How I Almost Lost Myself and My Keys at the Same Time

My 17-month-old son hid my car keys last night. Nothing new. Nothing out of the ordinary for him or any other kid his age. As insignificant of an occurrence it was last night, it completely shook my world (and my confidence) this morning. You see, I didn’t KNOW he had hidden my keys until I was ready to head out the door, 20 minutes later than I had intended to. They weren’t in any of the usual spots. I searched through yesterday in my mind and knew I hadn’t left the house since I last knew where they were. I remembered that I had a friend over and L had started playing with her keys. I told him, “Now don’t you lose her keys!”

He didn’t.

He lost mine.

It had been a fairly good morning compared to most. I had actually gotten up only 30 minutes after my alarm went off. And I had been able to take a shower. During my shower, I had a great conversation with God and prayed about my family and my attitude. I had prayed for compassion and patience. And then I was given a chance to use what I had prayed for.

I had wanted to get to work early and now thoughts were running through my mind that I may not make it to work at all. And how horrible would it be to have to call into work because you can’t find your car keys? I could feel my frustration rising and I told myself that my children were mere bystanders in this conflict. Don’t take it out on them. Don’t bring them into the chaos. Then with my next thought, I found myself wondering why they could be so innocently playing and laughing and wanting to talk to me about shapes when  this storm was going on. I did not snap, but I replied with short, frustrated answers and immediately kicked myself for it. Then I was kicking myself for not having the foresight to keep L from playing with my keys. I had noticed the possibility of him losing my friend’s keys and mine were RIGHT BESIDE hers. I could hear people asking why I didn’t just grab my spare and look for that set later. Oh that’s a great idea except I LOST MY SPARE KEY YEARS AGO. And I never got it replaced. How stupid of me, right?

Fast-forward through me nearly crying and praying that God would help me to be calm and clear-minded enough to find my keys and get to work. I fought my anxiety and sent my supervisor a text letting her know I may be late and then almost immediately found the keys UNDER THE COUCH. Grabbed the kids, got in the car, and headed to work.

In those first moments after the dust settled from my personal flurry, I continued reprimanding myself for being so absent minded. Then I heard these words from the speakers in my car:

“You’re not the only one who feels like this; feelin’ like you lose more than you win.”

I just smiled and thanked God. Just like that. An overwhelming calm rushed over me. But it went on:

“Like life is just an endless hill you climb. You try and try, but never arrive. I’m telling you something, this racing, this running… oh you’re working way too hard. And this perfection you’re chasing is just energy wasted. ‘Cause he loves you like you are.”

I had just done a video post about God’s unconditional love and here I was putting myself through so much for something so little when I knew I had Him on my side no matter what. Through these lyrics by Hawk Nelson, God was telling me the same thing he has been telling me for quite some time now: Slow down! Be still

I get so caught up in getting my kids to school that I forget to have the morning moments I always dreamed of having with them. I forget to wake them sweetly and start their day off with goodness before heading them out into the cold world (preschool can be pretty brutal.) I know. It’s not always going to be an ideal motherhood. For anyone. But I do know that if I make the conscious decision that I want to be the mother that brings peace to her child whenever possible, I can make enough meaningful moments to count.

bible keys.jpg

Even though this morning I ignored my daughter’s words in my search for my keys and I acted flustered; I am thankful that before all that, I had talked with the Lord. I’m thankful that my day started with a plan and me knowing (even though I clearly forgot for a bit) that He has my back. If it weren’t for that, I know the chaos would have been a million times worse. I turned a mole hill into a mountain in my mind,but God moved my mountain. He gently reminded me that I am His child and that my mistakes will never deter him. That my mistakes will not define me.

I turned a mole hill into a mountain in my mind,but God moved my mountain. 

Guys, I had called myself stupid. Are you kidding me? A child of God… and I was putting myself down like that. Thankfully He was there to bring me up and to remind me that I never want my children calling themselves names or feeling incompetent because they had trouble finding misplaced car keys. I don’t want them feeling incompetent… ever. I want them to know that there is nothing they will face alone. And while I fully intend on telling them that truth, it is my responsibility to show them. When they see Mommy tackling the world through prayer and scripture, they will know they can do the same.

