Oh deareth. It was me-eth. Here’s how our morning went.
For a while now I have been wanting to do a project that featured the fruit of the Spirit. First it was going to be a sign, then a series of mini canvases linked by ribbon. However my 11 year old had made clothes peg wreaths as Christmas gifts and we had one left over. Cut to me Mod Podging papers onto a wreath and attaching painted clothes pegs in fun colors.
Last night I wrote out the nine fruit, attached them, photographed it and put it on the internet. At the bottom of the wreath is our current verse of the week: ‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’
This morning the kids had art class, and we were late. My daughter has been making Valentine’s cupcakes to raise money to go to our church’s Youth Winter Camp, and her art teacher had asked me for another jar of my Josie’s English Kitchen chutney.
I have been trying to teach my kids about responsibility and time-keeping. I tell them in advance when we’re going to leave so (I intend) giving them time to recognize what they need to do to get organized by then, and what they need to bring.
This morning, one of our three beloved dogs puked pink frosting (from afore-mentioned cupcake world) spectacularly onto the living room carpet. This took far longer than I planned to clear up. Whatever e numbers they put in that stuff they are tenacious and wrong.
So I was running late. My son had got it together, but my daughter was also running late.
I got the chutney (one of my prized last three jars), organized the cupcakes into different tins for the customers at art, closed the dogs in the kitchen and headed out the door.
We were already late. The class is 20 minutes away and it was already 9.32 for a class that begins at 9.30. (A class which, may I add, I am paying for).
My son runs out of the house skateboard in tow. Then my beautiful tween daughter runs out of the house in nothing but leggings and a light summer T. Admittedly we live in California and the temperature in Feb can reach 81 degrees, but this was the morning, and their art class takes place in a friend’s garage.
“Where’s your jacket?”
“I don’t need one!”
“Yes you do! Get it! …NOW!”
I am standing on the doorstep keys in hand with cupcakes and chutney precariously piled in my arms. As I turn, annoyed, to re-open the front door, the upper tin holding half the cupcakes and the jar of chutney beside it slide elegantly to the ground and the chutney smashes. Loudly.
There is an extremely tense moment of silence. I press my fingers into my eyes. My daughter holds her breath.
“Well get it then! GET IT!!” I hiss. And so it began. My tirade at all things wrong.
I storm down the path: “Get in the car! GET IN THE CAR!!” Two small people scurry into their seats, Monster Mom climbs into the driver’s seat only to conclude with a final and oh-so-unnecessary couple of choice comments.
For ten minutes we are silent.
As I drive, all I can see in my mind’s eye is that blooming wreath. Laughing at me.
“Oh really, Josie? Love, joy, peace, patience? Woohoo! Well done.”
“How about Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness? Yippee! Way to go, Mama.”
“And – last but not least – (everyone’s favorite) how about SELF CONTROL!! Mother of the Year, they’ll be calling you as soon as you get home.”
I keep driving in silence. And then I remember the text we’ve been memorizing this week: ‘God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’ Ding ding ding ding! MASSIVE FAIL.
I broke the silence. “OK, so both you (my daughter) and I have accomplished massive fails this morning, don’t you think?” She nods. “You for your reasons, and me for not doing the very thing we have been talking about ALL WEEK. I gave in to temptation. I am so sorry. I needn’t have lost my temper. I had a choice. I really am, truly, sorry.”
Taking that photo of the wreath and putting it on social media was asking for it I suppose. The voice in my head, “Oh sure, Josie. Everyone thinks you’re really HOLY NOW. Ahahahahahahahahaha!”
I asked the kids for forgiveness and SJ asked mine. We giggled. We hugged (a bit – I was driving). We started talking about other stuff. We made it to art. We were late but kingdoms didn’t fall.
When we got home, I realized there was a crucial part of the wreath that was missing – its center. So I added it:
Who has the last laugh? I think surely it must be the person who can – after everything – still laugh at themselves.