October 7, 2011

Feasting on Crow.

It was there when I woke up this morning, this contemptuous weight lodged in my chest that had me angry even before my feet had time to hit the floor.

Watch out, everyone. Mama's awake.

Ezra bore the brunt of it. He was whiny and snively and I had not an ounce of patience to my name. I was snapping angry and stomping before the sun even had a chance to peek over the neighbor's rooftop.

My husband tried to infuse some peace into the battlefield, but when Ezra left for school I was still fuming- cleaning random objects and sighing until there was almost no oxygen left in the house for anyone else to breathe. My day was already looking quite bleak and dreary- Myer started to whine and my eyes searched hungry for the clock.

It was only 8:00 in the morning.

I felt the mother-guilt creep in like a blanket of fog.

A painful hour and a half later, I was standing in a room at my church with a large group of women- mothers, all. The fact that so many of us had made it, had stumbled through the doors with small children hanging off of every limb, in spite of nap times and potty breaks and accidents and twisted car seat straps and dropped pacifiers, was in and of itself a miracle.

We sang. "Tune my heart to sing thy grace." The mother-guilt tried to sing louder. Why had I been so angry at my six-year-old child this morning? Why had I woken up and felt that someone needed to pay?

A woman from my church spoke about knowing your child's specific strengths and weaknesses, and how we need to be building our children up rather than tearing them down with our words.

The mother-guilt was screaming. It was so loud in my ears, I was sure the whole room could hear it.

By the time the morning was over, there were only two options for me:

1. go home and limp through the rest of my day, hoping it would all blow over and be forgotten by 5:00 so we could eat dinner and get the kids to bed and hope for a better outcome of tomorrow... or

2. go eat crow. Meaning- stop by Ezra's school on the way home, unload the two littlest boys, make my way to the school office and then to Ezra's classroom, pull him out into the hallway, get down on my knees so I could see straight into his deep clear green eyes, and tell the boy I was sorry for being a grumpy jerk to him earlier.

I debated with myself the whole way home. Myer needed to eat, Truman needed to nap. I needed to clean bathrooms during the ONLY spare moment I would have that day- and that moment would only happen IF I could manage to get Truman and Myer to nap at the same time. My whole day was at stake! My to-do list was at stake! My dirty toilets were at stake!

It was obvious what needed to be done. I made up my mind, turned into the school, and prayed that God would give me the right words to say to my child. With every step I took toward my son's classroom, I felt chunks of burden sloughing off of me to the floor.

By the time I found the sweet boy, I was beaming.

I dropped down to his level- in front of the whole cafeteria full of kids and teachers- feeling a million eyes on my face, and I ate crow. I feasted on crow. I asked him to forgive me and apologized for my poor attitude. I told him I was proud of him and I watched gratefully as his face broke into that big goofy grin and he hugged my neck and told me he forgave me, absolutely.

As I loaded the little boys back into the car in the parking lot, I was a new woman.

Feeling forgiven has a way of doing that to a person, yes? Making them feel new, I mean.

And when we got home? No one napped. Myer hardly ate. It took me all afternoon to clean the bathrooms because I had to keep both my eyes on the boys. And we all ate hot dogs for dinner.

HOT DOGS! The horror!!!

But you know what? It was a GREAT day. Not because it was squeaky-clean and well executed... oh no no no. It was a hot mess of chaos, mostly. But my heart sang free in the midst of the tumult and I found myself truly grateful for fresh starts (always only one decision away!) and quick, toothy-grinned forgiveness.

I had no idea crow could taste so good.


Christina said...

You are speaking to my heart right now. Lately I have been a grumpy hormonal mess. And my poor children have had to deal w/ the brute of it.
My prayer is that God will help me to use my words to encourage not tear down. What precious souls God has entrusted to us.
Thank you for reminding me I'm not alone in this, and that God's mercies are totally new every morning :)

Adrienne said...

What a great post. And what a great thing you did. You not only healed his heart, but you showed him how to ask for forgiveness. If it's true that the best lessons are caught rather than taught, then he learned a tremendous amount from you. (And that's more important than a squeaky clean toilet. Maybe even more important than a nap - and as someone who values naps almost above all else, that's saying something! ha!) <3

Anonymous said...

Oh I hate when I feel grumpy like that and my family bears the brunt of it. I want to encourange and praise and make my son feel all the confidence in the world ... sadly there are days when that just doesn't happen. Thankfully they are few and far between, but we all have them.

