Assault with a deadly pair of socks.

 

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I’m not sure if it’s a blessing, or a curse. Maybe it’s both.

I’ll just come straight out and say it. I have an unusually good sense of smell.

I hate to brag. But, yes. I’ve got a good sniffer.

Case in point, I have called the city gas company on several occasions alerting them of a specific address or intersection where I smell a potential gas leak. Do you know how many of those times I have later seen a crew repairing said gas leaks in the exact spot that I’ve reported? Every single time. I’m not saying the city should hire me as a “gas sniffing unit” just yet, but they might want to keep the idea in the back of their minds.

Anyway, this sense of smell can come in handy, but it can also lead to suffering. Suffering in the form of extreme awareness of foul odors.

And let me tell you, I have I met some foul odors in my day. But just this past weekend, I experienced a new level of one particularly rancid odor.

And it wasn’t it a gas leak.

It was my son’s socks.

Granted, the poor kid has been hearing complaints from me for years about his socks. They’ve never smelled like roses. In fact, roses are probably now offended that I even dared make the comparison. Please forgive me.

Anyway, one time, in a hotel room, our family decided to put Karson’s socks and shoes in the hallway overnight because none of us could stand the odor with them in the room. We figured if anyone dare steal them, then bless their hearts. And noses. We’d buy new ones. But, his socks and shoes were there in the hallway the next morning, and my son’s pride remained in tact. Karson owns up to it. He’s just thirteen, but he’s a true man when it comes to owning his stinky feet. He’s not ashamed.

So, this past weekend, my husband and I “divided and conquered” with the kids. I took two of the kids to Michigan for my son’s basketball team to play in a tournament, and my husband stayed home to coach our third child’s game. We all had fun. It was a wonderful weekend of friends and basketball, and my son’s team got to play in seven basketball games over the course of two days. And bonus, they won them all! What great memories!

But here’s the problem. Minutes after getting into our van to drive the two hours home Sunday evening, I smelled trouble. I did not even have to turn around to verify my suspicion. Karson had taken his shoes off.

And I was about to pass out.

And then I find out why it’s this bad. This whole new level of awful. This “my eyes are burning” odor that is now assaulting me from the back seat.

He wore the same socks for all seven basketball games.

Yeah. You heard me. All seven basketball games. Same pair of socks. No washing machine. No spray deodorizer. No “airing them out outside.”

No comprendo. 

So… the conversation went like this.

“Karson. Something has to happen right now with your socks. I can not make it the rest of the way home in this condition. This situation is not going to work.”

Deep breath. Hold it. 

Exhale.

I continue. “I don’t care if you like those socks or that they’re Under Armor socks. Do we need to pull over and throw them away?”

“Hmm.” Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson barely notices the odor and doesn’t understand why wearing socks seven games in a row without washing them is bad.

I exhale and reload. 

“Okay,” I add. “I have an idea. Why don’t we find a bag and you can put your socks in it and wrap them up SUPER tight to try and stifle the odor.”

Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson slowly wraps the socks of death in a trash bag that we miraculously found in the van.

And we made it home.

Who knows, we may have passed several gas leaks on our way and I was not able to sniff them out and call them in because of the sock situation.  I guess I may never know.

But this I do know.

Seventh grade boys aren’t always going to smell great. Or even acceptable.

And they don’t care.

But, if you can hold your breath for awhile, and remember how much you love them, stink and all, you’re in for a great ride!

 

 

I Care About How My Kids Look During Their Sporting Events.

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When we were kids, my younger brother owned a sweatshirt with words on the front that read,

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you look playing the game.”

Oddly enough, this statement was accompanied by a cartoon penguin wearing a baseball cap. Apparently this image was to help convey the message that we too could look as cool as an athletic penguin while competing in sports. Built-in tuxedo not included.

Regardless of the marketing scheme, I remember the motto. “…it’s how you look playing the game.”

I never really bought into the sentiment.

I’m more for playing the game with determination and grit than winning any style points. But, as I’ve gotten older, and have become a mother to young athletes of my own, I’ve changed my mind a little.

The sentiment has taken on a new meaning to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I care very little about my kids’ appearance on the court or field when it comes to their fashion. The cartoon penguin may have them beat in the “cool” department.

But, I do care about how my children look during their sporting events.

How they look in the manner of what they do.

Because what they do is an overflow of who they are.

For example, if my son accidently collides with an opponent at first base, I’m concerned about what his next actions look like. Will he get up and brush himself off and argue with the umpire over the call? Or will he get up and reach out his hand to help his opponent to his feet? No matter the umpire’s call.

