I got called into the Principal's Office today. Apparently, 35 isn't too old to be summoned for a little chat with the principal.
"Mam, you need to come in and see the principal. She needs to talk to you." I hung up the phone. Oh, drat!
Eli asked me on the way in what I thought she was going to say. I told him from the sound of the secretary's tone, I was pretty sure I was in trouble. He giggled. I'm the mom, right? The example of what it means to act responsibly? We walked in silence up the long, (today it seemed so much longer), walkway to the entrance of the school. My stomach hurt.
"Eli, did you ever get a knot in your stomach whenever you were called down to the Principal's office?" We walked through the front door and I searched his face for some sign of empathy. He only raised his eyebrows at me.
"Mom," his voice matter-of-fact, "I've never had to go to the Principal's office."
Right. No, of course not. Come to think of it, none of my children have ever had to go to the Principal's office. I, on the other hand can remember being sent to the office in every grade except 3rd and 6th. I can remember every reason, too. In 5th grade they skipped the office altogether and simply expelled me for the last three months of the school year. So today I experienced a serious case of deja vu!
We rounded the corner and the secretary leaned over her desk, "She's here," she announced, her voice flat. She smiled at me. The principal stepped from a darkened corridor and told me to follow her. The children started to follow me but she told them to wait there.
"Mrs. Olson," she began. But I won't bore you with the lecture she gave me. I was in trouble for exactly what I predicted: Late to pick them up, late with important phone calls... and when I am late picking them up, I need to come in to get them myself -- no more sending an older sibling in. (I didn't predict that last one.) So I listened. I apologized. She ended with, "I hope you'll work on these things, okay?"
I said, "Yes mam." And I walked out of the office chastised, repentant. My children asked me if I got in trouble. I sighed, "Yes, Mommy has some big things to work on."
35 years old. We've had a bit of a rough week this last week. I'm far too immature to be a parent. Isaiah announced a couple of weeks ago that "most parents have children way too young and they should wait until they're older and more mature." Ah, yes! I explained to him that we have children while we're young and have all the energy, but we're immature. And then when we're mature enough to raise children, we're low on energy. He pondered that for a while and then told me that didn't make sense.
The other day I wrote in my journal, "Freitag, 21.3.08 Lord, You are this family's only hope."
I am reminded that this entire last weekend was one long celebration of the hope that we have in Christ, because of Christ!
How grateful I am that His mercies are new everyday! Half the time, (okay, I admit, most of the time), I don't know what I'm doing in this whole calling to be a parent. I'm grateful I have sweet children -- and a really Big God. Oh! By the way... I have to tell you what happened at the grocery store today! This was after I got in trouble with the Principal.
One of my children, (I can't reveal the name because I feel like I better get permission first... but you have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing correctly!), had hooked "their" arms through the handle and was pulling it behind "them," swiveling it back and forth as they walked. Suddenly there was the loud clanking of bottles. You know, the kind of clanking like when several glass bottles are falling from a display. Which is exactly what was happening. Then it all happened in slow motion. The bottles tumbling. Glass breaking. Thick, oily liquid in a spreading puddle. The ripped paper that read "Bertolli -- extra virgin..." My child's eyes tearing up, bottom lip quivering. Me, paralyzed.
God is good. All the time. Do I hear an "Amen!" My girlfriend was standing there with her two sons, ages 9 and 10, when it all happened. She immediately started verbal CPR on me.
"Sharon, don't worry. These things happen all the time. It's not a big deal. No, you don't need to clean it up." She disappeared momentarily and when she came back she had a man with her. He put up the yellow 'Warning, Wet Floor' sign. "Sir, is this the first time this has ever happened in this store?" He laughed and shaking his head, assured her it was definitely not the first time. "See?" she said, "Now, go on and finish your shopping. They'll take care of it." I asked her if I -- or my child -- shouldn't at least stay to help clean up. "No, no!" she said waving her hand at me to shoo me on my way. (Thank you, Ellen! I love you, Girl!) Or pay for the damage. The man in the maroon apron-jacket smiled and nodded his head 'no.'
We went around the corner to the next aisle where I reassured my child "they" weren't in trouble, nor was I mad. (Truthfully, how could I be? I was still a bit dazed.) Besides, you should have heard this child's apology.
"Mama, I'm so sorry! That was so foolish! I didn't use common sense at all!" This said as tears rolled down this child's cheek. And I suddenly felt so proud of my child. Such insight and humility in that moment! We held each other in a long hug. (I've probably given away who it was...)
Anyway, there's a little update! Like I said, God is good, All the time!! I trust you all had a wonderful, blessed Easter! I'm ever-grateful for the hope that is offered through Jesus. This morning I read this, "...Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." (Psalms 43:5)
Love to you,