Your words brought tears to my eyes ... going by your boys school and getting you two back on track, you are a good mama. An amazing mama! Your family is so lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

You know, I just started reading your blog and really have a fine point on a lot of things. Your description of how you felt in the morning and how guilt creeps in-completely accurate. Thank you for your honesty.

Mama said...

Oh emery. Tears and joy just filled my heart. I feel the same way often. Thank you

Chelsea said...

oh my goodness, we're SO in the same boat right now!!!! (just blogged about this yesterday!) ugh.

Your post makes me smile though. at least you can find some comedy in it all-and Ezra is stinkin' cute!!!!!!

Sarah said...

:( I can't stop crying. Last night my 1 year old kept waking up, I was so frustrated. Then my three year old woke up time and time again...wanting me to cook him eggs. I was up from 2-6 between the two of them and meanwhile the baby in my tummy was licking non stop. I spanked my three year old in the middle of the night because I was so frustrated with the situation , I have felt so horrible all day. I constantly feel like I am messing him up! I now got a sitter for the 1 year old so I can go on a lunch date with him. Mom guilt is just the worst feeling

SUPAHMAMA! said...

What a good GOOD Mama. I ate crow today too. My Daughter did NOT deserve the words that came out of my mouth over something so trivial as putting a plate away. She's TWO. Good grief. Must be the seasons changing. :( Still doesn't make you feel any better as a Mama.

girl willow said...

Oh, you have a gift from above!!! Thank you for sharing and understanding this thing called motherhood.
Really thank you <3

Hilary said...

feels like eating crow is part of the calling of motherhood...another hard part. good for you for reminding yourself and teaching your sweet boy what great gifts love and forgiveness (and especially grace!) are.

nelson said...


Thank you.

Lea said...

You are such a sweet, sweet momma!

Allie said...

I NEEDED THIS!! Right this moment, I needed this! Thank you :)

bandofbrothers said...

crying. you did good mama. so proud of you for eating crow.

where on earth did you get that term? craaaaazy girl you.

Anonymous said...

There has been soooo many times in my life that I have been hateful & have had a poor attitude with my children because I was having a bad day. I loved this post- maybe I will try eating crow each time I catch myself behaving badly. Thanks for sharing this!

Mrs. Cheerio said...

This literally brought tears to my eyes. I have been in the exact same situation, from the forst blink in the morning, but did not have the humility to ask forgiveness. Thank you for posting this and being so transparent! I love, love, love your blog.

Erin said...

I'm crying! I'm right there with you. I do that too often. Tear Claire down with words, knowing that it'll hurt her. I hate it. Their hearts are sweet and young and innocent and we forget that. We forget that they love us so much and they need us to build them up. I'm glad you posted this. I'm gonna go tell my Claire how special she is now :)

Rita said...

Oh you are beautiful sweet girl.

Good job. Good momma.

Erin said...

love it! I cried while I read this. So good to read your honesty and be reminded that the right path is just one crow away. Thanks.

stina said...


Emily said...

I can't thank you enough for this post!! Spoke so clearly to my heart!

christalena said...

Just found your blog and geez louise this post is so timely. Your morning was so like my evening tonight. Wow. I hate that feeling of being on the edge and my poor kids get squashed when I fall off. I just keep praying for wisdom and grace and more sleep. I'm sure that's part of the equation somehow.

Just Jiff said...

Love this post. Made me tear up. I've had to eat crow before too. And you're right; it always feels much better than you can ever expect.
I'm glad you're wise enough to know that it's more important to ask for forgiveness than to hope things are just forgotten. :)
That little boy has a great role model in you. :)

Kimberly said...

I am coming over from where Beliefchangers posted the link to your blog. :) Such a great post! I think every mom can relate to being grumpy for seemingly no reason and taking it out on her precious children. I know I certainly can. How tender for you to obey the Lord's prompting to go and apologize to your son at school.

And I love getting to see the adorable grin you get to see daily! Too, too cute! :)


Anonymous said...

Emery, reading your blog post brought tears to my eyes. I'm a grandmother & love my grandchildren with all my heart. Their little hearts are so tender & so easily hurt by unkind or harsh words. I'm SOOO proud that you went to Ezra's school & apologized & blessed him with your kind & encouraging words! That was the perfect thing to do for both of you!:)

Anonymous said...

It's been many years, but I had those days when my children were small. Isn't "eating crow" a huge blessing? Thank you, Jesus!

Olivia said...

Catching up a bit--I've not read up on your blog in a while. What a good post. Real and chaotic and beautiful.