Attitude Check

There are two mornings in our household that are high-stress for me: Tuesdays, when I am supposed to be in Grimshaw by 10:00 a.m. for the weekly "Mom's Time Out" Bible Study there (a twenty-minute drive), and Sundays, when our goal is to make it to church on time for 11:00.

Today was no exception. By 11:00, the breakfast dishes were just being cleared from the table, the kids were being packed into outside gear, I was finally getting to run a brush through my hair, and Jason was trying to pack kids out to the van. My nerves started to fray a little.

We got to church, and the service was already in full swing. Trying to corral Noah in that big, open foyer is like trying to catch a plastic grocery bag on a windy day--just when you think you've got him, you close your hand on thin air, and he is off on another lap. Words don't help either--he will just pretend he didn't hear you. (Or maybe he really didn't hear you, in the fashion of a one-track-mind, three-year-old-male.) Anyway, by the time we finally got all the outside gear off, my nerves were even more frayed. We caught all three wild colts (Jabin being the easiest!) and herded them into a pew.

After the service, the chaos continued. It was "Name Tag Sunday," the idea being that the congregation can congregate around snacks in the foyer (and try to restrain themselves from being guilty of the sin of gluttony) and get to know each other better.

One little Noah is much more agile and nimble in a crowded church foyer than his poor mom. By the time we were finally ready to leave, I had chased Noah out of the sanctuary at least four times, and after getting his coat on and turning my attention to his brother for five seconds, I had to go find him again. (I may or may not have been muttering something about having the attention span and self-control of a gnat.)

Everyone was finally back in their outside gear (except their boots) and in one location, so we headed to the back stairs landing, where we had left our footwear upon arrival.

"That's on the wrong foot, Jude," I said. He ignored me. Jason came through, quickly shod Jabin and headed out to start the van.

"That's on the wrong foot, Jude," I said again. He took his boot off his right foot, then got distracted by Noah who, with his usual uncanny luck, got his boots on the correct feet, as he does 98% of the time. Jude put the boot back on his right foot.

"That's on the wrong foot, Jude," I repeated. I'm not sure why I was so insistent on making sure he corrected his error, except perhaps I was feeling like I should try to make at least one thing from this crazy morning go right. Noah headed out the door to follow Jason.

In frustration, I raised my voice a little.

"Jude! That's on the wrong foot!"

He looked at me at last.

"Why you keep saying that, Mom?"

I was taken aback. "Because you are putting your boot on the wrong foot, and I thought you would be more comfortable if you put it on right."

"It's okay, Mom. It's okay if it's on that foot!"

Of course it was okay. What was my problem, anyway?

"You're right, Jude. You can put your boot on that foot if you want."

He actually did switch them around before he headed out the door. And I, chastened through the mouth of my four-year-old, followed sheepishly behind.

And the rest of the day? Went much better.