If my daughter is called for a travel on the basketball court, will she slam the ball down and roll her eyes, or toss the ball to the referee and continue to play the game to the best of her ability? Even if she knows in her heart she didn’t travel in the first place.

If my son’s team wins on a buzz beater will he still line up to give the other team high fives and congratulate them for a game well played?

If my son’s team loses a heartbreaker, and he’s the one to miss the game-deciding free throw, will he still believe his life is no less valuable than it was twenty minutes before?

You see, how my kids look during their athletic competitions is the indicator of who they are that I can see as their mother. Their actions are an overflow of their heart. Their responses and reactions to the game show me their character.

And as their mom, I care deeply about their character.

Matthew 12:34b says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

I want them to be children who value kindness more than victory. Empathy more than points. Integrity more than statistics. Sportsmanship more than sports.

I want them to look their coaches in the eye and truly listen to their instruction. I want them to be respectful to the referees, as well as to their own teammates, and opponents. In victory, or in defeat.

Don’t get me wrong. I want them to win. They get their competitive nature from both their dad and me. And it’s a pretty strong one at that! But, as much as I want them to win, I care about their character even more.

The games will end. The scoreboard lights will be turned off. But who my kids are, as a result of what they learn on the court, will remain. And that’s how I ultimately define winning now.

I guess how they look playing the game is pretty important to me now.

Too bad I don’t have one of those penguin sweatshirts to wear to their games.


This article originally appeared as a guest post on the Winning Women website: “Connecting and Equipping the Female in Sport.”

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

Today, after three years of labor, my book has been born! (Phew!)

I’m so excited to announce that my first book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, is now available on Amazon in paperback, and for the Kindle.

You can find it here:

 

Also, I had a book trailer made to give everyone a short glimpse of what the book is about – much like you’d discover from reading the back cover. If you’d like to see it, it is here:

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to follow my writing page on Facebook, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/christycabewriter/

Thanks for your support, reader!

Happy Birthday, Book!

Christy

Where I Want To Be.

My left hand rested on the top of the steering wheel freeing my other hand to hold the warm travel coffee mug. Through the speakers the morning weatherman projected a mix of sun and storms. Seemed about right. A new front was moving in.

Late August meant the seasons were about to change. Summer was bowing out and preparing to yield to the beauty of a Midwestern fall.

One season coming to an end and another on the verge of emerging, not only on the calendar, but also in my life.

I couldn’t get the parallel out of my mind as I headed south from my Indiana home toward Music City. According to my iPhone, I had over six hours of driving before I reached my hotel in Nashville.

Before I even left my hometown city limits, I passed the hospital with the sprawling campus that sits beside the highway. I swallowed hard. It was at that very place my three babies entered this world. Twelve years before today’s road trip the oldest had arrived, a week late, proclaiming that I no longer possessed the same control over my schedule or emotions. I had quit my job and stayed home with that baby boy. I stayed up nursing and rocking him and watching infomercials in the middle of the night. I changed him and helped him learn to walk and eat solid foods. It was an exhausting season, but it was where I wanted to be.

Two years later, when that little boy was diagnosed with cancer, I spent hours upon hours in that same sprawling hospital watching his body receive chemotherapy and blood transfusions from strangers. I cried tears of agony and snuggled beside him in the hospital bed. It was a seemingly impossible task of motherhood. And though I never would have chosen the leukemia for him, walking beside my son through the healing was where I wanted to be.

Within a few years, two more precious babies had arrived. Sisters, less than two years apart. Three kids under six and a now healthy boy starting Kindergarten. The days were long and messy. Exhausting and delightful. I did much caring and loving and teaching and helping. I put in the pigtails and the hair bows. I dressed the baby dolls and learned the names of all the wooden trains. I lost sleep and found joy in the mundane. It was where I wanted to be.

Home full-time with three kids for more than a decade. It had been difficult and blissful wrapped up in a bow. It had been a gift. The life I’d always dreamed about and was so blessed to be given by a supportive husband. It was the path I’d always wanted to walk.

But now the path is changing.

The winds of a new season are picking up speed and blowing strong emotions through my heart.

My youngest child climbed the bus steps for the very first time just last week. Her little blonde head barely visible through the bus window as she headed off to Kindergarten and I ventured into a new stage of life.

They’re not babies anymore.

They’re in middle school and happy elementary classrooms filled with friends and caterpillars and great learning curves.

