For the Love


Photo credit to Pinterest

I woke up early Valentine’s morning.  I prepared a full course breakfast for my boys:  heart shaped pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, and fresh orange juice.  I decorated for the holiday with a Valentine’s themed tablecloth, balloons, and confetti.  My Pinterest boards came to life!  Connor and Graham woke up excited and appreciative of all my hard work.  After our fun Valentine’s breakfast we checked off a few things on our school list before heading to Barnes & Noble for story time.  They both sat completely still during story time.  Graham didn’t even try to run off!  Lunch was lovely.  We went on a double-date, just me & my two boys.  We didn’t eat at our usual Chick-fil-a.  We ate a full meal at Whole Foods Market and had full, meaningful conversation.

At least this is how I had envisioned it…

None of that is true except we did go to Barnes & Noble story time.  And we did end up at Whole Foods for lunch.  The rest is fantasy.

Our morning started alright.  No, I didn’t prepare a beautiful Valentine’s spread but my boys are easily pleased.  Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon hit the spot for them.  {Well, maybe they had cereal…}  We didn’t have time to get any school done before going to Barnes & Noble for story time.  I gave a Barnes & Noble Prep speech in the parking lot and was convinced we’d have a problem-free, dis-obedience-free time at one of my favorite spots.  I treated us all to our favorite Starbucks drinks:  vanilla latte for myself, vanilla milk for Connor, chocolate milk for Graham.  Story time itself went as it usually does.  But something happened towards the end.  They started to no longer fit into my perfect behavior cookie cutter.  It’s all a blur now.  I just know I was stressed, frustrated, and down right mad.  As I tried to herd them out of Barnes & Noble, the chocolate milk carton that I thought was empty began leaking chocolate milk  on my new cream colored shirt.  (I know, trivial.  But come on, you’ve been there!)  After 1,000 “Come on, Graham”s, “Connor, I said it’s time to go”s, and “Graham, stay with me”s, we made it to the counter.  I had ordered a Bible for Connor.  It was his Valentine’s gift and I was told it’d be in by Thursday (Valentine’s Day).  Guess what?  They didn’t have it.  The lady behind the counter said it wasn’t set to come in until the 18th.  Not cool Barnes & Noble!  By the time we were in the car I had had it!  We were going back to my parents to eat, we were absolutely not going out for a special Valentine’s lunch!  It just so happened that Derek was in the area and he met up with us.  Yes, I called in reinforcement.  After a little pow wow I took back what I said about lunch and apologized for my outburst.  We went to Whole Foods for pizza, everyone stayed with me, and we even had cookies.  However, a whole cup of lemonade was spilled, some even made it on my shirt (it went well with the chocolate milk).  And while we’re at it, why not add pizza sauce and chocolate chip cookie to my shirt as well!

It was time to go home.

Seemed safe.  And it was for a little while.  As I was back in our room taking care of some laundry, bills, and the such, I heard a loud crash, glass shattering, followed by the sound of a 3 year old cry.  I ran down the hall to find Graham pinned under the fireplace cover (the decorative kind).  A candle stand with a glass globe laid shattered next to him.  Thankfully Graham was fine.  Scared but not hurt.  Just as I was cleaning it all up Derek walked in the door.  Just in time.  

I was ready for bed.  Ready for a do-over.

The next day as I thought about how horrible our day before had been I realized that much of my bad day was due to my ownunmet expectations.  Sure, there were frustrating things about my day (i.e. disobedient kids, more food on my clothes than we ate, shattered glass) but these things are really just part of life with children.  But it was Valentine’s Day!  It’s suppose to be all about love.  It’s suppose to be fun and cute.  But it wasn’t.  It was real.  And I had the opportunity to really love my boys.  Like love them when they weren’t quite  lovable.  Love them because they are mine not because they make my life easy or because they allow me to make life about me.  I had the opportunity to show them how God loves.  He loves me in Christ despite my failures.  Despite the fact that I was impatient with my kids, despite the fact that I was selfish towards them, despite the fact that I wallowed in self-pity because my day didn’t g0 how I wanted it to.

I’m learning so much through my parenting.  Not because I’m a great parent.  Quite the opposite!  I’m learning so much as a parent because my Heavenly Father is a good father and shows me grace and mercy through my failed parenting.  I see my need for Him.  I see His love for me.


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