The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday had the makings of being one of those days - almost. We went into town to run some errands and, just as we were ready to head for home, our Suburban would not start. It was not the battery, so a jump was no good.

My husband ask me if I knew anybody's phone number, citing that we were not going to be driving our own vehicle home - it would have to be towed to a repair shop. I started writing down phone numbers of people who just might love us enough to stop what they were doing, and allow themselves to be inconvenienced on a Sunday afternoon in order to help us.

We "rallied the troups" and marched them into the store. The Target store in our town happens to be an anchor store in our mall. Praise God! What better place to be stranded for three hours than a place with a play structure, food court, and rent-a-strollers shaped like little cars!

As we walked in the door of the store with all of our children, we ran right into "Mr. Pete," one of the wonderful children's ministry workers from our church. He looked at the Suburban with John, recommended a good repair shop in town, took his family home while we waited for the tow truck to arrive, and came back to take half of our family to our house so that John could get his small work car and come back for the rest of us! I stayed in the mall with three of the children, and it gave me the opportunity to buy my running shoes (more about that later).

As we headed for home, hours later than expected, with the certain knowledge that God loves us and took care of us in the hour of our need, I started thinking about "terrible days" and how we all have them. This day did not turn out to be as terrible as it could have been, but it reminded me of a day last May that seemed pretty bad at the time. Here is the account of that day just as I recorded it at the time...

The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Day

Some days I wish that I could quit my job. Today was one of those days. It really started last night. Everything seemed to be going smoothly; we had a T-ball game at 7:00 so we had time for supper and planned to be there a half-hour early. Just as we were walking out the door, the phone rang. It was the coach frantically checking to see if everyone was on their way. We had been mis-informed, the game was really at six and the opposing team was already there waiting for us. It took a while to get the game going, then all of the children, including mine, kept leaving the dug-out and had to be rounded up each inning. I was the one and only mean old mom scolding my children for it.

We finally got home around 9:00 and, being a school night, tried to hurry the children into bed. The baby is a morning person so he is rather fussy at night (add to that cutting teeth) so I did not have time to do the supper dishes or any other ordinary preparations for the following day.
This morning dawned bright and beautiful. My children got up and dressed surprisingly well and I had early daycare children arriving so I got myself ready and quickly cleaned up the entryway before their arrival. Ben cleared and washed the table, and I was full swing into the day.  

A little while after my family left for work and school, I called my husband at work to remind him to leave work early to pick our eight year old up from soccer practice. He said, “She does not have her things, is she still going?” I had completely forgotten to put her cleats and shin guards in her back pack! She would now have to practice in crocs.

In my daycare schedule I allow 1-2 hours of “free-play” for the children first thing in the morning so that I can get my two loads of laundry done, make the beds, and prepare breakfast. This is a time when the children can play with any of the toys that they choose or they can ask for puzzles, coloring books, etc.

Lately, one little boy has been using this time as an opportunity to make the largest mess possible in the shortest amount of time, taking all of the nap pillows and blankets out and heaping them up with all of the toys from the large toy box. I finally had to inform him that this was not acceptable, and have even had to begin giving him time-outs for continuing this dreadful morning ritual.

Today, knowing that I had extra work to do, I set out puzzles for the children in a room near to me but far from the napping baby since the children were already showing signs of dissension in the form of yelling and running through the house. A few minutes later, as I looked in on the them, I discovered that they had dumped out all of the puzzles that I had set out and poured them out on one child (who was lying on the floor), followed by the entire bin of hats, mittens and scarves, and on top of that, the entire pile of shoes that are removed by everyone upon entering the house. It was at that moment that the last daycare parent arrived.
How embarrassing! My friend Rosemary says that she would be suspect of a really clean daycare, but this was a little excessive!
I continued struggling to accomplish the least little thing, doing only the dishes and leaving the other things undone, while the children continued to run, scream and wake up the baby, and make other messes. Finally I said that they were no longer allowed to play, they must only clean up everything that they had already gotten out in every room. It took a while, but they did it!

 During morning snack the children made a terrible mess of crumbs under the table. At story time they each held a book and “read” to themselves out loud while I was reading. Finally I had to take the books away from them to keep them quiet. When we went outside they did not behave badly, but I glanced at my two-year-old just in time to see her sitting on her trike, poised to careen down the hill.

I praised God that lunch was quick and easy to prepare, just tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with apples. I set the food in front of each child and went to pick up the screaming baby. When I returned, one child was finger painting with the soup on the table, one was dipping the apples and licking them, another was gargling the soup.

Through the entire morning, the baby cried more than usual and two of the girls kept up a near-constant bickering. I could not wait for nap time, finally it came – but only one child went to sleep! Oh No. I usually try to get as much done as possible during rest time, and I had extra work to do today!

Instead I was reminding children to be quiet,

giving time-outs to children who would not be quiet…

and to children who were jumping over other children…

and stepping on sleeping children…

Then the baby woke up prematurely from his nap. I barely got the mess under the table cleaned up before the first parent arrived to pick up a child.
Usually the noise and chaos intensifies when my older children get off the bus, but today it was help. Things finally started to calm down as the extra children began leaving. My oldest got the younger ones involved in a craft project. The Second wanted to help make supper. Small Blessings. Little tiny blessings. PRAISE GOD every day is not like this!

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart…but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” From 2 Corinthians 4 NKJV


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