“Emma Claire, you look just like your Mother.”
Like, yes, I know.
There’s no enthusiasm.
And she doesn’t say thank you. I suppose she’s not sure if it’s a compliment or not.
She recently told me she’ll probably die before her friends because I had her when I was old.
I tried explaining that it didn’t work that way, but then I stopped.
Wait. What? You think I’m old?
So maybe she’s not thrilled with the idea of looking like her tired, old mother.
Here’s a little secret, Emma Claire. You don’t just look like your Mother.
You act a little bit like her as well.
OK so y’all know I’ve been working on the soft answer.
The quiet answer.
But I always fail.
I don’t have a quiet answer. There’s too much of my Aunt Ida Margaret running through my head and she, while many wonderful things, was not quiet.
Especially if you made her mad.
So Emma Claire’s intelligent, opinionated and high-spirited. She’s strong-willed, easily offended and slightly sensitive.
Wait. That’s not me.
And lately. She talks back.
With Coulter I forbid the use of the word, ‘but’.
If he was going to talk back he had to be more creative. At least come up with a “however” every now in then.
Emma Claire is more clever. She doesn’t use the word but. But, she uses so many other words that are way beyond an almost 1st graders vocabulary that I get confused, frustrated and then I sing.
This week, after a terribly frustrating and draining episode, I told Emma Claire that she owed me an apology.
And that she had to write it down.
A few minutes later she comes up with a note.
I’m sore Mom. I don’t want to (talk back) but you jus mak me sooo mad.
And I’ve thought about that all day.
I want to give a soft answer. I want to ignore mean people, bitter people, not-an-ounce-of-class people, but like Emma Claire.
They just make me so mad.
From Romans. I do the very thing that I do not want to do! I do not understand my own actions because I do not do what I want to. But I do the very thing that I hate.
Ack! When I feel attacked unfairly I become a 6-year-old!
Last week, after a long day that was supposed to be fun but turned out to be the very most opposite of fun. Wait. What is the opposite of fun?
Anyway after a day like that and doing the very thing that I didn’t want to do, after forgetting to ignore and forgetting the soft answer, I was tired.
My nephews were visiting from Dallas. We met my ex-husband in a McDonald’s parking lot and said goodbye for the next 5 days. It’s always those weird ones….different town, swapping’ kids in a parking lot…that break my heart.
I am weeping. I don’t know if I can this anymore. Except, ya know, I have to.
I. Am. So. Tired.
My ex-husband comes to the van to say hello to my nephews. It’s been 4 years since they’ve seen him and Logan, 13 and a complete southern gentleman, reaches out his hand and says, “Hello, Sir.” (He also calls my husband, “Mr. Mike.” even though I started charging him a quarter every time he said it!)
You don’t just lose a husband. You lose an entire family.
Tears pouring, I shut the door, gave the ASL “I love you” sign in a manner that would give passer-byes the idea that I may not see my children again for many years and we drove off.
“Ya know,” Logan says, (who, by the way, has a filter that’s broken), “I like how y’all get along and how y’all are nice to each other.” Unfortunately I can’t tell you what else he said but in his filterless-manner just pointed out that not all the adults we deal with are quite that nice.
“Yes, Logan. I like that too.”
“And ya know what else?” Logan, continues. “His face looks fatter.
And his hair is flatter.”
(In fairness to the kids’ dad, his face is actually thinner.)
And we laughed. At the absurdity of the whole day. We laughed.
Later Micah, 16, who’s extremely talented and smart and played the ukulele at the Fremont Skate Park for money, said “Aunt Myra Katherine, you look tired.”
“I am tired, Micah.”
And I proceeded to talk to my nephews about Christ and about God’s love and His grace and no matter how often we do things we don’t want to do, there is grace. And we can’t out run it.
Because all is grace. Everything.
“Boys, because of God’s grace for us, we are called to have grace for others. Yada yada yada…la la la….”
“And some days I remember that. I remember grace. And other days?”
They look at me. Ready. Open. Willing to learn-
“Other days? I just wanna punch ’em in the face.”
And they laughed.
Thinking of Aunt Myra Katherine punching someone in the face was funnier, even, than the lady in St. Joe who had armpit hair.
And trust me.
That was funny.
I’ve learned a lot this week. First, I’m going to need a second mortgage to feed our boys as they get older. Second, at some point children start sleeping.
I seriously can’t wait!
And third. When I get mad, I have a tendency to act like a 6-year-old.
Yesterday I took Emma Claire back to school shopping. She had to read her list and find the supplies.
When we got home, she emptied her crayons and meticulously placed them in the pencil box by color. Next came the markers. They didn’t quite fit.
I watched in awe and a little bit of horror.
She’s not me afterall. I would so not organize a box of crayons.
What is the point?
She worked for about 10 minutes and said, “Oh well. Does it really matter?”
Then tossed all the crayons together.
Now that’s my girl.
And yes. Does it really matter? Do I always have to be right? Can I have a soft answer?
Can I simply rest in His peace that surpasses all understanding and know that even this, especially this, is not outside his loving plan?
Somedays it feels as if I get it wrong 10 times out of 9.
And it’s on those days that I’m amazed anew at just how sweet His grace really is.
It saves a wretch like me.
Oh bless my own dang heart! 🙂