'A Sock in the Dishcloth Drawer' or 'Things That Cause Mom to Meltdown"

I am admittedly a little of a perfectionist. Ok. Maybe a lot of a perfectionist- but let it be known that I fight it and don't like it about myself. Actually I hate those tendencies and have dreams of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl who just lets it all go...and I am closer to that than I have ever been in my life, but I am just not there yet, and probably will never be.

So some things bother me. And when they bother me, these things, they seem to be really, really important. They seem to be seriously important and crucially vital things in that particular moment, even if later on I look back and have another kind of moment in which I say, "Shay, what in the world were you so upset about?!"

And one of these things that bothers me is the dishcloth drawer, you know where you put all the cloths you use to either wipe down counters or dry dishes. Mine is right between the sink and oven, and it is fairly small because who wants to use up precious kitchen real estate for dish rags?

I am at that stage of life where the state of my dishcloths does not matter to me one single bit. They are stained, thin, don't match my kitchen, and some of them should probably be thrown away, to be honest. When I was a newlywed, now, then, it did matter. My kitchen was decorated in ivy (yes it was the middle of the nineties) and dog gone, every dish towel I had was going to hunter green or burgundy or it was going to have something to do with ivy and if it didn't then banish it! But now, I don't care. I really really don't. ( See I told you I was getting better!)

But. Something does bother me about that drawer, and here is my the source of my big frustration: I keep finding socks in it.

Socks. In the dishcloth drawer. WHAT IN THE WORLD?! My precious children help to put up clean clothes and also have kitchen chore duties, so I can only figure that somehow, someway, in some space in one of their brains, a sock belongs in the same place that dishcloths go. And not a pair of socks, oh no, just one sock.

Now, I have opened that drawer, seen a sock and said, huh? more times than I can count now. And finally, one day, I opened the drawer, saw a pink and white striped sock and had had enough, and I mean enough!

What I wish I could tell you I did was to listen to that still small voice and just breathe through it and laugh at how silly it was and how precious a reminder it was that I still have house full of kids and one day when they are all gone and living somewhere else I would love to find a sock in the wrong place. Now, that sounds like a normal course of action...but then, in that moment, however, that isn't what I did.

What I did do was yell for my children to come to me. I lined them up in the kitchen. I opened the dishcloth drawer and showed them the offensive sock. Shockingly, they did not wail in repentance or admit which of them did such a wicked thing. So, of course, I had to explain to them WHY it is so offensive to place said sock in said drawer and give them a much too long lecture to ensure that no sock ever ever ever ever ever ends up in that drawer again. And I am sure my tone of voice was kind, nurturing and completely godly. Ha ha ha.

So after this informative lecture, a few days later I opened the drawer to take out a cloth to wipe the counter and you will never in a million years imagine what I found in it. Now sit down because I don't know if you can handle the shock: it was... a sock.

I just stood there with that stupid sock in my hand (this time it was black), and I could feel that aggravation start in my toes and go up to the core of my body. And then, I started to laugh. I mean, I just really, really laughed, right up through my stomach to my heart and all through my body. I put my head on my hands on that dirty counter and laughed and laughed at the ridiculousness of my anger and frustration that I was holding in my hand. I laughed so hard my kids came into the kitchen and said, "Mom, what in the world is wrong with you?! What is so funny?!"

All I could do was hold up the sock. And laugh some more, and pull them to me and kiss their heads and say, "Mama just lost it for a minute."

How ridiculous, how silly, that I let a sock in the wrong place tear up my peace and cause me to be less than kind to my children, to let that sock be anything more than a blip on the screen of my day. It's embarrassing to admit.

Like I said before, God is still working on me, and I am so, so glad. For one reason, I want to have more moments where small things bring me joy and stir my heart to thanksgiving than moments that stir up aggravation and frustration because things are not exactly like I want or expect them to be.

Aren't we blessed by His patient love, His kind and gentle ways that tolerate our sometimes ridiculous and petty, even strange and peculiar weaknesses? I certainly am, and my prayer is that He will keep on using even socks to open my eyes and keep me from being satisfied with being anything less that He wants me to be...namely, a mom who doesn't freak out about socks and dishcloths being drawer buddies.

Maybe I am not alone here...anyone out there have anything that may seem ridiculous but drives you nuts? Feel free to share- and I will pray for you because I know exactly how you feel!


An Altar at the Coffee Counter

It was a chilly Thursday, a few moments not claimed by children or school and the perfect chance to dip into the coffee shop and sit for a bit. After paying for my coffee I stepped over to the counter  with cup in hand to fill it up.

There were four carafes of coffee- and all four just filled with hot goodness in the past 5 minutes according to the time written on the signs on each one. I started to smile. One half cup of hazelnut and one half of dark roast. Oh yum. Then down to the other end, where every choice I could want for sweetener is right there on the counter, and labeled and organized and available for my waiting steaming cup. I chose my favorite, stirred it in.

 But that wasn't all- then there are tall, cold, metal pitchers full of creamers- 2%, skim...and they turn my dark drink into lovely swirls of beige. I was enjoying this process, all these choices- so much luxury!- when the smell of the nutmeg hit.

 As if all these beautiful options were not enough, I spied the stash of shakers almost hidden to the left: nutmeg, cinnamon. Chocolate, And the scent, that warm, comforting, enveloping smell as the nutmeg hit the hot coffee and the steam lifted it up to my nose, that scent brought the tears...it hit more that my nose, it went into me, to my heart.

 Yes, I knew I looked ridiculous standing at the coffee counter trying to hold back the tears, but here is the thing- I just was knocked down, I was just stricken, with the gift of it. With the beauty of the choices there, the luxury of drinking coffee someone else had prepared for me, and the bounty of things in front of me to make it taste exactly like I wanted it to...I was filled with true gratitude and I could only respond with tears.

How blessed am I?! In this moment, yes, all things are not perfect in my life- my body is not 100% and is healing, there are things that I have been thinking of and dealing with just this morning that frustrate me and hurt me. In that moment, the few minutes it takes to make a cup of coffee, I had been reconnected to the beauty of a simple act and the blessing it can be when you pay attention to it, when you realize that hot coffee can be a gift from God.

 I wiped tears and stirred my cup, tried to act like just a normal person stirring a cup of coffee- but in my heart, I wanted to grab everyone around, off their seats, and drag them to the counter, to the nutmeg, to the raw sugar, to the creamer, to what had become for me an altar... and let them experience it too.