I cooked dinner last night.
But like, really. I mean, I didn’t use the microwave and all the pans in the house were dirty.
I made white rice and sprinkled parsley on top. (Does parsley even work on white rice? I don’t know about these things. It just looked fancy.) I boiled broccoli. I made creamy spinach. And meatballs. Okay, typing that out sounds very unimpressive, hodgepodge, and kind of disgusting, but my girls were thrilled. It was all of their favorite things and their plates looked really exciting.
I was compensating for the past few days, because I’d been sick. I’ve spent the past week basically lying on the floor in the crumbs of my children’s snacks, letting them sit on my head and throw things on top of me.
Actually, that’s what I wish I’d done all week. Instead, these people still expected me to wipe their butts and treat their invisible boo boos and feed them and dress them and, you know, all of the things.
Really, it was just the baby that was unsympathetic. My five-year-old was mostly amazing. She entertained herself and helped me. She was great, which is why I felt guilty. I don’t know what that is, but I just felt so bad for her, being trapped with a moaning, grumpy, miserable mom.
Here’s just a small example of what her life has been like this week. She held back tears a couple nights ago as she whimpered about how her microwaved Trader Joe’s turkey corn dog was soggy from the canned pea water that had spilled onto its side of the plate. Truly, it was disgusting. But I was at death’s door (common cold), so I just couldn’t even with a replacement meal.
A soggy pea-water corn dog was all I had to give.
Hence, the all-out, gourmet, parsley sprinkled feast last night.
So, after dinner, Brandon helped me with bath time and I got the baby to sleep. Just as she’d craned her neck into the position that tells me she’s ready to be laid in her crib without a fight, Ever started crying, “Booooooooop, Boooooooooop…”
I tip toed over to Ever and mean-whispered with all my might that she needed to BE QUIET WHEN I WAS TRYING TO PUT SISSY TO SLEEP. She looked at me, so forlorn, and I had one of those floating-overhead moments where I could see my little 5-year-old baby who needed her Boop, not a big, jerky mommy.
My glorious rice and meatball concoction wasn’t enough. I also needed to be sweet. And patient. And always Boop-aware. My heart whispered, “I will never succeed.”
After laying the baby in her bed, I scooped my big one up, found her misplaced Boop and brought her downstairs with me. We sat on the oversized chair together and talked for hours and made Boop a birth certificate.
So, here’s what I realized when I went to bed.
No magical amount of cooking, overcompensating, or Boop-birth-certificate-creating will ever make me feel like I’m a “great mom,” because while I still live in this broken world, I’m going to keep on being a broken person who needs Jesus every breath of every day.
I will be sick. I will be sinful. No craft or kitchen concoction will ever make up for my daily failures.
It’s mind boggling to think about how many things I can manage to do wrong in just one day. But, that’s the whole point, isn’t it.
Romans 3:23 tells me that I’m bad and so is everyone else.
That’s why I need Jesus. And my girls need Jesus because sometimes all I have to give is anger and pea-water corn dogs. Sometimes I am weak, but I’m never unloved.
I’ll never master mom-ness or goodness, but Jesus gives me every good and perfect gift anyway. His parsley placement is always perfect.
I just hope that when my girls write their memoirs, they remember that in my flaws and weaknesses, I was desperately clinging to a God good enough to make me look like Him sometimes.