lunch is with your briefcase beside the door.”
Bryce plucked the list from my hand and scribbled “CUPCAKES 11:45!” He handed me my list and flashed his father's killer smile. “Thanks Mom. You're the greatest!” I rolled my eyes at him as he buzzed my cheek and fled before I could say no.
“Mom,” Callie wailed from the living room, “I need my permission slip signed so I can go on the field trip, but I can't find it!”
“Look on top of the pile on the coffee table.” I called as I added Allyssa's uniform to my rapidly growing list.
“It's not there, I looked.”
I sighed with exasperation as I plunked the list down and went to help Callie. “After I signed it, I put it on top of your math book. Where's your math?” I lifted the skirt of the couch and cautiously peered under, fearful of the mess I'd find. “Here it is, Callie. Hurry up, we've got to go.”
“Thanks, Mom.” She spun around and slammed into her dad. I saw it happen in slow motion, and saw all hopes of my bubble bath drain away as coffee coated the carpet. Instead of celebrating with a soak, I'd be slaving with the steam vac.
All the way home I wrestled with my attitude about my pillaged day. When I got home, I ignored the mess and took a fresh cup of coffee out to the sun room for a fifteen minutes of peace. My Bible was there, waiting for me, so I turned to today's chapter. “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.”*
Ok, Lord, I get it. Kids are like oxen. I really wouldn't trade off the blessing they are, so that means I have to deal with the quirks of being a mom, even on days when I feel like I'm being drawn and quartered by Attila the Hun.
*Proverbs 14:4 NASB
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