I texted my husband: "Today is a bad day."
Because it was.
First the child woke up early, bright eyed and bushy tailed squealing "I woke you up! I woke you up!" And I was all...
Then we needed to get going to take Daddy to work so we could have the car for the day and a certain 45 inch tall person didn't wanna go out in the cold. And I was all...
Making a choice for breakfast was a drawn out process. Apparently the choice between oatmeal, apple slices 'n' cookie butter or yogurt was just too much for one little person to make. And I was all...
After finally getting her to pick one, getting her to EAT the breakfast she chose (apple slices and cookie butter if you were dying to know) was an uphill battle that took up most of our morning. And I was all....
Next we needed to get moving if we were ever going to make it to swim class, but getting her to focus on the simple task of getting naked was apparently beyond her grasp. And I was all....
When I came down (after a quick, much needed, round of candy crush) she was deep in play with her My-Little-Ponies with no socks on her feet. In fact the socks were nowhere to be found. And. I. Was. All..
No joke. I lost it.
For whatever reason those socks were my tipping point and I melted down.
I'm not proud to say that my voice went a few decibels louder than usual or that I threatened with a punishment I had no intention of following through on or that I foamed at the mouth a bit.... maybe I was just imagining that last one. But I was not a happy, nurturing, loving Mommy at that point.
But I wasn't really as angry at her. I was angry at me.
Because I had failed.
It was all over.
We could all label my parenting career a failure because of the socks.
The socks told me I was not made for this, apparently. I was not able to perform the simple tasks of feeding my child and getting her dressed in a timely manner. I'm pretty sure they don't let you leave the hospital without being able to do both of these and here I am 4.75 years in and I couldn't do it....because of socks.
The socks told me she's never going to learn how to really read. I mean if I can't even hold her attention long enough to get her to put socks on there's no way we're going to get past lesson 8 of McGuffey Primer. Ever. Counting past 15 isn't going to happen either or handwriting anything past the four similar letters of her nickname. Forget history, science or anything that required logical, independent thought. She would peak at a 3rd grade level at 14 years of age... because of socks.
The socks told me that anything I have been trying to instill in her was all for naught. She would eventually shun her childhood beliefs for the pleasures of the world. Eventually she would leave our Jesus-loving home to move in with some guy named Mike, who insists on being called "Blaze", a 24 year old who works behind the counter of a bowling alley biding his time until he gets discovered for his "installation art". (Which is supergluing pocket change on the floors of malls and shopping centers.) He'd get sick of the art scene here in Syracuse and the two of them would move out to Portland to live in a warehouse with "some guys he knows". She'd stop answering our calls on the cell phone we bought for her when we told her we weren't sending her any more money until she came home for a visit, eventually trashing it and falling off the radar. No matter how many phone calls we made to the Portland authorities they wouldn't be any closer to locating her than we were when we flew out twice a year just to look for her for two weeks. Six years later we'd get a call from a shelter in LA from a broken woman that was once our daughter asking to come home...... because of socks.
I, apparently, needed someone to talk me off the ledge.
My husband did the best he could. He reassured that I was a good mom. That she was ultimately a good girl. That we were just having a rough morning.
I wiped the tears from my face, blew my nose, squared my shoulders for the battle ahead and went out the door.
Off we went to the Y: the girl, myself and my doubts.
Eventually we settled in on the bleachers (miraculously a few minutes early) and she started chatting with her friend, the only other girl in the class. They were comparing swimsuits, the conversation went like this:
My Girl: "Oh, I like your swimsuit."
Friend: "Thanks, iz got princesses on it."
MG: "Yeah! It's got Rapunzel.."
F: "An' Snow White AN' Cinderella!"
MG: "Yeah! You should have Ariel on it, too. She swims like a fish."
F: "No. No Ariel on it."
MG: "Do you know Ariel? She used to be a mermaid."
F: "Yeah! I have the Ariel movie at home!"
MG: "Oh, I don't..... But you know what? I have Moses!"
MG: "You know Moses?"
F: -shakes head-
MG: "You know.... Moses and Rameses and God in the bush?"
F: -silent stare-
MG: "From the Bible? Do you know the Bible?"
F: -shakes head-
MG: "The Bible! You should read it! It's about God and how much he loves us. Jesus loves us, too! He died for you but you don't hafta be sad because he comes back because He loves you!'
Right about then the swim instructor started class.
And I just stared at my daughter in disbelief. Did she just share the gospel with her friend? At four? With no fear? Or doubt at all?
I'm pretty sure I've never done that and I'm a few years older than her.
OK. So we're gonna be OK. She's gonna drag her butt when we need to run. She's gonna run when we should be staying together as a group. She's gonna need to pee at the most inopportune times. She's gonna be "full" when it's time to eat and starving when we're in no place to stop for a snack. She's gonna challenge us and frustrate us and cause me to burst into tears of rage if she times it just right.
But we're gonna be OK because ultimately that very smart girl loves Jesus. And loves the people around her enough to tell them about Jesus and God and how much He loves them.
In the meantime I just gotta get her to swim class once a week.