I ate my lunch in the bathtub yesterday.
A big bowl of the best comfort food ever.
And I was in need of comfort.
While Jackson napped, I ate chicken spaghetti and soaked.
I needed a timeout.
A timeout from snow days.
A timeout from motherhood.
A timeout from the tantrum I’d just had in front of my three-year-old.
I was sick of being cooped up in the house.
I could not handle watching Alvin and the Chipmunks for the 5,624 time.
I was tired of cleaning up messes only to find another one a few minute later.
I had been looking forward to lunch with a grown-up and a few kid-free hours, but a couple inches of snow had gotten in the way.
I had bundled Jackson up to go outside to play in the snow before it evaporated from the warmth of the sun.
He would play in the white fluff all day if I let him.
In between snapping a few photos, I repeated myself a thousand times, only for my words to fall on deaf ears.
Jackson, you need to get off the driveway and play in the yard. You’re going to fall again.
He had fallen flat on his booty a few minutes earlier, finding it hilarious.
Now he was inching closer and closer to the ice while completely ignoring my warnings.
If you don’t listen we are going inside.
He ignored me. I could feel the frustration rising.
So in we went.
Jackson squirmed and bucked as I tried to get his wet winter clothes off.
Be still. You’re soaked.
Within a matter of seconds things went from bad to worse.
Maybe he didn’t want to come in? Maybe he didn’t want to take his clothes off? Maybe he was just being a three-year-old boy? Maybe he didn’t like that I had raised my voice at him?
But he couldn’t tell me what was wrong, so he hit me.
And I raised my voice even louder.
Right there in the entry hall I had a nasty little tantrum.
You need to listen to me!!
And Jackson looked at me, with tears streaming down his face, like I had horns growing out of my head.
And then I cried, too.
Because he can’t tell me what’s going on in his little mind.
So he deals with the frustration by hitting or pushing or pinching.
And I have to decide if he’s just being three or if his behavior stems from his desperation to communicate.
I took a few breaths. I sent a text to John for the sake of my sanity.
Then I bent down and looked Jackson in the eyes.
Those brown eyes that sparkle; that look at me like I’m the greatest mom in the world when I feel anything but.
I’m sorry bud. Mommy made a mistake. Sometimes she needs a timeout, too.
And then he did something I didn’t deserve.
He wrapped his little arms around my neck, crawled into my lap, and acted like nothing ever happened.
And in that moment I was reminded of grace.
I whispered a prayer as the tears fell fast.
A prayer for forgiveness, for help, for strength.
And I heard Him whisper back: I remember your sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
And because of His amazing grace, it’s like nothing ever happened.