Dear Momma, So It’s A No Good, Very Bad Day
We all have them. Days filled with grumpies, from daybreak to nightfall. Eyes open and attitudes begin. If I’m being honest, it’s usually my heart of sin that is setting the tone for the day. It’s the days where every hour is met with another opposition. One bad thing snowballs into a no, good very bad day. Let me tell you the story of the epic Mardel meltdown of Christmas 2018.
My sweet old widowed neighbor, “Miss Elmo” as my daughter affectionately nicknamed her, got my girls the most generous Christmas gift bags, spilling over with all the girls’ favorite things (and even a gift card for mommy and daddy too!) In my haze of mothering two toddlers at Christmastime, I forgot to reciprocate her thoughtful gift. That meant a last minute stop, with all the other last minute shoppers, to her favorite store, Mardel.
Mistake number two was trying to make this shopping trip happen in the middle of naptime. Crazy train, passenger for one! I really wanted my oldest daughter to feel involved in the gift buying process. We were trying to teach her how to cultivate a generous spirit, which feels impossible during that time of the year for any child to grasp. She was allowed to slowly browse the merchandise in freedom. Her younger sister, however, was restrained in the confines of the shopping basket. You can probably guess how she felt about that. I can tell you with great certainty, no one in the store had to guess her emotions that day.
She made herself perfectly clear, in the only way she knew how, that she hated that cart with a fiery 1 year old passion. (Picture baby Jack Jack from the Incredibles 2) I took her out in attempts to appease her. Rookie mistake number fifty for the day. She threw herself down to the ground, in a epic tantrum flair. As she violently kicked and screamed, hit and clawed, slapped and cried, all I kept thinking was, “Jesus literally exists in every square inch of this place, but my shining light is about to burst into flames.”
I wish I could say that I reacted in the perfect way, but I’m human. Angry words let loose and I did something I swore I would never do before I became a mom, I bought her a toy to keep the peace. Oh to be naive again, blissfully unaware that those expectations of motherhood are rooted in a whole bunch of junk.
We made it through that day, although the rest of it was a blur of one tiny thing after another. Once those small bad moments start to stockpile, like a looming stack of dishes, eventually it all comes crashing down.
I am reminded of a scene from one of my favorite shows, This is Us. Two of the triplets siblings, Kate and Randall, are reminiscing about a day in their childhood. The memory is presented in a very opposing way. Randall remembers his dad being extremely distant, dismissive, and frustrated, culminating in him blowing up at the kids in an angry plate throwing tyrade. Kate remembers the day with great nostalgia, filled with an epic sequin fight and the day their infamous family favorite pizza was born. But there was something poetically powerful in the lesson of that day.
All we can hope for is to tip the scales in our favor. To have the good days outweigh the bad for our kids.
Later in the episode, Randall gave Kate another one of his nuggets of parenting wisdom, “you hope that the good stuff sticks.” As a momma to a girl gang, I’m no stranger to glitter crafts. Thousands of tiny specks are thrown at the page, like the memories of the days in our lives. Only a few hundred might stick to the page, but those that remain are shiny and glisten with glowing staying power.
We have a great model for exactly what it takes to make our good days stick. It is modeled in the forgiveness and grace our our Savior. God’s forgiving love and endless grace is something I cling to as a mom. I would never make it through a bad day without it. “And he gives grace generously.” James 4:6a
My no good, very bad day could be another day that falls to the wasteland of memories, or it could become a shining spot in the heart of my child, and maybe even more importantly in mine.
So, I need to tell you how our day ended. After the clouds of the stormy day blew away, we got a glimpse of heaven. It was in the form of a sweet prayer request from my oldest. She asked God, “help mommy when she has a bad day and it’s ok if she does.” There it was. Grace in the face of a child, my child. I am so thankful for a God who understands me to the very depths. Who anticipated my bad days and laid out His hands, gifting me enough grace to cover today, plus a little extra to share with my girls.
The sun rose on a new day, the impression of it isn’t imprinted on me like the messiness of my no good, very bad one. But I feel confident in saying that we woke up with the grace of God renewed in our hearts, because of the prayers of grace from my little girl and the forgiveness of our Heavenly Father.