To say my husband and kids got on my last nerve this morning is a colossal understatement.
Last night, after returning from a glorious life production, I came home to a tornado. My family room looked like a herd of elephants trampled through it and left disaster in its wake. My fourteen-year-old son was standing in the midst of the fray looking like the Cheshire cat. My husband and girls had just returned from an outing. It was 9:30pm on Sunday evening.
I calmly stepped over the obstacle course and told my son, "I expect this clean by the morning. Oh, and tomorrow is trash day, you should gather it up and take it out tonight. You really don't want me to have to wake you up at 6am!" With that, I turned and went upstairs to take a bath.
After I relaxed and put on my pajamas, I resisted all urges to go back downstairs. It was about 10pm by then. The girls were coming up the stairs with their still-awake chatter so I let them spend a little time playing in the bathtub. I also told them I expected them to pick up their village of baby dolls and the doll clothes enough to fill West County Mall. They also, at four and six, have learned the teenage art of clutter of clothes! Needless to say, I just shock my head, wished for a latte, and went to my room.
This morning, I woke up at 5:45am. I took a bath, got dressed, and was relishing a few hours of quiet time downstairs. I came down to the dining room and my promise of a quiet latte and time at my computer quickly morphed into a loud rumble of junk! My husband and kids had enjoyed some of his delicious sweet-potato-pie last night and the trail of crumbs led me from the dining room, through the kitchen, to three offending plates in the family room. My son did do the dishes last night, but he forgot to clean out the sink and didn't take the trash out. I knew it was going to be bad.
My son came into the kitchen, groggy, trying to hurry through his trash chore that he didn't finish the night before. I told him he didn't' sweep the floor and to dump out the dinner remains that were in the sink stopper. He gave me the teenage grumble about why did he have to do this. At this point, I would've just finished it myself like I always do on Monday mornings, or I could make him do it. I chose the latter. Why did I do that?
Dear old hubby fell asleep on the sofa in the living room. It was 6:38am and at any other time, he would just be returning from the gym, not this morning. My son and I got into an exchange that resembled a scene from The Great Debaters. He was trying to explain away exactly which piece of paper he left on the floor and I was trying to be the in-charge parent. Then the storm chaser came in the room grumbling about wanting it quiet in the morning.
I wanted to snatch a knot in his linebacker neck! He started telling me about how he needs it quiet in the morning and I was telling him about how I need it clean in the morning. This had the promises of a chore war and a potential Tyler Perry Movie in the making. My images of him strung up by his toenails escalated when he came in the kitchen, while I was cleaning up, to tell me about his high stress job. He went on about "what do you do all day anyway..." comment when I told him I shouldn't have to clean up behind people old enough to do their own mess.
Now, I really don't know how to do the neck-roll, but I turned at him, put my hand on my hip, and just glared at him with laser eyes that could penetrate like an x-ray! How dare he make that comment. We women know that at-home moms do the equivalent of at least five jobs, work from sunup to sundown, unpaid, and often, unappreciated, at something salary.com says is worth $139,000! I just dropped the dish towel, grabbed my purse, stepped over my fourteen-year-old son who sensed this was not a good morning, and walked out the door. I needed caffeine.
I had about 30-minutes before my little cousin was to come over and before the girls would greet the day. This is usually the time I like to spend quietly at my computer, contemplating life, but instead, I was driving to the coffeeshop down the street. I was fuming and mumbling under my breath. "What does he mean, 'I wash my own clothes' like he just solved world peace! I'm doing laundry all day and if I knew what was clean or dirty in that jungle of his closet, I would wash his clothes. I thought about all the trash mornings when I didn't wake up my son and instead, dragged the bags to the street. I had a vision of myself dragging the 5' x 8' area rug, soaked from the rain that flooded our garage and laundry room, out to the corner - by myself! I was fuming and only a few moments of summer sunshine and a java would calm me down.
God has a funny way of testing the Word on us. Yesterday in church, the minister taught in James. He talked about the scripture admonishing us to "love our enemies." Man, was I having a hard time of that this morning. I talk to God, He is my father, so sometimes I am fussing about my husband and kids. If I can't tell God, who can I tell? I said, "ok God, how can I love this "enemy" when he leaves his shoes all over the place, snacks while at the computer with the offending crumbs leaving an ant trail, and snores!" I felt the Holy Spirit calmly admonishing me to do this with His help. Well, I humphed, it would only be God that could make me love a messy man and the kids that are following his example instead of my always-put-my-clothes-away example.
So I downed my coffee, jumped in the van, and did the short drive home to greet the rest of my day. My son was sprawled out on the family room sofa, eating a bowl of cereal under the cover I just folded up a half-hour earlier! I decided to not let my joy flutter away, so I just went to the laundry room to start my Monday job. I decided not to do the verbal tax-audit itemized list of everything I do in a day from constant laundry, sweeping, dishes, picking, cleaning, driving, cooking, refereeing, etc. I just said I'd be quiet. That was hard.
My hubby was upstairs getting ready. I didn't bother him, I just folded the clean dish towels, put them away, and calmly told my son to wash his cereal bowl. This day would be redeemed yet, even if I had to step over size 13 gym shoes to do it!