Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sparkling Water

      It had been a long day of groceries and errands. The mist shrouding us begged for a camera; beauty is never wasted on these hungry eyes. Leaving town, we crested the last hill, revealing our mountains and flooding me with peace. Still eighteen miles to go. Home.

5:00. Nothing planned for dinner. I go to the freezer and get out some pork chops to grill. Why didn't I get these out this morning? Oh well. It will give me time to sautee the apples and brussel sprouts. We manage to get the groceries put away, amidst the chaos of eight hungry children and bags everywhere.

I treated myself today. I'm going to be forty soon, and I bought a special drink to celebrate.

photo credit: Emily Smithdeal

My mother fixed this for me when we were at the beach this summer: sparkling water, cranberry juice, all sweetened with a little homemade sugar syrup (sugar boiled in water to make a syrup). YUM!
I had the sparkling water up on the counter (as a muse? I don't know). was there...waiting for ME! Ninety-nine out of  a hundred days, I rarely give a thought to the fact that nothing is really *mine* in our house. With ten other people, half of them ten and under, "mine"  is a non-existent word.

As I was typing this, John Paul walked in and said with a distressed voice, "Mother, I just made the horrible discovery that people just 'take a brush' when it's time to brush teeth. Can you please buy me a toothbrush? That's not asking too much to have my own toothbrush!!!" Dare I admit he was being serious? And do you realize that long ago we should have bought stock in toothbrush-making companies, because we own so many? It's not my fault he didn't do a better job hiding his toothbrush!

Back to the sparkling water. There it sat on the counter, undisturbed, when WHOOOMPF! Faster than lightning, one of my sweet children (one who is old enough to know better), grabs the sparkling water from the counter, looks at it, and opens it, all in a matter of a milisecond.

I am embarassed to admit how childish I was acting. I mean I just blew a fuse. As in, you would have thought he was touching a hand grenade about to go. He hightailed it so fast out of the kitchen, he probably thought it was a hand grenade!

Within two seconds, I felt the shame. The shame of being so impatient. The shame of getting so upset over a little bottle of seltzer water. The frustration of once again failing to model a Christ-like attitude to my children. The pain of failure.

I called a shocked little boy back into the kitchen and apologized. I hugged him and explained as best I could why the 'outburst.' There was a time in my parenting when I really struggled with impatience and frustration, but over the years, I have gotten so much better- in fact so much better that I didn't think I would ever get upset over something so little.

Back to humility. Back to realizing that it is only through God's amazing grace that I'm not a mess with the children every day! Back to thanking God for his infinte mercy that allows us to start fresh every moment. I am learning all over again, that apart from God, I AM NOTHING!

So what happened next? I decided to make my celebration drink right then and there! Emily joined me, and she actually wanted to take these pictures...and even set up a little cheese and cracker plate.

photo credit: Emily Smithdeal
 As I was making dinner, the children were getting a little antsy, and I felt frustration let them paint! Sure, it was a little messy, but it kept them happy and quiet until supper was ready, and no more tears!

Tommy paints "a jail"

Emily helepd me fix the dinner. "My favorite smell in the world is cooking Brussel sprouts!" (How do you like that, Pa Pa?)

We had a delicious meal, sparkling water and all!