Today is the last day of a 16-day stint single-parenting the four kids while Mark has been in Africa. This trip was a bit longer than most, as he was actually doing two separate team trips scheduled back to back. Not quite the longest he’s been gone, but close.
I don’t mind it too much. It helps that the kids are older and pretty independent. Working from home helps of course too.
But inevitably toward the end, the patience starts to wear thin (despite having an awesome 30 hours to myself this weekend while the kids were all at grandparents).
Last week the kids were going to the cheap summer kids movie with the church kids group. I had a conference call, so I planned to work from the Starbucks right there. So I bought their tickets and then I set about setting up the snack situation and giving them the appropriate money. We have the Harkins T-shirt and two Harkins cups. That gives us the $1 large popcorn (w/ free refill) and two $1 drinks. I knew the kids may not want to sit right together so I came prepared with an extra ziploc bag. I told them to get the large popcorn and then pour half of it in the ziploc. The girls could have one bag, the boys the other.
Then commenced the arguing over who got the “official” movie theatre bag and who had to use the Ziploc?
We’re going to argue over WHICH bag we get?
Because, you know, it dramatically alters the taste of the popcorn, right?
And I lost it.
I threatened to take them all home if they were going to argue over popcorn bags. And not in a quiet voice. Not in an extremely LOUD voice either, but in a definite “don’t mess w/ mama” voice.
They hastily settled that situation (the girls said they’d take the Ziploc) and they were on their way.
And for the next two hours I felt bad that I had totally lost my cool with them. Not that the argument wasn’t silly, but I knew I had over-reacted.
So when I picked them up and we all got in the van, I ate humble pie and told them I was very sorry for getting frustrated with them earlier and yelling at them and asked for their forgiveness.
They all looked at me, puzzled.
“What are you talking about?”
Um, the popcorn bag thing guys.
“Oh,” piped up Noah. “I don’t really remember that.”
Neither did the others. But they forgave me anyways.
And this mom said a little thank you prayer for short-term memory loss and grace.