Yesterday was a not-so-good day. A really not-so-good day, that actually started the day before yesterday when my almost 7-month-old Lucy soaked me in throw up down to the skin not once, but twice. She was not happy, and neither was I. By the way--I promise this blog is not going to devolve into a bodily fluid theme despite recent posts... .
Instead of turning my frown upside down, I was pretty determined to keep a bad mood going. Needless to say, frowny-faced moms are not usually nice. They tend toward the cranky, barky way of interacting. At least this frowny-faced mom does.
Oh, I had my reasons for crankiness. A cranky sick baby meant that I got nothing done. My mental to-do lists, both the realistic/fundamental one (laundry! cooking! tidying! helping kids!) and the in-my-dreams/frippery one (decorate my bare mantel! make something fun with my fabric stash! buy a new sofa!)lay there, undone and pouting at my neglect.
Interestingly, I normally think I get nothing done, but today I realized that compared to a day like yesterday when I had a baby who wanted to be fed or rocked every minute, I normally accomplish a surprising amount. Once I made that realization, I was ready for this learning experience to be over. And it wasn't, so I got even more grumpy.
After that, I was looking for reasons to be grumpy, and I sure found them. Lukas, 6, stayed home from school because he was too sick, but he seemed well enough to tease his younger brother (funny how that works). An early release day brought everyone home to tear through the kitchen like hungry locusts, leaving a trail of peanut butter smears, crumbs and dirty dishes in their wake and on to scrap over TV and computer time. I only had time for the shower part of getting ready, so let's just say that I've had better dressed and groomed days in my life. I ate the rest of a bag of m&m's intended to help/bribe Sawyer to be potty-trained. The house was a disaster, I didn't have the foggiest what to make for dinner and my husband accidentally left his keys at the office, so he needed me to pick him up at the park'n'ride at the last minute.
By the time I got in the car, my mind was filled with more existential questions: What am I doing with six children when I can't even seem to keep myself together? Will ever be able to finish a worthwhile project again? Can I maintain a sense of self if I don't do the things that make me, me? Are my kids going to grow up to become self-centered slobs who plague their spouses or become criminals and everyone will blame me for all of it?
Maybe a little.
But you know what?
My problems may overwhelm me some days, but most of them aren't permanent or life-shattering. I know so many people whose challenges are much more acute (and whose attitudes are much better than mine, to be honest). I have people that love me who want to help if I ask for it before I get so cranky that I am barking at them. Even more, I have a God who wants to help and soothe me if I lay down my pride and ask Him.
On that note, I read a great quote today by Carl Bloch, a 19th Century Danish painter. He is most famous for his depictions of Christ. He said: "When things are at their worst they then become their absolute best. Grey skies and rain splashing are a part of (life)--one must be washed off thoroughly before one goes in to God."
The joy and the hardship are a part of life. I guess the trick is to learn to play in the rain. I'm still working on that...
P.S. Here is a reason to be happy, albeit a shallow one: I love bum flaps on baby PJ's. Here is a picture of Lucy's Petit Bateau (thrift store bought) PJ's that I took last night when I had shaken off my bad mood. Sigh. How can life be bad when there's a bum like that hanging around :)?
I'm linking up to Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now: