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So, last night I decided to make a big dinner to celebrate having the whole family home from Winter Camp. The whole family, however, ended up consisting of me and two kids. The rolls that I made (from scratch!) burned in the pan and the entire event careened wildly downhill after that. I could go into the dismal details, but here’s the recap:

Joe: “Um…mom?” (yeah, whatever follows these two words is never good news).

Bo (not very nice tone): “What Joe?”

Here there was a long pause while he worked up the courage to say:

“Um…I don’t so much like asparagus.”

This is where I should have paused and perhaps prayed for patience or wisdom. Nope.

“Um, Joe? I don’t so much care. You’re eating them.”

As I was adding them to his plate, I felt the sauce seeping through my oven mitt and onto my naked finger which ended up in the very same condition as the rolls. This made me the exact opposite of happy.

I realized at this point that my dinner was turning into a disaster, so I took a deep breath and decided NOT to care and – instead – to enjoy my kids and this time with them. And I even managed to do just that until Joe, skeptically eying his roll, said:

“Um, mom?”

Bo (Nice? No.): “What, Joe?”

Joe (trying to sound positive and hopeful so that I won’t recognize it as an incoming complaint): “My roll is pretty burnt.”

Seriously, say it like you’re telling someone it’s going to be a bee-yoo-tee-ful! day and you’ll have Joe’s strategy for confrontation in a nutshell.

Bo (snapping beneath the weight of the Very Last Straw): “You are a spoiled American. If you were in Africa, that roll would be the best thing you’ve ever seen!”

Yep, that’s right…it’s a brilliant argument and you can feel free to use it any time someone doesn’t like what you cook (that’s called “Take Home Value”, my friends!)

I silently and soberly reviewed the events of my celebration dinner. Failed food. Failed coping skills. Failed love.

A couple of minutes later, Tess – clearly reading the situation and going for a special spot in the will – said, “Mom, this was really good.”

And Josiah agreed.

And I hugged him and kissed his head and said Sorry for Being so Yelly Tonight – I Don’t Wanna be That Mom.

And he laughed and forgave me and said Can I be Done with my Chicken?

He and Tess did the dishes and I went downstairs to watch Rachel Ray make flawless Greek Chicken Kabobs. Did you know she makes $10,000,000 per year?

So that was it. Not a day full of failures, but definitely a dinner full of them. I’m really so thankful for the idea of tomorrow. For all the days and dinners that are to come. For lots of chances to have the perfect moment with my kids and for lots of motivation to keep working at it.

Failures? They just keep us humble and trying. And that makes them deceptively beautiful.

March 12, 2008 - 6:25 am

helenw13 - Been there…and by the way…Rachael Ray…just has dogs! They only whimper back and then take cover and take a nap!
Aaaahhhh…beauty in the mundane!

March 12, 2008 - 4:10 pm

bolovesjoe - LOL! SO true about Rachael Ray…so, so true. It seems unfair that someone without children to support takes home that kind of cash. However, it’s because of her that I learned the way to my dog’s heart is buttered toast and that has saved many house sitters!

March 12, 2008 - 5:25 pm

Katie - I can say Amen to that! Buttered toast = happy Abby (and thus happy, and much less scared, Katie)!!

March 12, 2008 - 8:30 pm

cassie - Can i say, THANK YOU?!

thanks for being a real mom… and a great mom!

my real-great mom has had many a night when situations were not so great and then the “sorry for being all yelly” talk that always made me cry, and say, “it’s ok mom.”

I love your blog.

March 12, 2008 - 10:45 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – it’s so good to hear from an actual well-adjust adult that a mom can mess up a few times (or more than a few – I hope!) and not have her kids end up on Dr. Phil. Phew!

March 13, 2008 - 2:38 am

Lindsey Diacogiannis - Bo… it is refreshing to hear the honesty of your blog! Keep being a great mom and being real!

many blessings! <

March 14, 2008 - 5:32 am

helenw13 - hmmm…buttered toast?! I think that is what our backyard neighbor has been throwing over the fence to quiet our sweet Hazel’s bark…very interesting!

March 15, 2008 - 7:50 pm

Cher - I wish reading your post wasn’t so deja vu! I thought for a moment you were revealing a dinner spent at my house.:) I will forever treasure your comment about the deceptive beauty of failure…and I will activily search for it in those moments when my flesh fails so horribly. The grace of God continues to give strength and new beginnings amidst the sadness of my failures.