I'm standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing egg out of the bottom of the frying pan with the lid from a Juicy Juice bottle. I'm crying. This is normal.
I'm thinking about something Pastor Jurchen said to me the other evening. "If you've got demons from the past, you've got to drive them around in the trunk for awhile, and then let them roll around on the floorboard. And then, when you have that rollover experience, they're going to go flying all over. You've got to let them."
I drive like an octogenarian, so this imagery was hard for me to follow at first, but standing here in front of the sink trying to scrape off this egg, I'm beginning to understand.
About thirty minutes before this, I had fried up a little ham, scrambled some egg and assembled a breakfast burrito with cheese for Nora. She said, "I'm not eating that disgusting food." And I, like most parents, said, "That's what's for dinner tonight." The situation intensified as I informed her again that I wasn't going to be making a second supper. Nora yelled. And I yelled. So I gave myself a time out.
Another thing Pastor Jurchen said: "I don't get the feeling that you've done a lot of getting angry in your life. That you don't yell at people that often."
This must be why I'm standing outside now with my eyes closed and my face turned into the sunset while holding the trash can that I just rinsed clean with the garden hose. See, Nora dumped her orange Jello onto my dinner plate.
I have to hand it to her, it was a pretty effective move. She wasn't eating her food, so I sat down to eat mine. She grabbed some Jello from the fridge, opened it, and dumped it on top of my supper.
I honestly didn't know how to respond. I stood up silently and dumped my dinner in the trash, missing the trash bag. At a loss for words, I retreated to my bedroom for another time out secretly hoping there would be a sub sandwich and a parenting guide under my pillow. No such luck.
After explaining to her that she can never pour Jello on dinner again, I end up making her a grilled cheese sandwich and when I turn to the sink, the words inside my head slip past the guard at my mouth, and I hear: "I am such a failure."
All right. Back up. I understand at this point in the game that I'm not a failure. I've failed a few times, sure, but that doesn't make me a failure, so why am I talking to myself like that?
Oh, right. The demons are rolling around on the floorboard.
So, I start to name them. You. Yeah, I'm talking to you. You're the one who said I should never get angry or stand my ground, which meant I lived with a whole boatload of bullhocky for more years than I needed to. And you, you're the one who tells me I don't how to be a mom. Well, you're full of it, too. Remember those nights I didn't sleep while I held Nora in my arms making sure she was breathing? That's right, buddy. I would give my life for her, and that alone makes me an astounding mother.
Sure, I yelled. Big deal. People yell sometimes.
When I asked Nora if she could think of other ways to let me know that she's angry, she said, "Hmmm....I don't know if I can promise that, Mom. I think I'm just going through a phase or something."
I love her honesty. I love how well she knows herself. I love that she gets angry enough to dump Jello on dinner in order to be heard. Because that's the girl who will grow up to be a woman who knows herself well enough to speak the truth even if it means arguing. That's the girl who will grow up to be a woman who has the courage to look at all that useless garbage in the trunk and say, "I'm not eating that disgusting stuff."
I also understand that THIS woman will only be making one dinner per evening, and it won't be scrambled eggs with Jello.
It's astounding to me how much learning I still have to do...