Moms are given many gifts when they hand us the baby in the delivery room, or in my case the operating room. It’s like a magic wand gets waved across our forehead and bippity boppity boo here you go—Mom Dust. The gift of multi tasking. Who else can brown a roast, fold towels, check math homework, and make a grocery list all at the same time with a baby on their hip except for a mom? The gift of discernment. Who else knows when you need a band-aid and a sucker versus when you need a tetanus shot and stitches, when a B is really a B or when a B should have been an A therefore you’re grounded, when no bath Friday can extend into no bath Saturday except for a mom? The gift of reading her people’s minds. Or even other people’s minds for that matter. Like when my husband walked out the bedroom this morning to make his breakfast I knew the first thing he would say is We’re out of mayonnaise. There’s nothing for breakfast. Because waffles, eggs, toast and cereal aren’t breakfast food. When he leaves for the store–with a list– he will text me 3 times to ask a question about something on the list and then when I don’t respond he will call. He will also call two more times from the store.
Because we are given this gift, it’s easy to get caught up thinking other non-moms have the same gift. So then we start to take things for granted and we mistakenly assume other people can read our minds as well. We think that we don’t have to spell everything out for everyone because we don’t need it spelled out for us.
For instance every time I lose my cool over my 15 year old’s room, along with the wet towels on the floor and the pile of dirty clothes that looks like the Salvation Army donation room, I just assumed that it was understood I meant for her to not only clean it that specific time that I flipped out, but every time it looks like that. My bad. Or when the littles have a meltdown Sunday through Thursday nights when it’s bath time, I just assumed that they knew I really do mean every single school night they–will–bathe.. This is not the first time they have been presented this scenario. But I just assumed they knew. Or when once a week my husband asks me why there are no sheets on our bed I just assumed by now, after 17 years of cohabitation, he would know I wash the sheets once a week. I also just assumed he would know where to find them.
So it has become abundantly clear in recent days and weeks that if my own people cannot read my mind, then neither can the rest of the world. Well, let me rephrase that. Moms can read other moms’ minds. I know when to check on a friend and she knows when to check on me. I know when I can grab her kid and drop her somewhere in the general vicinity of where I’m going that it is like Christmas morning for her and she will know when and how to return the favor. But that’s where the magic ends. Moms reading other moms’ minds is a member’s only concept.
Mr. Repairman, when I paid you $238 to fix my dishwasher that was holding water and not draining, I meant for you to correct the problem by having it drain in the usual and customary way that dishwashers are meant to drain. When you came 6 months ago, I had one kid with cooties, one with flu, one with a schedule that just won’t give and a traveling husband and was apparently preoccupied while you worked. I had hoped that you would have read my mind on the way I wanted it fixed. I would have preferred for it to not drain into my wall, soak my sheetrock and studs, collect under my wood floor and spill out through my bricks. Given the option, I would have chosen no dishwasher over this. Because your route has provided me with 7 jet engines of air blowing into my walls at decibel levels that are loud even for the Leger house. Now three rooms in my house have been semi-gutted as we wait with anticipation to know how much of a “remodel” my five year old kitchen will get.
My beloved husband, we took vows. Your part was something about honoring and protecting. I know how serious you have taken them by how careful you are with the checking of the stove, and the iron and the door locks at night. You totally rock. And that one time when you protected us, your four girls, armed with your 12 gauge shot gun–in your underwear–from the motion detector security light…I’ve never loved you more. I even lived out the “respect” part of my vows that night by not pointing out until the next morning how you had the shotgun in one hand and the box of shells in the other. You sprung into action with panther like reflexes. That motion detector light was not coming for us. Not on your watch. But I need you to read my mind that I want you to protect me from all the things. When our little, sweet, eczema ridden caboose is lubed up like a grease monkey and I take her off of the barstool and her foot causes it to fall over, and you’re standing right there (and I mean RIGHT THERE), I need you to catch the barstool. I need you to protect me from the barstool before it breaks my foot (okay it was my big toe but that’s part of my foot and the big toe is the important toe). I need those panther like reflexes to save me. Save my toe. On another note Hun, when you’re gone for two weeks working, there is a void in my life. God bless you for taking one for the team and putting on a hard hat and work boots when you’re used to slacks and button downs. Not to mention the 14 hour drive, the 104 degree heat and the ghost town you called home. While you were gone I had to plunge a toilet (I don’t care how far us women have come in terms of “equality”, we were NOT MADE FOR THAT) and kill a lizard. A lizard that was at the top of the bedroom drapes. A lizard that could have easily gotten into my bed. The lizard had to die. The 106 inch bleach streak down the edge of the drapes caused by the industrial strength shower cleaner I used to kill him with clearly shows how capable I am in your absence. But now you’re home and I need you to read my mind. When I told you about the family of skunks that have made their home in one of our trees, I wasn’t “sharing.” I need them gone. Yesterday. I appreciate your attempts to “scare them away” by riding by the tree with the lawn mower and your umpteen references to how we live in the country but you need to understand that this is not Hundred Acre Wood and you’re not Christopher Robin. My love, the skunks have got to go. They’re trespassing. And the day is coming sooner rather than later that you’ll drive up and find your wife in the yard with your 12 gauge shotgun and the shells won’t still be in the box. Because Babe, if the skunks don’t relocate (and by relocate I mean to heaven), we both know how this story ends. The story ends with Molly huddled in the tree with the skunks and her Bunny Bear having a tea party and you’ll be halfway to Pecos, TX while I’m dealing with rabies shots and a smell that won’t end. Read my mind Sweetie, relocate the skunks. And while you’re at it go ahead and handle the raccoon family down the road that keeps coming borrow sugar from the skunks.
A friend gave me a compliment that she enjoys this “blog” because there is always a lesson that I find in the chaos that is my life. Something that others can take away and apply to themselves. I find myself having to dig hard this go around to find said lesson. Obviously as I type with 7 ginormous fans, dehumidifiers and air purifiers blazing in the background I am eternally grateful for this hand that was dealt and not the hand neighbors to the east and west were dealt. It’s 7 machines blowing and not 70. Six inches of sheetrock cut out and not six feet. It will be covered by insurance and not my life savings or retirement. So yes there is perspective. Until I’m reminded of the many more of you reading who do not have 7 machines blowing and your walls are closed in. Perspective schermespective.
But I am reminded of the 1 and 2 Timothy study I’m doing right now. Not nearly as uplifting and mic dropping as the Ruth one in May. Or the Genesis one from the summer. But nevertheless still useful. Paul is encouraging Timothy in his pursuit to bring the gospel of Jesus to the people of Ephesus. And in it Paul is hard on women, on organized religion, on widows, and even on men. So hard that some of the time I have had to admonish Paul and his insight to the bookshelf for a day or two. Clearly Paul was not married. And on one particularly harsh day after my soul sista and I compared perspectives we came to the realization that Paul was human just like us. He was not perfect and all knowing like Jesus therefore we could assume it was not out of the realm of possibility for Paul to be….wrong….on some things. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. But around chapter 6 he made some sense. No matter what, we are to be respectful, serve better, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. Respectful and gentle. No matter the hand dealt or the circumstance we are to pursue the good and the right first. So even when the hamster wheel gets stuck on turbo, what is right is still right and what is good is still good.
As for my lesson learned, I guess my super chaotic, loud and messy family and even my faulty senile repairman deserve some grace for their constant inability to read my mind. It’s not like any of you are moms!