I took the Dust Buster to my child. It was the end of a looong day of mess after mess after mess, and I finally just used the handheld vacuum in my hand to clean her lap full of rice after dinner…. the same rice that had been tossed and sprinkled all over the floor (and under the table, and in her hair, and on every chair).
It had been a long day of mess, inside and out. The two year old in my house proved that she is very good at being two… and good at bringing the two year old tantrums out of her mother. Because with each mess, the messiness of my heart spilled out. When she painted herself with black mascara, I snatched and yelled. When she cleared the end table with one fell swoop (and broke something in the process), I stomped. When she used the ranch dressing for lotion, I threw my hands up and yelled again. When I walked in to find goldfish crackers crumbled all over my rug, I made faces and fought back tears of frustration. When she walked by me with the dog brush in her mouth, I snatched again, and when she decided to boycott nap and sit on my back as I attempted to exercise, I growled.
But, the problem wasn’t my two year old. She was indeed mischievous and busy and sneaky… and two. She was testing boundaries, exploring the world around her, and enjoying life in ways I couldn’t understand. She was doing what she was supposed to (in theory). The ultimate problem was my own messy heart. Instead of embracing opportunities to show love and grace and forgiveness and PATIENCE, I growled and got annoyed and was very ungraceful (and impatient). Instead of teaching and modeling appropriate behavior, I showed my daughter exactly how not to respond to another person. And instead of praying and letting the Holy Spirit lead and guide my actions, I let exasperation take the wheel and wreck the day. In my haste, I lost sight of my duty to follow His plan in teaching my children, and instead focused on the disruptions to my own plans.
But, despite my shortcomings and mistakes and wretched mommy moments, this silly little girl and her silly big sisters still love me and giggle and smile. Even though I was a hot mess today and really didn’t do much right, they still hugged me and talked to me and loved on me. They still wanted to be around me! These kids in my house show me the grace of our Father, who lavishes love on us in spite of ourselves, who forgives without question, who welcomes us with open arms at the end of the day. He uses these girls and all of their wildness to show me that life isn’t about me or my plans, that love sees beyond our faults, and that there are beautiful, undeserved gifts in every day… even those days that require a Dust Buster.