Yesterday was…well, it was simply a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,” as Alexander would say. If you are not familiar with this book, you can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfkf-bA9kPA
I’ve had many bad days in my life… awful days with my health, stressful financial times, horrible moments when I wasn’t the person I should have been, etc. Well, yesterday was a bad day with my girls. It was one of the worst I’ve had since joining the parenting club. We just were all over each other. My girls were wild, disobedient, mean to each other, constantly whining, complaining, fighting and hurting one another.
I know that most kids have days like this – especially when summer is nearing the end and siblings have been around each other a tad too much. However, the problem wasn’t just in them. I would love to say that I was calm and ignored their dramatic temper tantrums like “good” mommies are “supposed” to do. I wish I could say that I responded in love and patience, like my parenting books teach. I wish I had held my tongue and kept my composure. I should have. But I didn’t. I was tired, cranky and not feeling well. None of us had slept as much as we should have the night before. It showed in our behavior and in our reactions. I raised my voice, they talked back and were disrespectful. It truly felt like every 20 minutes, I was having to reprimand or scold them, yell or try to fix hurt feelings and broken spirits, caused by one of the three of us. Even damage control was exhausting. Of course, this bad day would fall on a “guy’s night out.” Ryan needs his time out just as much as I do and I’m happy he does this regularly. But, it does make the days seem extra long – especially in the summer! 15 hours straight with my girls really got the best of me yesterday.
After one too many sassy remarks, I made my girls write sentences as their consequence. What should have taken my eldest only 20 minutes, turned into another dramatic turn of events. She argued, complained and cried while trying to get out of writing her sentences. She said she felt like she was my “servant” and that it was the “absolute worst day of her entire life.” (Seriously, we have SO much drama in this house!) She also only half-wrote the last ten sentences, which made something she could have finished in minutes, take over an hour. Drained doesn’t even begin to describe my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being at this point.
Their sentences: “I will respect others and obey my parents.”
At the end of the day, I was even too frazzled to pray. *gasp* I know. I skipped our evening prayers. I was just depleted of everything. So, when the day started this morning and I didn’t wake to fighting and screaming, I breathed thanks and I noticed how beautiful my girls laughter sounded. As I made my coffee and cleaned up the house with sweet chatter and loving voices around me, I prayed a quiet thank you. As my adorable 6-year-old climbed in my lap and with expertise and detailed information, began telling me about the superheroes she needed to complete her massive superhero action figure collection, I hugged her and talked for as long as she wanted. I thanked her for being loving and kind to her sister that morning. Even my coffee tasted better with peace in our home. When my eldest apologized for her behavior the day before, I quickly forgave and asked her forgiveness for my behavior in return. I then thanked the Lord for do-overs.
As this day continues, I realize that I am not just thankful for this day… this good, wonderful, calm day that is a stark contrast from yesterday. I am actually thankful more for yesterday. Not just because it’s a “teachable” moment for my girls and I, which it was, but I am thankful for it because I wouldn’t have known how great today was without experiencing the heartache, frustration and pain of yesterday. Without those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days, we wouldn’t fully appreciate the good days. I don’t think I would have truly been as thankful for this day, if I hadn’t known yesterday.
We will always have bad days. As Alexander would say, some days are like that… even in Australia. And as believers, we know that God speaks to us, not only in our joy, but also in our sorrows and pain. Sometimes, I believe it’s where He can do his best work.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18