The season of being home full-time with little ones is over. The trail has narrowed.

A few tears threatened to spill out of my eyes and were making it difficult to see the road ahead. I blinked them away and remembered once again. I was blessed to walk a path I’d dreamed would one day lie in front of me. It hadn’t been an easy stroll, but it had been a gift.

And now the terrain is taking on a new look.

I’m still a mommy. But during the day my nest is empty and my focus has changed. I am sad that the preschools years are over, but I have no doubt the next season will be just as beautiful, but in a different way than the one before it. Just because the trail has narrowed, doesn’t mean there is not still beauty all around me.

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The road this day was leading to a writing conference in Nashville, Tennessee where I’d be learning and growing as a writer, as well as pitching a book proposal to two literary agents and an editor. I was so excited about the potential and my dreams, that I could barely fall asleep the night before.

And as the hospital campus faded away in my rearview mirror I smiled to myself.

The seasons were changing. The path was narrowing. But it was where I wanted to be.

I could look ahead with anticipation and an obedient heart to what God would lay before me. I was confident in this because I have sought Him as my trail guide. He knows the path. And He will gently lead me in the days ahead.

I loved the season of baby toes and onesies. Though painful, I was faithful through chemo drugs, steroid rage, and scary trips to the ER. I did the Kindergarten round-ups and registrations and back-to-school shopping. I found the green vinyl folder with the two pockets and three metal fasteners.

And I will treasure those moments for as long as I live.

I had the honor and privilege of being home with my children. But the preschool years are now behind me.

The highway is leading to new places, and adventures, and trials, and rejections, and hopes, and thrills.

I set my cruise control, turned up the radio and sang along with the music of the day.

The trail narrows. It’s time.

And with my eyes on my Trail Guide, I can trust that the journey ahead will be another beautiful gift. It’s where I want to be.


This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are encouraged to write about a topic based on a one-word prompt. We are a challenged to write for about 5 minutes. This week I cheated. Gasp! I had already written this essay, but had not posted it yet. I used my FMF time to edit and tweak this post to work with this week’s word: PATH. I’m sorry! I hope you’ll forgive me! 😉

Together.

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The five of us knelt by the couch in our family room. Our hair was blonder and our skin more tan than three months before when summer began. Now it was the night before school started back in session. The eve of routine and alarm clocks.

My husband asked if I’d be the one to pray aloud for the family as we prepared for the next morning and new season of life. I agreed, but took a deep breath first as the thoughts of all the transitions to come filled my mind.

Our oldest child would be heading to middle school in the morning at a somewhat ungodly hour. Many days he’ll leave before the sun comes up. He had practiced his locker combination and reviewed his new schedule sufficiently, yet it felt like the unknowns still trumped our preparation.

Our middle child was off to second grade, where reading skills and independence increase at a surprising but encouraging rate. She’s turning into a little lady right before my eyes.

And the biggest transition that was looming over me and causing my shoulders to be tense with dreaded anticipation was sending our youngest child to Kindergarten. After twelve years of staying home full-time with my children, I felt a sadness about my impending empty day-time nest.

Finally I began to pray aloud. My voice quivered a few times as thanked God for His goodness and the gift of a wonderful summer. I had to swallow several times and clear my throat as I asked Him to guide our children this school year and to give them each the two things I most often request on their  behalf: wisdom and courage.

Wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. 

As I said “Amen” my son glanced my way to verify his suspicion that I was holding back the tears. I shrugged and made small talk about getting up to bed. Transitions are hard enough for the kids without them realizing Mommy is about to melt.

Before they got their last drinks of water for the evening and headed up the steps we gathered in a circle and put our hands together. We were as ready as we could be to face the newness.

Now five days later with a week of school under our belts we’ve dealt with a few highs and lows. We’ve rejoiced about sitting next to best friends and eating really good middle school cafeteria lunches (really?). We’ve also had sobbing at the bus stop wishing for more days at home with Mommy. My heart and neck muscles have been wrenched even further. We’ve had excitement over new opportunities to play in the school band, and disappointment for getting scolding for taking too many grapes in the 2nd grade lunch line. Oh, the grapes of wrath!

But we have each other still.

We’ve got each other’s back and we’ve wiped each other’s tears. We’ve delivered forgotten items to the school and slapped each other on the back with joy over new successes.

And so dear family, my favorite home team, here’s to a great school year and to acceptance of all the transitions that comes our way.

