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Lisa left the house about 6:15 this morning with our daughter for a girl's only breakfast date. I normally wake up every morning between 6:00 and 6:15 just like clockwork only I don't need the clock. I stirred as Lisa showered and dressed, knowing I would need to get the boys going soon for our 7:30 a.m. departure time.
The next thing I knew 7:18 stared me in the face from my nightstand.
I jumped up so fast the sheets and comforter twisted around my legs causing a most ungracious fall onto the floor below. I bellowed all the way to the boy's room as I begged them to awaken and get going.
Their reaction reminded me of what the beginning of the apocalypse will probably look like.
I frantically showered, brushed my teeth, and dispensed with the shaving, leaving my prickly whiskers intact for one more day. When finished, I rushed into the hall to check on the boy's progress. Thomas had taken up residence in the bathroom, while Luke sat on the bedroom floor putting on his shoes.
"What are you doing in there, Thomas?" I asked.
"Using the bathroom."
"Have you brushed your teeth yet?"
"No, but I will."
I screamed the same question at his brother.
"No, Daddy," Luke said. "I couldn't get into the bathroom because Thomas has been locked in there."
My agitation level hovered around def con 3.
"You boys need to get the lead out. Get your teeth brushed, get downstairs and take the dog out," I ordered. "Do it now. Understand?"
"Yes, Daddy," they both replied almost simultaneously.
The clock said 7:32 a.m. I had five minutes to get myself dressed and them fed.
At 7:37 a.m. I entered the kitchen where the two stood.
"Did both of you brush your teeth?"
"Who took out Ruby?" I asked, knowing there was no way they had time to do both.
"Uh, I'll take her out now," Thomas said. Def con 2 came fast.
"Hurry up," I replied in a loud and abrasive tone.
Of all our children, Thomas is the most concerned with doing right and pleasing his parents. He's the most sensitive with an equilibrium easily upset by conflict. I knew the anxiety was building in him, but found myself momentarily uninterested in softening my stance.
While he took out the dog, I filled a bowl with dry cereal he could eat in the car on the way to school. Luke gobbled down his toaster treat, and as soon as Thomas came back in I aggressively coerced them both out of the front door toward the waiting car.
The ride was a bit strained and neither muttered a word. I spent the time trying to gather a bit of composure and dignity. As we approached the school, I looked in the mirror and noticed a red-faced Thomas fighting back tears trickling down his cheek.
"What's wrong now, Thomas?"
"Tell me what's wrong now," I said.
"Uh...uh...I left my folder on the table with my homework in it."
Def Con 1.
"When did you realize you had left it at home?" I asked.
"Well, I knew when we got in the car, but I was too afraid to say anything."
I angrily turned around ready to deliver my diatribe. Suddenly, however, a massive wave of guilt stopped me dead in my tracks.
I slept late. I was supposed to be the responsible one. They depended upon me and now my boy was too "afraid" to tell his own dad in the driveway that his homework was on the table?
And, I'm supposed to be a Christian on top of it all?
"After I drop you guys off I'll go back and get it."
"No, you don't have to. You'll be late for work."
I finally summoned enough of what I needed to tell the truth. "It's my fault we were late. I shouldn't have yelled at you guys like that. I'm sorry."
My most sensitive child proved to be the most forgiving.
"It's alright, Dad. Sometimes people just have a bad day."
After I dropped them off, I called work to let them know my predicament. I went home quickly and returned to the school in about half an hour. When I walked into the classroom his face lit up, as a big smile replaced the tears that had consumed him a few minutes earlier.
The affection in his gaze was well worth the lost time at work.
Guess he just needed a little grace today...
And so did I...
And so do we all...
For more about grace go to: http://www.bridgetchumbley.com/2010/05/grace-blog-carnival/