I wanted to write about something else. I wanted to write about the progress of my newly acquired budget. And as I began to piece together how I would word my budgeting blog, God stopped me and shook His head so I moved on.
I then thought that I may write about progress and gratefulness. I wondered if people would care. I wondered if the topic was overdone. Again God shook His head. I sighed. We moved on.
I said what about my hair? Let’s talk about a phenomenon I did NOT see coming. About being true to who we are…And then I got stuck. I’ve said that. OVER and OVER and OVER.
Then I thought of Grams. My mother-in-law came to help us with the house. I did not know she was coming until she was already here. I did not know she was coming until it was too late…
I thought of the day when she told me I kept taking Braden away. She asked me why I did not just go to the back and pump so they could spend time with the baby. Five years later and I am still on edge. When she walked in, my heart dropped. I just knew she would frown at my sink full of dishes, un-mopped floors, and unkempt counter tops. I hurried to pull as much of the house together as I could. I wanted her to see that I am trying. I wanted her to sense that I am doing the best that I can. I wanted her to believe that I am good enough for her son.
As I resurfaced from toilet scrubbing duty, I sighed at the stack of debris she wiped from underneath the couch. I sighed again as she used her hand to gather the crumbs on the table from dinner the night before. Yet, I pulled myself together, and we went to the grocery store to buy Gatorade. I talked to her about our new budget and couponing, how we are working to build up a savings. Consequently, we had to wait to buy paper plates and paper towels until tomorrow.
She admitted she did not know how they did it back then. They lived paycheck to pay check on a much smaller salary even accounting for inflation. They had a family member who would always help out until they got paid.
I smiled and thought of all the times family bailed me out. I paid for my wine and bread separately, and she said she could have paid. I responded that I did not want her to have to pay for my wine. Then we went home. I shortly left back out to conquer my pre-planned errands and clear my mind of all the shortcomings I felt my mother-in-law passive aggressively highlighted.
As I recounted the days’ events to my sister, she asked, “would it have bothered you if mom did it?” And before I could respond, she continued, “It would not have bothered you if mom did it…if she swept the mess from underneath the couches, wiped the crumbs from the table”…offered to pay for your groceries for the week. “You think that she is judging you, but is she really? Perhaps it is you judging yourself. Maybe she’s like mom and just wants to help.”
It was then that I thought back to her story about that family member who made sure they had enough to make it – paycheck to paycheck, day to day. I think now of how I would want my son’s wife to accept me – to accept my help.
In the end, we are all just mom’s trying to make it. We are trying to make the best lives for our children, offering unconditional love both to them and to the people they choose to love.
And God smiled and He said, “Yes. Let’s write about that…”
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