Yesterday was unpleasant. Things were difficult the moment my toes tickled the carpet that morning, and I saw it coming then. The freight train of a struggling day. I knew as I headed down to make breakfast that I was not in a right frame of mind, and of course, as any Mom will tell you, when the Mother is unhappy, so goes the house. It seemed that every task, even the smallest, simplest ones, were monumental and a fight to achieve. We barely managed a somewhat embarrassing trip through the grocery, where my entourage bounded down aisles and touched and squeezed practically every single item within reach. The only thanks I managed to give was that the store was almost empty of customers at that early hour. And of course, checking out took longer than it should have, as the computer debated repeatedly on weather or not to accept my form of payment. I sighed too loud and flushed red as the woman in line behind me grew impatient and my own children behaved in a manner better suited to jungle animals.
We made it home, in the rain, this cold unseasonably wet weather we have been having, and waded our way through the school work. All the while I counted down the minutes until ‘quiet time’, for them, for me. And once they were all tucked away for a bit I wandered into the kitchen. Baking as therapy, it seemed. All of the mixing, pouring, stirring, watching, all of the pieces coming together, making something whole, making something fulfilling, comforting.
I read Edith Schaffer’s book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking a couple of years ago, and one part in particular stuck out to me. She talked about how when a child is having a rough day, and is being particularly difficult, instead of punishing them, you should throw an impromptu tea party, she emphasized the need to spend quality time with them, changing the course of action, and drawing the child close, rather than pushing them away for their behavior. She talked about how special that is, and how effective it could be in changing the attitude of discontent. This does not come easy for me. My default reaction is to push away, to banish the offender so that I can breath without steam wafting from my head, but yesterday, I remembered this. So I baked for them. Chocolate Chip cookies. A treat in efforts to turn the day around. It did help. Of course, so did prayers and pleas made to God who was looking down on the crazy flying through the house yesterday. I credit God for the change more than the cookies, of course, But Edith is right. On these Jonah days, we should draw them in not push them away. Though it feels the hardest thing to do. Today has not been much better, but I am looking for God in this chaos, waiting patiently to see how he moves and stirs our attitudes and hearts.
But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Psalm 22:19