May we have the wisdom to know how to live well, and courage to make it happen!


This post is linked up with the Five Minute Friday blogging community. Each Friday a one-word prompt is given here and bloggers are challenged to write for about five minutes about whatever come to mind based on the word. This weeks’ word: TEAM

 

 

Snail Spa

I’ve heard it said that no lake vacation is complete without a man-made snail habitat. Er, something like that. But I can’t argue with the saying, because it certainly rang true for us.

While spending a week with our extended family, my daughters and their cousin not only discovered the snails in the shallow water of the lake, but “rescued” them and carried them a good twenty feet from the water to our deck railing. The girls then spent hours caring for the snails and building a natural habitat out of paper bowls, water from a squirt gun, leaves, scissors, and dish soap.

Of course the scissors and leaves were part of the snail clothing design unit and not so much the living quarters, but useful nonetheless.

The habitat was complete and the snails were quite spoiled with their own bathtubs, showers, and even a hot tub. I can’t speak for the snails, but who could really dislike such a variety of hygiene and relaxation options?

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As I watched the girls bathe the snails for the forty-second time it occurred to me that as parents we really don’t need to create fun for our kids as often as we think we do. Sure, sometimes it’s good to play a family board game or a round of “I Spy” in the car, but most of the time, kids just need a little freedom and maybe some Palmolive.

It’s a delight to watch a child’s imagination at work and to see their little hands design and create- even if it leaves you with a mess and a few less paper bowls in your stash.


This post is was inspired by the Five Minute Friday blogging community where bloggers are invited to write about a topic for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. To see more of this week’s post from other bloggers visit here: http://katemotaung.com/2016/07/14/five-minute-friday-create/

This week’s prompt: CREATE

Easy Does It.

I appreciated the fact that my eleven-year-old son wanted to help me put the groceries into our van from the shopping cart. What I didn’t like quite as much was when he placed a case of water bottles on top of the loaf of bread. The Sunbeam lady on the bread packaging looked a little shocked as well.

Later in the week, my son sat on a piece of cake.

Granted the cake was not on the table, but had been cut and placed on a “to go” plate and covered with plastic for me by my Mom who was sending it home from a family birthday party. She had placed it on a bench by the door for me to grab on my way out and Karson somehow did not see it when he sat down on the bench to tie his shoes. So he says.

Easy, boy.

As the old saying goes, this is why we can’t have nice things. Or recognizable bread slices.

But, apparently, if covered with plastic, you can have your cake, sit on it, and then eat it too.

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This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday challenge where a one word prompt is given and bloggers take 5 minutes to write about whatever comes to mind based on the prompt. Today’s word: EASY. For more posts by other Five Minute Friday bloggers go to http://katemotaung.com

Old News.

I call it the “preemptive strike.” I don’t actually say that term aloud, but I use it in my own head in order to feel like I am in some form of command as a mother. It sounds so official and impressive.

The preemptive strike will look something like this. At bedtime, I will inform my son about what he needs to know the following morning. Listen up, soldier.

“You have a basketball game tomorrow morning at 9:00. We need to leave our house at 8:30. Your uniform is washed and laying on the floor beside your dresser. Make sure you have eaten breakfast and you are in the van by 8:30.”

My son will look me in the eyes and nod his head with a look of apparent understanding. He does not salute me, but I feel the small nod is a good start. All signs point to an agreement between the two of us. Carry on.

Then the following conversation will occur approximately 12 hours later.

“Mom! Where is my basketball uniform?”

“Hey, Mom! What time is my game today?”

“When do we need to leave?”

The preemptive strike has fallen on a dry and barren land and has apparently left no sign of impact.

I smack my head (sometimes quite literally!) and answer his questions while making a mental note to abort all future preemptive missions.

Later in the week, I try a new tactic. I repeat and remind my son of something multiple times in order to give him more opportunities for intake. And then I hear,

“You already told me that. That’s old news.”

Perhaps I should turn in my dog tags.

I am caught between the land of “old news” and the land of “why doesn’t my mom ever tell me what’s going on.”

I’m considering calling a press conference in the morning to complain.

But then again, my son would miss it because he’ll be too busy looking for his basketball uniform.

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This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday challenge, where a group of bloggers write for approximately five minutes after being given a one-word prompt. This week’s word was: News. To see more, click here. http://katemotaung.com

 

My Summer (Guilt) Trip

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The lobby of the dorm where we’d been staying as a family during the summer camp my husband was directing was loud and crowded.

