Hi, my name is Lea.
It’s been 7 months and 28 days since my I last lost my mind.
Wow, that’s good going. Well done.
Well, until yesterday, that is. I relapsed yesterday.
Oh dear. Why don’t you tell us what happened?
Well, I had been doing really well up to then. I was feeling a bit stressed out, there’s a few things I’m more anxious about than I should be, but generally our conversations have been mature, and productive. Everyone’s growing up, you know.
Yes, time goes so fast, those kids grow so quickly! Go on.
Well, we got an email from Ethan’s teacher about an incident in class, so I had to carefully get feedback from his side when I picked him up. He’s the 11 year old. He was pretty upset- it’ll need more follow up, I think. Then Luke, the 13 year old, came to the car with stomach cramps, but he was supposed to be in extra Afrikaans. I narrowed my eyes and paused to discern if the stomach cramps were because of the Afrikaans, but he seemed in genuine pain, so we excused him. Oh, also Luca had mistakenly taken Luke’s bag, but luckily he returned it before we left. We fetched the other 2 from high school, and went home. Ethan had left a textbook at school that he needed for work, so I had to message another parent for a picture of the pages. I had to take Joshua, the 18 year old, to get photos for his drivers’ license test, so he drove us there. We survived, and there was no screaming.
Awesome, doing well so far.
At home, Luke and Ethan were squabbling for the 19th time this week. Not about anything specific, just peeved at one another for something or other. I decide, like a well-meaning moron, to hear each side of the story. Halfway through, I tell them they have no fear of God, so they have no respect for each other- who, by the way, are made in the image of God, and that’s why they struggle to relate to each other.
Is that where you were screaming?
Errr…just a firm voice. Really firm. And then Ethan says, yes he does, yes he does, yes he does and so I send him outside because he can’t listen to instruction. Later, whilst retrieving the rugby ball out of a tree, Luke and Ethan succeed in completely trampling the plants that I had transplanted two days ago. I’m talking broken leaves and exposed roots, people, horrific. These plants are the reason I have not been able to bend over to pick anything up over the last 2 days due to overused hamstrings and newly discovered bum muscles, which evidently are needed for gardening. These plants were moved from one end of the garden to the SIDE so that when the kids play with their ball, they don’t get completely trampled on. Fail. I am very sad, and I explain to Luke what it took to do that. He feels really bad and wants to go and fix them, but I say he can’t, he should just put away the tools he used to get the ball down.
At 5pm, Joshua’s driving lesson instructor arrives at the house. I haven’t booked a lesson with him, yet behold, here he is. It turns out Joshua had arranged it, and forgotten about it. I tell him he has to go, which means I have to pay, dang it. Homework is finished; I tell Ethan he just has studying left to do- some spelling and a few pages of Geography, and I would leave it to him to complete, and that I trusted him to be responsible. I tell Luke to run the bath whilst Ethan studies gets distracted and forgets to study. Normally Ethan baths first so he doesn’t get grossed out by Luke’s pubic hairs which are left floating in the water, and he whines about that now, but I remain firm and insist Luke is first today. I’m not screaming, but perhaps a neighbour standing outside would have heard the exchange. I see Luke’s forgotten to put away the tools. I yell a bit. Dinner is chicken stir-fry, which takes 1 hour to cook because it’s 1.5 kgs of chicken breast cooked in batches and takes forever and I hate the flour that coats the chicken going gooey on my hands and then I can’t turn the tap on with my disgusting hands, and I’ve left the rice too late so now I’ve got 5 dirty pots which won’t all fit in the dishwasher later, so I quickly wash the pots. Whilst doing pots, I try and figure out how we are going to afford a beach holiday in December to see my brother and my parents, whom I haven’t seen for 12 years since they left Zim. We can’t find accommodation and it’s looking impossible. What interrupts my thoughts is Ethan from the other side of the house scream-crying, like a gurgling/ suffocating/ drowning/ maimed/ I’ve-had-a-really-bad-accident sound, and so I yell for Luke. (Everyone knows, you don’t call the child making the noise, you call an informant, the feedback about what’s going on is often better.) There’s a long pause, I’m wondering if Ethan has stopped breathing, so I am ripping off my washing-up gloves, and about to leap over the dishwasher door to make the rescue and Luke comes into the kitchen to say Ethan was just messing around. He takes a breath to tell me the very long-winded story that goes with this statement, but I send him out before he can begin. I call Ethan, with every intention of remaining calm. He explains that Luke was doing blah blah blah and then he- well- it was by mistake, Mom, he annoyed Luke and so Luke did blah blah blah. The “It was by mistake, Mom” can be interpreted as a confession of guilt, and so I grabbed his arms and looked into his eyes and well, this is where I lost it…. yes, I was screaming, and it was neighbour-two-houses-down level. You were making a noise like you had broken something or you were dying! Now don’t make that noise ever again unless you have broken something or you are dying! His wide eyes grew wider and he left. Upon my discovering that Luke has NOT run the bath, he runs the bath in record time, but I have forgotten to switch the geyser on, and he uses too much cold water, so the hot water that was left in the geyser is now useless, and they can’t bath until later. Aiden comes through to the kitchen STARVING because he really works up an appetite just chilling on his bed all afternoon. Sarcastic much? When Heath comes home, I’m crying into the stir-fry. Dinner table ambience is tense. I’m surprised that all children actually lived to see dinner today.
How did you talk about the loss of your mind to your family?
Well, the Holy Spirit sorted it all out, really. Heath decided to share a scripture after dinner. Out of the blue, out of the routine, unexpected, but so full of grace, it was clearly God cleaning up after me. Was it the children-obey-your-parents-in-everything one? Nope. The one where it says vultures will eat the eye that despises a mother’s instructions? Dang it, no. Can you believe it, he shares Psalm 145:8. It’s not even our daily thing to read today, but he had missed a day or two before and so read it today.
The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
Slow to get angry. Seriously? He uses it to encourage the boys of course, and the challenges we’re having with them sometimes squabbling, especially the younger two. But of course, I know exactly who it’s for, and I apologise to my children for my screaming at them, and they graciously forgive me. Dinner is resumed without everyone fearing for their lives.
I am grateful
For His Word.
For second chances,
and for God being the most patient rehab counsellor ever.
May the lessons learned in rehab or in the chaos lead you closer to Him.
Lots of love,
Anyone else in rehab? I would love to hear your story! Post in the comments below….