It was a full day, from taking the kids to work with me. Ha! Work...we managed to make some delightful glittery tote bags and listened to Spotify. Brady and Maryn might just be featured in the Hollins campus training video clip for Housing and Residence Life that I had to tape today (do they still say "tape" in the age of digital video? Today my mom asked me how to rewind the video on my iPhone!). Following that, we spent a traumatic hour at Chick-fil-a in the name of free food (Cow Appreciation Day), with me not figuring that Maryn's fear of the costumed cow would translate to pure terror at every other individual in the packed place adorned in cow regalia. Good news, the Chick-fil-a peeps are very good with sobbing, screaming children and promised to keep the large official cow "in the barn" for the duration of our stay, comped all our meals, carried our food for us, and continued to check on us throughout. Another mom reassuringly told me that her kids had melted down before their restaurant visit and so she understood, and then I helped her clean up her kid's spilled drink cup when she dropped it and splashed everything in a 6-foot radius, prompting said child to burst into tears. God bless Chick-fil-a, and those moments of motherhood solidarity.
After our semi-PTSD recovery, we hopped in the car for 3 hours this afternoon so that we could slip in a one-hour visit with my family (Love you!) before the kids commenced a rolling on the floor prelude of the coming Apocalypse if I didn't get them out there and fed. Aren't those little buggers just so precious? On the way home, the weight started in my throat and ears, and migrated to my arms. At the risk of setting Brady off again who was promising to "FREAK OUT" (yes, his words and tone), if I didn't make it home in exactly one minute (and as we were also delayed in traffic from Obama's visit..."Hi Pres!"), I made a detour to Starbucks for a delicious and soothing Refreshers beverage (Starbucks reps who are reading this, feel free to use me in your promotions and comp me in Refreshers). Full disclosure: it was actually my second Refresher of the day. I had picked up my free "Cool Lime" one at the start of our road trip, and even though I'm a big fan of lime and sucked it all down, I couldn't really decide whether I liked it. I was more minty than lime-y, and I have some mint pickiness. So it only made sense to stop and try the other one: "Very Berry Hibiscus". Now that's more like it. It may be love ("I know that I just met you, and this is crazy..." couldn't resist throwing a little shout out to Obama as well, particularly as I just heard the original version of "Call Me Maybe" today after hearing dozens of parodies/remixes, this being my favorite).
After feeding the starving natives (who had eaten less than an hour before) and generously (I thought) reading THREE bedtime books and trying to shuffle them off to bed early without them noticing, I got a melt-down from the elder because I refused to read our devotional. I know, I'm terrible. My ordination may just be revoked and my kids sent to live with some other, more Godly family. God, I know I should have read it first before starting on the If you give a mouse/pig dribble and Judy Moody saga, but I just didn't think. And as I tried to give the Cliff Notes version of the 10 Commandments story (highly emphasizing the "Honor your father and mother" part) and even though he had memorized the story verbatim and could read it or perform it dramatically (thanks The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name CDs
for nurturing my son's budding faith better than me...seriously, we all love the book...well maybe less so for for heathen Maryn...just kidding, sweet girl), nothing would do other than me working my strained voice over the five or so filled pages. I just couldn't do it. We prayed while he sulked, and I prepared Maryn for bed while hearing loudly about how "mean" I am and how he "doesn't like" me. So, with all the gentleness I could muster (truly, perhaps my most saintly act ever...except for that lack of humbleness part), I touched his hair, told him I loved and liked him regardless and sent him up to bed. In his angry (turned down a notch voice) he muttered, "What, are you not even going to kiss me goodnight and tuck me in?" So I promised him I would, followed both kids upstairs, prayed individual prayers and told them what I was most proud about in them. I told Brady how I was proud of his love for God and, he, already reading the neglected story to himself, tried not to smile, but settled in to bed.
I thanked God myself, and slipped into a bubble bath with a book, and a dinner of half a peach, my remaining Refresher, and a shot of Nyquil. All was quiet except for the bark of an ignored dog, who remained ignored. Although I usually "enjoy" playing the martyr role ("who me, I'm not sick...just let me drag my lifeless body around to serve you"), the warmth of the water, the coolness of my food, the comfort of a book, and now the cloud of my bed reminds me that caring for others requires a primary investment in myself.
Goodnight, my friends. Stay well.