Dear Gordon, I don’t know what you’re getting me for Mother’s Day, but I could do without this. We all love etsy.com, but when some lady is selling placenta brooches to commemorate the afterbirth of your offspring, something’s wrong with society.
I didn’t feel much like commemorating my motherhood this week. Much less my afterbirth.
A few days ago Drew did something bad and I put him in time out. That last line could be the beginning to every blog I ever write, but I place a high value on not boring you.
I think every evangelical Christian parent that grew up with the Left Behind series has at least once in their life experienced the passing worry that maybe their child is the antichrist. There you are, in a moment of maternal bliss, watching your little darling blowing bubbles in the backyard or prancing around to the sound of puppy laughter (whatever that means) and a look will cross their little angelic face. It’s an insidious look, one that says, “Something is occurring to me now that never has occurred before and the thought is so fascinating I simply must explore it, but I have a feeling mommy will not approve.” And then he puts popcorn kernels in his baby sister’s mouth or opens a drawer so fast it whacks her head and knocks her down.
The antichrist WILL have a mother. Won’t he? Does he just appear out of nowhere, like Voldemort? And since no one is as evil as the antichrist, even if his mother is Dina Lohan you would think she’d HAVE to be disappointed by his life choices. She’ll wonder if she should have put him in Kindermusik or bought him Pedipeds and not imitation Pedipeds or if his three-year-old sport should have been Cotillion foxtrot instead of soccer.
So for whatever reason on Monday, I put Drew into time out. It was at the end of the day, Gordon was out, Madeline was grumpy, and the day had been cold and rainy and was kicking me in the kidneys whenever it could. (Speaking of kidneys, don’t buy me this either.) It was especially sad because Drew and I had just been making cookies for a friend and were having what scholars at Parenting magazine call “parent-child-bonding-actualization-realization-fancypantswords.”
His arm was in my clenched fist, I sat him down hard and stormed out of the laundry room. I wanted to pick up a plate and throw it. Not because he was being really bad but because I couldn’t handle him being just a little bit bad. I’m not really supposed to be a mother, I thought. I slipped through the cracks. Maybe I’m the antichrist.
But I didn’t even realize what my hands, at that awful moment, had been doing. They were using a spatula to peel the fresh chocolate chip cookies off the baking pan and onto a plate. I was putting the plate at Drew’s seat, one at mine. I had gotten out his milk. I was setting the table for us.
Drew didn’t know that even as he was being punished, even as he was feeling the wrath and disappointment and maybe even sensing the black despair his mother was choking back, that mommy was getting his cookie ready. That she was preparing in advance for their restoration.
I don’t know how bad your kid is, if he is the antichrist or just the antichrist’s comic- relief providing sidekick. You might have the patience of Michelle Duggar or you might be like me and just a little scared of what you might do next. But I’ve come to believe two things this week: 1. If you’re being disciplined right now, hang on, because even now your restoration is being planned, and 2. Even if you think in your darkest moments that you hate the job of mothering, your hands will still, somehow, find a way to do the necessary work to love your children well.
Happy Mother’s Day.