Most days aren't like today.  Most days I'm able to handle it all.  Today was one of those exceptions.  I'm usually able to keep it together in public and my kids are, most of the time, compliant.  Yet today, I cracked.  Oh man, did I crack under the pressure of looking like I have it all together. 

We're only 5 days into the New Year and for us, it started on New Year's Day.  My husband was working and I thought it would be fun to have an outing with the kids at the craft store, MISTAKE NUMBER 1.  While we were there, the kids each picked out their own fabric for a mini craft I was going to do for them; MISTAKE NUMBER 2.  I then had them choose the color ribbon for the ties for the project; MISTAKE NUMBER 3.  We took the fabric to the counter to get it cut and Buddy saw his fabric go from "Mama, LOOK!  BIG basketballs (the pattern on the fabric)!" to "MAMA!! MY FABRIC!!" while the lady cut his fabric the size I needed it; MISTAKE NUMBER 4. 

Now mind you, I thought I was doing good before we went in the store as Bean was walking with me by my side and Buddy was securely fastened in his monkey backpack leash.  I thought, "I have total control."  Boy, was I wrong!    While he's watching his fabric get cut, he drops to the floor like a rock.  If I were a little taller and stronger, he would've been suspended like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible because ladies and gentlemen, that's what it turned into...Mission Freakin' Impossible!  Now at this point, I'm still pretty calm.  Bean is holding all the cut material and still by my side.  Thank you Lord for one cooperating child.  So instead of dragging him by his leash, I pick him up thus enabling the first tantrum of the year.  Oh wait...I forgot to mention that earlier that morning (I sooo should've stayed at home...) it took me almost an hour to get the kids out of their pajamas and into their street clothes.  I was a regular cowgirl, wrangling them, holding down their flailing limbs.  As we're walking he kicks of his boots. 

"Bean, can you please help Mama and grab Buddy's boots?"

"But Mama, I only have two hands." (Remember, she's carrying the fabric.)

"Honey, please.  Mama needs your help."

"Ok."  Mind you, the lady who cut our fabric had this awesome scowl, scrunched looking face on her, I just wanted to run!  Finally, we make it to the checkout.  I have Bean standing by me, holding the fabric (Again, thank you Lord!) and Buddy still screaming his lungs out.  Now, I'm thinking, "There are only  two people in front of me.  I can see the car.  We're almost out of here.  We can do this.  I don't think I can leave the cut fabric...can I?"  So as I'm doing this, Buddy is spread eagle on the floor, screaming bloody murder.  I'm trying to put his boots on, while I'm still in line, but WAIT!  IT DOESN'T MATTER!  Two older women, yes, not one, but two of them, individuals, not together CUT IN FRONT of me and my screaming child.  My eyes, big as they already are, practically bugged out of my head.  But yet, I held my tongue.  I scooped up Buddy, put his boots in my purse, and held my tongue.  He calmed down as we got to the counter.  I paid for our fabric and calmly put them in the car.  I didn't leave the house again that day.

Today was just as fun.  My husband and Bean went sledding so I thought it would be okay to take Buddy out shopping.  We made it through the grocery store, even into the sport store, but heaven forbid we make it in and out of the ice cream shop. 

Here was my mistake.  I decided to order our ice cream on a cone, not in a cup.  He wanted to hold the cone, but the shop we were at, he wouldn't be able to hold onto the cone and the bar stool without falling off.  So I told him I would hold it.  The kid went bonkers.  He fell to the floor, got himself stuck.  Sadly, I took that opportunity to go and pay so I could scoop him up and get the heck out of Dodge.  But he apparently wasn't good and stuck as he scrambled out, shoeless again, around the back counter of the shop.  The server cornered him and I scooped him up, holding my wallet and the cone.  Here came the bloody murder screaming yet again.  I apologized to the server.  Not a peep.  But again, that look of, "get control of your kid."  It wasn't the "I'm sorry, been there." kind of look, but a look of "You kind of suck being a parent."  Ugh.  I get out of the store and wiggles himself free of my grasp, gets the ice cream all over his jacket and rolls on the floor, still shoeless.  I laid the ice cream on the floor because I needed to get some sort of control over him to calm him down and get in the car.  It was like time stood still.  People in the hallway of the building and outside the building were watching us.  I wanted to run!  I wanted to hide my face to hide my embarassment because I didn't have control of the situation.  I got him in the car and let him cry. 

My heart was hurting.  Why has there been these episodes?  Especially to this extent?  I mean, I have been home more in the last 2 months than I have in quite awhile.  I have been trying to develop a better relationship with my kids, but yet, they still act like they don't want me.  It hurts.

And then I pause.

I'm NOT a perfect parent, but God is!  I sit back and I look at my children's behavior and shamefully see myself.  Not to the outright screaming, tantrum throwing, but the downright disobedience.  The "I'm not going to do it because I don't want to" attitude.  God doesn't yell at me.  He doesn't look at me in anger.  He showers me with more love.  He gently breaks me and molds me into the best creation yet.  Granted he has to do it practically everyday because, well let's face it, I'm not perfect. 

No matter what I do, God is always parenting me with his very best because he is the best.  It's times like this that I so desperately need his abundant grace to shower down and flood my heart so that I can pour that into my own parenting.  God is good. 

After today's episode, Buddy and I read together for his night time stories, tickled, laughed, and sang.  That right there showed me that no matter how crazy it can be, God loves me through my children.

**Our craft.  It's a seat pocket to help clear the kitchen table for eating.**

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