Children are a real blessing to cherish

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

By the time we make it into the car in the afternoons, the girls are bouncing off the walls.

The high-pitched mixture of voices jockey to see who can be the first to tell mommy about how pickles are made out of cucumbers.

It usually takes the drive from their dad’s house to home before their daily digest has calmed to a manageable sound level.

Last Wednesday, it had been a particularly trying day at work. For all practical purposes it seemed there was a black cloud over the Star-News office. Nothing worked right. Computers weren’t doing their assigned jobs and people were calling the offices or leaving messages on our Web site about how we weren’t doing our job right.

By the time I was finished with my daily duties, I was more than happy to escape the Star-News without a backwards glance. However, on that day, the drive between Andalusia and Red Oak wasn’t enough time to switch gears between work mode and mommy mode.

As we pulled out of their dad’s drive, I could feel my frazzled nerves slipping as the volume level increased from chatter to bar room beer shouts. It wasn’t long before I had taken all I could take and I snapped.

“That’s enough,” I yelled.

And then felt horrible. I always feel guilty when I lose it. Like I’m a bad parent for not having the needed patience to make it through, “She hit me, I hit her back” and the tears.

But, it had just been one of those days.

It was also the day a family in Opp began the rest of their lives mourning the loss of not one, but two, of their children.

Then I felt even guiltier, because I have the opportunity to yell at my kids, love on my kids and hopefully do the same to my grandkids. That family will not have that opportunity, and my heart breaks for them.

As we are setting the dinner table, amidst the clanks of the plates and tings of silverware, the normalcy of our life makes the tears threaten and my throat tighten.

My oldest notices and apologizes for being too loud.

I take a deep breath and feel calmness settle into my stomach. As I let it out, the day’s stress dissipates. I smile and say, “It’s okay.”

And I know that in my small corner of the world, it is going to be okay.

Looking at each of their blonde heads, I give my silent prayer to God — “Please keep them safe, healthy and happy.” And I thank Him for giving me my children.

I work hard to provide the best life I can for them, and I strive each and every minute to let them know how much I love them.

It’s not long before I’m brought to back from my contemplation to the present by requests for more mac-n-cheese.

Then as quickly as the stress of the day boiled over, it’s gone.

And then I drop the bomb.

“Did you know that raisins used to be grapes? They’re just like cucumbers that turn into pickles.”

And the chatter begins again.