Saint Anthony and I have always had a great relationship. I’m fairly certain he has a file marked “Sherry” just for me, and on it in permanent sharpie marker are keys, bracelet, purse, and matching socks, not to mention, the penciled in requests to help me find the time, opportunities for sleep and my muse. I owe him big time and almost on a daily basis.
The other morning was off to a bad start. People were moving slowly. Lunch was cobbled together with the obligatory, “I don’t like that.” and my response, “You get what you get.” It’s not that I wanted to serve my children chips they didn’t like; it’s that I didn’t like kids complaining about chips for crying out loud. They had grapes, pineapple cups, sandwiches and chips. I basically was in my, “It’s morning, I’m making lunches, deal with it.” mode.
But the day slogged on and getting into the car was a challenge. As I’m changing the baby, I spy four children outside the car drawing pictures in the dew on the windows. “GET IN THE CAR!” and “YOU, Come load her!” as I scrambled for the next child. I could not find shoes for my son. I found two left shoes and some red boots. I opted for the red boots.
My son did not like the boots. I locked him down in his car seat. He flipped them off, they hit my eye. Bad mood growing.
There is no diet coke for me. Bad mood getting worse.
Two children go back inside…for no reason in particular. I bark them back out and finish making a bottle for the baby. I’m tired, I’ve made 12 lunches, 7 breakfasts, without making one for me and we’re going to be late.
Shredded self is done with civility. I get in the car and procede to rant all the way to school about self pitying things. “I’m the only one who gets up…the only one who can find the clothes, the backpacks, the lunch bags, who makes lunch…blah blah blah blah. Me. Me. Me. Me. Poor Me. Mad at you. Bleah. Bleah. Bleah.”
My rant prevented morning prayers except for one, mine, which is the Act of Contrition. And I stopped. My children would have this memory of me having a pity party. Ugh. Boo. Not fun. I rattle off the prayer, I tell my children I love them and they disembark. The whole ride home is horrid as I sit there thinking about how petty I’d just been. I drive home to look for my son’s shoes.
Going inside to look and knowing I’ve already searched before to no avail, I decide to enlist Saint Anthony. God is sitting there waiting for that one, “Ha!” She asked. “Saint Anthony, help me find Paul’s shoes.” I’m still in a bad mood. So I add, “And my sense of humor….and while you’re at it, my patience. Saint Anthony, help me to serve these children better. Help me find a way to be a good mom…” It kept pouring out. My rant/demand of one of my favorite saints had turned into a real prayer. The moment I realized this, I walked into the computer room. There, on the floor, were the two right shoes.
I started laughing. Laughter broke over everything that was.
So I called my mom this afternoon to tell her the story, I started, “I don’t remember you ever yelling at me like that.” “Oh Honey, Thank you!” she said. And laughter broke out again, over what gets kept, what deliberately gets lost, and what our souls remember forever, not pain, not anger, not sin, but love.
So now, twenty or forty years from now, I hope my children won’t recall mom popping off on the drive to school. Hopefully, they’ll remember that she had a merry laugh, a good relationship with Saint Anthony and could find things like shoes, very quickly if she just held the right spirit about things.
Copyright 2011 Sherry Antonetti