Here’s the song reference.
Mondays tend to be a little trying at our house; the tribe really enjoys having Daddy home for the weekend, and visiting with Nonno and Deedaw on Sundays. The extra attention and fun outings are grand; there are things that, given the ages of our children, are tough for me to do without another adult around, so we tend to pack those things into Saturday and Sunday. When the first day of Daddy’s work week dawns, all four tiny people are a little glum, and more prone than usual to snarkiness — let’s make that screaminess and whininess. I’ve tried outings, playdates, extra-super-special art projects, music, prayers, movies, chores that separate combatants, art projects that separate combatants, science projects, cooking, playing outside, bubbles, using the bathtub as a pool, letting them make phone calls, extended storytimes, naps, rational explanations, and about a thousand other strategies, and have finally come to the conclusion that, for the time being, Mondays will generally be replete with opportunities for me to offer up small sufferings to Christ.
Yesterday was, of course, a Monday. The first sound I heard from each of the first three wakeful blessings was a scream. Baby Guy gets a pass for his, because he was hungry; Bugaboo and Beanie were just screaming at each other. There is apparently some deadly insult among little girls that involves referring to one’s sister as either a yak or a tree, and once that insult is offered, a full day of combat is required to restore the honor of the offended party. I spent a great deal of time explaining the concept of forgiveness to our daughters yesterday, sometimes in less-than-dulcet tones. Mr. Man helpfully followed me around, his hands waving, hollering at his sisters, “Not nice! No throw! No push button!”
Of course, he followed his admonitions by hurling blocks across the kitchen and resetting the cable box so the on-screen menus appeared in French. Mondays. It was at that point I decided that a run to the store for milk and eggs was in order, partly so that I could separate them all by strapping them into their car seats. As I put it to a friend, it was the sort of day that causes me to frequently thank the Lord for children who have large vocabularies and no speech delays, and to recall that since the Lord will send what I ask him for in faith, causes me to pray for wisdom instead of patience.
I’ll spare you the play-by-play. By dinnertime, I was about at my wits’ end; once four tiny people were safely ensconced at the table with their meals, I grabbed my Kindle and headed out to the back porch to read and listen to a little Scott Joplin on my Kindle (click the link, listen to something beautiful), and tune out any noise that did not indicate a life-threatening emergency for a few minutes. I decided to check Facebook as well; sometimes laughing at the silly pictures reminds me to be joyful. Unfortunately, what I found was a terse and unresponsive response to an invitation to Beanie’s upcoming birthday party. Sighing and composing responses of varying degrees of appropriateness in my head, I went back upstairs to investigate the source of the banging noise (potentially life-threatening, at our house).
Having ascertained that no one was in immediate danger, and having counseled Mr. Man that banging on the refrigerator with a spoon purloined from Bugaboo is not an acceptable method of music-making, I started making the rounds to see who wanted seconds of what dish. Bugaboo scrutinized me for a moment, then inquired, “Nobody’s being very nice today, are they?” I concurred with her assessment, and added that even people who weren’t at our house were being somewhat rude. She considered that for a moment, then asked, “But we have to forgive them anyway, right?”
Yep. “We do, honey. Just like I forgive you, but still expect you to not keep doing it. If you keep saying nasty things, or saying things in a nasty way, I’ll still forgive you, because God forgives me, but don’t be surprised if other people don’t want to be around you if you keep doing it. We’re supposed to love each other, right?”
“Do we love each other by being snotty when someone didn’t do something exactly the way we wanted them to?”
“Right. Do you want seconds of anything?”
“Is there more macaroni and cheese, please?”
Today’s prayer: Lord, Your law tells us that we must forgive each other’s trespasses as many times as others trespass against us, because You forgive us infinitely more times than we forgive others. Thank You for Your little blessings, at least one of whom already understands that. Please help me teach them what love is, and what love is not, and that love is more readily shown in kind treatment of others than by ostentatious trappings and public declarations of one’s great love for and faith in You — and help me show it in my conduct on the days when they are trying to break the world record for the decibel level of screaming and whining.