It's been a long, hard day, and my patience has worn thin.
I got nothing left.
The yahoos are antsy and rubbing me wrong.
So I issue a decree:
Clean up or no movie night.
I give each a specific job and set the timer.
Off they go.
Kiki finishes in record time.
I pat her head and toss her into the crib.
It is very quiet.
I walk towards the bedroom.
As the door opens I gasp.
E v e r y w h e r e.
My lips tremble as the angry words bubble up in my throat.
The green pillow is the final straw.
It is dangling from the curtain rod
Taunting me from above.
I gurgle as I imagine the destruction if it actually slipped from it precarious position.
The shelf with the cds.
The precious moments trinket celebrating Mae's birth.
The sweet jewelry box full of treasure.
Li catches my look, and knows to hide underneath the covers.
I hold my breath.
God help me. Please God help me.
I am too tired.
Way. too. tired.
Li peeks out. She misunderstands the silence. She unknowingly tippie-toes right over the cliff.
"Did you make the popcorn yet?"
What? Popcorn? Are you kidding me?
P o p c o r n?
My head spins a full 360 as the rot gushes out of my mouth.
Why do I say this stuff?
What good does it do?
Why do I fall back into it over and over and over again?
I give myself a time out.
The whispers start.
I am useless.
I am not good for them.
I am no good for Jeff.
They should all be with someone else.
Someone with a healthy body.
Someone more patient.
Someone more tolerant.
Someone with more energy.
Someone with fingers that can cut up veggies.
And stronger arms that can scrub the sink.
Someone who can clean the house.
or someone who does not get grumpy if the house is a mess.
It has been a long time since I have heard these whispers.
But they are there.
They are convincing.
I know I need help.
Somehow I manage to text a dear friend.
Someone I trust.
Someone I can be honest with about how I feel, and I know she will not judge me.
I know she will pray for me.
I know she will be honest with me.
I type it out.
Bare my soul.
I am afraid to hit send.
But I know I need help.
Off it goes.
Mae is standing next to me
She puts her hand on my shoulder and asks me to check her work.
Her hand on my shoulder.
Mae had her hand on my shoulder.
A few weeks back Jeff and I were having a lively discussion about the eldest yahoo.
She can really get under my skin.
When we need to address a certain behavior, she will inevitably do or say something that sets me off.
If Jeff sees me floundering, he will try to signal me to back away.
He will flail his arms. Tap a table.
Stomp a foot.
He looks a bit like a traffic cop.
Or a dog trainer trying to get an unruly pup to obey.
Sit Ubu, sit.
It does not work.
I end up ticked off at him, too.
I asked him to stop with the flag signals and just come alongside me and put his hand on my shoulder.
He scoffed at me.
Now I am sure no one would be compelled to come any where near me when I am shooting off my mouth.
I imagine that would be the last thing Jeff would want to do.
But I asked him to give it a try.
Stand next to me, with your hand on my shoulder.
It helps me feel like you are coming alongside me.
To help me along. Find my way. Get on the right path.
Ya know, it works?
I melt at his touch.
I feel safe. Like I am no longer in this alone.
Not only did it help me.
It helped Jeff.
And it helped Mac.
When Jeff stands next to me, with his hand on my shoulder, he is supporting me.
Like we are a team.
Mac needed to see that.
She needed to see her parents working together.
Anyway, back to Mae, standing next to me.
I am beyond help, just sent that text, and Mae is next to me.
Her hand on my shoulder.
Mom, come check my work.
I melt at her touch, too.
The room is spinning.
Please come, come check my work.
I shuffle down the hall, and into the room.
Everything is in it's place.
Except a package.
It's wrapped in a baby blanket.
There is a note attached.
"Sometimes you make me happy and other times you don't so read through it and try to be more patient."
I love my Mae.
I love my Lord.
I love how He works.
How He works through her.
To work on me.
I unwrap the blanket.
This is what I find.
This is my old hymnal.
Suddenly the phone rings. It is Jeff. He is calling from far away.
How are you sweetie? What's going on?
I cannot speak. I hug the hymnal. I am overwhelmed by God's presence.
Overwhelmed at His care for me.
Astonished at His timing.
Mae is breathing next to me. She leans in to hear.
Her fragrant curls calm my soul.
Are you ok?
How did he know? I melt at Jeff's voice.
So sweet. So reassuring.
I am not alone.
Yes, I say. I am ok.
But he knows better.
Do you want to talk about it?
No, not now. Not right now.
It's all too much.
I cannot speak.
Long before I knew Jeff.
There were lonely nights I would sit at our organ
and peck out the songs I loved with my goofy fingers.
I used to sing as loud as I could.
The words would soothe me.
I did not know what the future held for me back then.
I honestly thought I would be gone by the age of thirty.
I thought my body would just be done.
It would give up.
And God would take me home.
Now, I never dreamed I would have the life I have.
But that is a different story. For a different time.
Back to Mae.
I turn the hymnal carefully and rub the cover.
Just the feel of it softens the hurt.
I finger through the pages and show it to Mae.
Pick one, I say.
We will learn it together.
She sits at the piano and starts to finger the keys.
A few tries and she's got it.
I peck away at the harmony and she is delighted.
And we sing...
Her eight year old voice just reaching the notes
My middle aged alto rasping along
My faith has found a resting place
Not in device nor creed.
I trust the ever living God
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument
I need no other plea
It is enough that Jesus died
And that He died for me.
Mae's voice strengthens as she comprehends the words...
Enough for me that Jesus saves
This ends my fear and doubt
A sinful soul I come to Him
He'll never cast me out...
My heart is leaning on the Word
The written word of God
Salvation by my saviors name
Salvation through His blood.
Mae is swaying by now, bound together with the music
and her Lord...
My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save,
For me His precious blood He gave,
For me His life He gave...
I need no other argument
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
and that He died for me.
I look at her and see...
There is no doubt in my mind now.
No whispering voices any more.
Just the pure powerful word of God
and the sweet song of Mae.
It is enough.