 

Mockingbird Mama

Since my daughter M was born, I have sung lullabies to her almost nightly. I don’t sing them well or on key, but she has never seemed to mind. I have always sung the same three songs: Hush Little Baby, Lavender Blue, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. M tends to prefer “Hush Little Baby,” so I sometimes get stuck on an infinite loop of it while trying to get her to finally sleep. While my tired voice is on autopilot, I find myself pondering over the lyrics:

“Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.” Well, that could be cool.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.” Right on. Who wouldn’t want a diamond?

“Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.” Okay… decorative mirrors can make great gifts.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat.” Not sure that would make me stop crying. Whatever.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.” No… thanks.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.” That’s better.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.” Are we on a farm??

So… a few of the lyrics reflect the age of the song and/or the original author’s lack of creativity when it came to finding rhyming words. The overall message of the song is still endearing. At least I’m not singing about a baby falling out of a tree, right?

Many times my wandering thoughts stop with that mockingbird and what it stands for. No, I’m not about to go down a Harper Lee rabbit hole; we’ll save that for another day.

What does come to my mind is Zooey Deschanel’s role in Failure to Launch. Throughout the movie, her character battles a literal mockingbird outside her window that keeps mimicking annoying sounds like dog barks and car horns at the most inopportune times. And this brings me to my realization:

KIDS ARE HUMAN MOCKINGBIRDS. 

We all know we have to be careful what we say around kids because they will repeat it. And they won’t just repeat it right after they hear it. Mommy drops her phone on her toe and says a 4-letter word the two year old hasn’t heard before. The two year old walks away and quietly adds it to her long-term vocabulary bank without saying a thing; making Mommy think she’s safe. Until Friday night dinner with the in-laws. We’ve all been there.

There are things I didn’t realize I said or did until my daughter repeated them back to me. In the 3.5 years she has been alive, I have come to terms that I maybe yell at our dogs too much and get a little too annoyed at drive-thru windows. I have also learned by watching her interact with her dolls that I can be very loving. Our breastfeeding relationship has made a possitive impact and I make sweet comments when she’s hurting or scared. I know this because she nurses her dolls and she comforts them with sweet smiles and tender touches.

My 1 year old son, L, has shown me that he is ALWAYS watching. He knows how to put the k-cup in the Keurig as he’s been on my hip many mornings that came way too soon. He knows which buttons to press on the dishwasher and he is quick to point a disapproving finger at his sister when she gets too sassy. His little hands cover his face when he’s frustrated and he will always pat your back when you seem frustrated.

Knowing that my little mockingbirds are watching have helped me be a better mom. I know that the fact that sometimes I lose my cool and I cry and I mutter “I can’t do this” under by breath is normal and all a part of being a parent. I know that it’s okay to not be the best role model %100 of the time. I also know that when we are visiting my in-laws and their parrot decides on the rare occasion to sound off a smoke detector noise that he once heard, I always wish that he had never heard it.

Luckily, my little mockingbirds see and mimic more good than bad. On my best days, I shape my mind to model the type of person I want them to be: kind, giving, patient and forgiving. That means I have become the best version of myself that I have ever been and I am so thankful to them for inspiring that in me.

I find myself smiling and talking to strangers more than I ever would flying solo. I find myself trying harder to not roll my eyes when my husband innocently gets on my nerves (notice I used the word try; God’s always molding me as His work in progress.) They act how I act and I want them to be more than just decent human beings. I want them to be the hands and feet of Jesus, right? That means I have to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And I always knew that. But having the future adult behaviors of these tiny human see-and-says on the line gives me accountability.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that who we are is a combination of nature AND nurture. Somehow M has decided to be a cat-loving person who likes to eat mushrooms and her father and I did not contribute to that. However, whatever percentage of nurturing plays into their personalities, whether it be 1% or 99%; that’s ALL on us.

I’m not a perfect parent and I never will be. I’m just a mockingbird mama trying her best to fill those little wings with goodness for the day they fly from the nest.

God bless! 🙂