Teenagers laughed and chatted in little groups as they played cards, took selfies, and ate the ice cream sandwiches provided as the official late night snack before the mandatory “lights out” in a few minutes.

My own children, too young to be campers themselves, we’re having a hay day staying up past their bedtimes and playing with the “cool kids.” My ten-year-old son was being trained in how to make the best paper airplane. My six-year-old daughter was following a group of teen girls around like a baby duckling following its mama, and my youngest child, five-year-old Kenzie, was sitting across the room from me.

I focused in on Kenzie.

She sat on a little bench next to a woman she’d just met two days before, the camp nurse. I had just met this woman as well and had enjoyed the few conversations we’d had. Now as I watched Kenzie from across the noisy lobby I was intrigued. Kenzie, who is normally quiet around people she doesn’t know well, looked as if she had launched into an animated dialogue. Her little mouth and hands were both moving rapidly, though I couldn’t hear anything she was saying. I was curious to know what she was sharing with such gusto.

I had some guesses.

She was probably telling her new friend all about our fun summer as a family. How we’d been to the lake for vacation, traveled to a State Park, and had gone to Pennsylvania to visit family on what she thought was an adventure in the mountains. We had enjoyed so much time together this summer, the five of us, playing cards and swimming and laughing. I couldn’t wait to hear what highlights Kenzie had shared.

I threw away the empty ice cream sandwich boxes and made my way through the adolescent mob to Kenzie and the nurse.

“I don’t know what all Kenzie has been telling you, but it sure looked like you’ve been having quite the conversation over here!”

The kind woman shook her head. I waited with a smile on my face to hear which wonderful family memory Kenzie had let her in on.

“Kenzie was just telling me that you have so much work to do, that you sometimes can’t even play Barbies with her.”

The smile on my face slowly allowed gravity to pull it downward.

It took me a moment to grab onto this new train of thought and pull myself up into the rattling freight car that was whizzing down a completely different track than I was expecting.

And though I hadn’t expected to be on this train, I certainly recognized it. I knew where it was headed.

All Aboard, folks, we’re on the fast track to Guilt Town. Mayor Mommy Guilt presiding.

I fumbled around with a few sentences saying something about the things kids say and then I sat down on the bench and changed the subject. Suddenly I felt the need to intensely watch the paper airplane seminar happening a few feet away from us.

I wanted the planes to distract me from the crazy train of thought I was trying to disembark.

I have so much work to do?

 I sometimes don’t play Barbies with her?

 Did she even tell her that sometimes I DO play Barbies with her?

 Did she happen to mention that I’m a stay-at-home Mom and I don’t even GO to work?

Apparently my ticket to Guilt Town had indeed been punched.

I felt guilty.

I didn’t know if I WAS guilty, but I FELT it alright.

And believe me, with the title of “parent” a new skill set arrived. I can feel emotions at a whole new level. The rheostat has been cranked to the max and my emotions are blaring. Each noisy one seems to bring its ugly, uninvited opposite second-cousin once removed.

For example, Elation shows up over chubby feet taking first steps and no sooner does it make itself comfortable, than Worry pushes through the door.

Joy seizes me as I watch a sweet face blow out birthday candles, but I suddenly find myself in the grip of Sadness as I realize that time is moving too quickly for me to savor.

Anticipation fills my mind as I send my child off to school, but soon Doubt waves its arms above its head trying to distract me from enjoying the moment.

Yes, I’ve had a lot of feelings as a Mom. I’ve been all over the map. But I have to say that after frequenting many stops, I think I despise Guilt Town and its Mayor, “Mommy Guilt,” the most.

I’d like to take that Mommy Guilt and ram my knee into her gut and then strangle her with my bare hands and roll her out to the curb.

And I’m not even a violent person.

She’s a scoundrel. She’s selfish and arrogant and let’s face it, she’s fat. She’s a big fat liar.

Mommy Guilt likes to sneak up behind me and whisper things in my ear that cause me to doubt myself and what I know to be true. She can only focus on the negative. The lies. The doubts. The loss.

And I’m sick of her.

The paper airplane sailed in front of me derailing my train of thought.

I’ve got to get off this train. And not just now, but for good.

And it seems to me that the best way to avoid a ride to Guilt Town is to intentionally go in another direction. Toward the truth.

I need to focus on what I know to be true.

Sometimes I don’t play Barbies with my five-year-old.

Sometimes I do.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I fail. I wish for do-overs.

