Sunday, March 18, 2012


"Oh, no. What have you done? What have you DONE?" Before I can stop myself I say it again, "What have you done?"

"I tried to ask Lucy for help," Jane peers around the open fridge. I stare at an egg carton splayed across the floor, thirteen eggs smashed on the hardwood. Yokes ooze into puddles. She stares at me.

"Ugh." I punctuate my displeasure with groans. "Someone get me a roll of paper towels," I shout. "What do you mean you asked Lucy to help? You should have set the strawberries DOWN and THEN moved the eggs."

No one answers. I slop yolk and shell into the bungled carton, grumble and groan, wheel out paper towels, scoop gelled remains. "Here. Take this to the trash." I smash the lid on the carton, thrust it toward Jane.

The front storm door clatters. I sigh. Thirteen eggs. Thir. teen. eggs. What a mess.

My words still hang in the air, a stench like burnt stew. They linger. I stare at the streaked floor. I wet down my anger and stare, sag, sigh. Why am I making such a terrible template for them to follow? I feel the ugly words around me, inside me.

Jane slides onto the bench at the kitchen table, gathers crayons and paper. I slip in next to her. We sit. The moment bunches up around us.

"Jane, I'm sorry." I shake my head. "Did I make you feel bad about that?" I find her eyes. She blinks.

"No," she says. "You have to be pretty harsh to make me feel bad." She shrugs, "I don't usually feel bad unless I think people are really serious."

"Oh." I watch her eyes, guileless like her father. "Ok. Well, I still shouldn't talk to you that way. Would you forgive me? That's not a right way to talk."

"Yeah." She grabs a yellow crayon. I lean on an elbow.

Effortless as a crayon picture she smooths these frayed ends of pregnancy and stands on her own two feet.


2013. How Lucy wonders, "Do you think God will have picture Bibles in heaven for the kids?"

2014. And her furrowed brow, "Why does your skin get wrinkly when you're about to die?" And Jane nodding, "And then you start shrinking."

2015. Lucy's advice shouted to Jack, "If you sit on the toilet too long, your butt will start to hurt."

2016. Jane's encouragement, "You're being nice, Momma. Something has gotten into you, and you are just being nice."

2017. How Lucy keeps asking to go see Great-Grampa.

2018. How Jane recognizes her cousin Jude is an encourager, "Judo always tells me, 'Good job,' Mom."

2019. Two birthday parties in one week for cousins on both sides. How they make the simple things eclipse the big.

2020. Pancakes and fruit with friends.

2021. A camera lesson from a pro on how to use the camera's manual setting.

2022. Myra's new ploy to call, "Momma wipe poo-poo," anytime, night or day, she wants me to come running.

2023. Lucy's observation, "God's the BEST boss."

2024. How Jane explains, "I like to hear other people's ideas and think about how they are different than my ideas and play them over and over in my mind. And they just keep getting more and more different."

2025. Learning that a simple explanation is better than a mystery for a mind like hers.

2026. Lucy'e explanation for a red mark on her hand, "I put a little bit of my spit on one mark, and it came off."

2027. Catching Myra licking the honey lid out of the trash.

2028. Watching Jack wrestle, seeing that resolve to never give up, never give up.

2029. How Myra in my arms and babe in my belly come out unscathed when I stumble head first into the pavement en route to watch Jack's match.

2030. How the skinned knee and scraped ear, sore shoulder and torn tights, remind me the kids are ok.

2031. Knit fabric.

2032. A pie crust shield.

2033. How Lucy studies the fake trophy Ellin gave her and frowns, "Why did she write #1 on it," she says, "when I'm #3." And how we laugh with our third born.

2034. How Myra snuggled on my lap all through church today.

2035. Sleeping more and worrying less.

2036. Eating strawberries and ice cream almost every night.

2037. Playing Canasta with Craig until he's won one too many.

2038. Letting go of my expectations of this baby's delivery and taking it as it comes.

2039. And praying for what we should name this little boy.

holy     experience


Alisa said...

How about Levi? 4 letters. Hope you enjoy a wonderful week.

Southern Gal said...

#2016. I love when that happens. ;)

Aisling Beatha said...

Oh how I love 2013.
I love the way children think.

Sarah said...

Your photography and heart captured mine today.

Thanks for splashing me with God's goodness today. I hope you don't mind if I wade around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into all good things.


Claire Alexandra said...

I like the name Roan.

Craig said...

first of all Bethany, I'm partial to the name "Craig" :-) second, I heart how your baby reflected grace back to you. Third,I heart the thank you about number three instead of number one – we pay too much attention to numbers don't we? I needed to read your thank you's – and all the others I'll read today – I'm grumbly because when I set up my linky for Ann linked to my preview page by mistake – so anyone clicking it gets the oh so rude message, you do not have permission to view this draft" and there's nothing I can do about it. I'll get good practice at saying the "hard" thank you today – and reading you helped Bethany. God bless you, and God bless your hubs with the awesome name - and All of your babies.

Kim Hyland said...

"The moment bunches up around us." I love how you expressed this . . yes. So many precious gifts in your gratitude list, especially #2024. I really like Jane :)

Michele {A Life Surrendered} said...

I know these sort of days well.. and after almost 18 years I am learning... even more so with a little one now in tow... how to let the messes and mishaps go by with a Ha!... and a smile... and a "Well, clean it up!"

But that didn't come without many regrets and of course, grace... You have a beautiful post here and I love your counting of gifts...

Blessings to you...

Goat said...

To Number #3---as for numbers and meanings it is indeed a mystery.

I love that she is apparently not in need of feeling like #1. No deficit for being #3. AWESOME.

Jane is fierce and without guile. It is when she is tender that you see what a strength this is.

Brandee Shafer said...

Caught my breath, a little, reading about the tumble. Praising God with you that the little ones weren't hurt. Hope your boo boos are healing nicely...

Rebecca said...

Oh my, I loved this post. I had a very similar situation and conversation with one of my girls yesterday... Beautifully written. :) And what precious and "thankfuls" you've shared - I laughed through many of them.

I'm so glad I linked up near you on the Multitudes on Mondays Link-Up. :) I host an additional Monday Link-Up for encouragement to sort of "sister" Ann's. Stop by anytime, and I look forward now to reading more from yours! :)

Blessings with love,

Pig Woman said...

"You have to be pretty harsh to make me feel bad."

I laughed out loud when I read that and I am still chuckling. I just want to give that girl a big hug.

Isn't perception a funny thing? It can take our harsh words and turn them mild, and our mild words and turn them harsh. In fact, how our words are taken often has less to do with how we feel when we say them than how the receiver feels when they hear them. I would say Janie feels pretty dang well and secure, no doubt the result of your exquisite mothering. (Well, Ok, we will give EP, aka Craig, a little credit here too. ;) )

But isn't it comforting that while you are an exquisite momma most of the time, it even pays off in the the times when ya wish you could have done better? She didn't hear the harsh that you did. I would say that is grace.

Love you Bethany.

amanda d said...

Oh, motherhood and forgiveness seem to walk hand in hand, don't they? What a great story ...

Daniel and Cerissa said...

1 Peter chapter 5, that has been my prayer all this week! Especially vs 3. Ironic that we are both feeling the significance of example this week!
I just love how wrestling is growing our boys :)

emily wierenga said...

guileless like her father... effortless like a crayon streak... you are such a good writer, bethany. and such a good mom. i would have been upset too :)

Lori said...

Your tumble scares me! Glad you're ok, sweet friend. You and your observations sure bless me. xo