But I’m a mom. I know I don’t do everything right, but I also know I take care of my children. I hug them, snuggle them, discipline them, clothe them, feed them, play with them, teach them, laugh with them and most of all, I love them fiercely.

That’s what I know to be true.

So I think Mayor Mommy Guilt best be working on her resume, because as far as I’m concerned, her term as Mayor of Guilt Town is up.

 

A Glutton For Grace

I drew in a deep breath and then let it out quickly. I pushed my lips firmly together and shut my eyes while I clenched my fists.

Why was I so angry?

It was a pile of toys, for crying out loud. And it was in the basement where the kids are supposed to play with toys.

But I couldn’t let it go. Even though I wanted to, I just felt compelled to make them clean it up before we walked out the door.

They know better. They’ve been warned.

So I called up the steps for the three of them.

“Guys, get down here and clean up this stuff! We’ve got to go and we’re not leaving until it’s picked up!”

My two girls slowly made their way down the steps as if in a depressed stupor. They robotically began to clean up the mess.

And I waited.

Where was their brother? I called up the steps again. I could hear him in the kitchen at the top of the stairs. Certainly he could hear me. Again, I shouted for him to come down, but he did not.

I’d had it.

In my firmest voice I yelled for him and my anger was easily implied in both my tone and my volume.

Karson came down the steps with a confused and hurt look on his face. “What, Mom? What do you want me to do?”

“Are you serious?! I’ve been calling you to come clean up this mess and you’ve been completely ignoring me. Now get to work!”

He lowered his eyebrows in confusion and then squatted down to help his sisters finish clearing the pile.

“Mom, I didn’t hear you. I didn’t know you were calling me.”

I huffed again and then headed up the stairs to get coats and shoes ready for us to head out the door.

As we drove down the road several minutes later the guilt hit me.

I had no reason to yell like I did, and I knew it.

Sure, I had excuses.

IMG_7377My husband had been out of town and I was worn out from taking care of the kids alone for a few days and keeping up with a full schedule. On top of that, I had had this “brilliant” idea to get the kids up that Saturday morning at 6:30 so that we could have an “adventure” and go to the grand opening of a local doughnut shop where the first 100 costumers got free doughnuts for a year. The kids had begged me the previous night to wake them up before dawn that morning so that we could go try to win. I thought it sounded kind of fun and like a great springboard to a special memory (and good doughnuts!) so I set my alarm and we all stood in the freezing cold for an hour and a half that morning.

And we were the 107th in line.

Good things come to those who wait, but these yummy treats and the warm coffee were a long time coming… and not free. But it was a fun morning. And boy were those doughnuts yummy.

Now, as I drove our minivan to my nephews’ basketball games it was only noon, but the kids and I had had our fill of doughnuts, and we were tired.

I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and found Karson in the rearview mirror. I swallowed my pride, as I so often have to do, and said, “Karson, I’m really sorry that I yelled at you in the basement. I thought you heard me ask you to come down and I assumed you were ignoring me. I’m really sorry, bud. Will you forgive me?”

“Yeah. That’s ok.” He said and quickly went back to the conversation he was having with his sister in the backseat.

I thought I’d learned my lesson for the day.

Later in the afternoon as I sat on the top bleacher watching our third basketball game of the afternoon, my sister-in-law climbed back up the bleacher steps and sat back down beside me. She’d gone out to the hall for a few minutes to check on our younger kids who weren’t playing basketball, or watching it for that matter, but were playing together in the hallway all afternoon.

Laura smiled as she sat down and said, “Do you know what happened out there?”

“What? Is everything okay?” I asked.

“Yes, it is now. Karly was upset with Karson about something in the game they were playing in the hallway and she got all worked up and started whining and swinging her arms at him as if she were going to hit him. I stopped and asked her if I needed to bring her to you. Before she could answer, Karson spoke for her. He said, ‘It’s okay, she’s just been up since 6:30.’

Laura laughed with me about how understanding Karson was as a big brother to recognize that his little sister was just tired and needed to be shown some grace.

Outwardly, I agreed with her. Karson was exactly right.

Inwardly, I cringed.

Why couldn’t I have responded to him a few hours earlier in the same graceful way he’d responded to his sister.

I turned my head to watch the basketball game once again but I let my thoughts simmer on Karson’s response for a few moments.

“It’s okay, she’s just been up since 6:30.”

And I realized that our early morning doughnut adventure proved to do more than just make me appear to be a glutton for great sweets.

That day has made me yearn to be a glutton for grace.