It had been an epic morning, and not in a good way. It was a morning that moviemakers would place in a screenplay and highly trained actors would portray with humor, and audiences would double over with laughter in darkened theaters. For the two of us actually living that morning, though, it was not motion picture perfect. It was painful.
She fought me with every ounce of her forty-pound body. If I asked her to do it, it suddenly became an impossible task. If I raised my voice, she raised her attitude even higher. If I lowered my voice to really get her attention, she ignored me completely.
It was not a good morning, and I found myself grateful for the thirty-minute commute to her school that usually makes me crazy. I needed to cool off, and she needed time to get herself together. My blood pressure was higher than it should be, and her face was red and splotchy from tears. We needed time to go from, “I said for you to PUT. YOUR. SHOES. ON! NOW!!!!” to, “Have a good day, sweetheart.” Time to go from, “WHY DO YOU INSIST ON ACTING THIS WAY?” to, “I love you.” Time to go from what we never wanted people to see to the facade of a totally put-together family.
Even as I type one of the above refrains from our morning, I find myself pounding my fingers on the keys. Yes…it was a bad morning.
As we pulled up to her school and her teacher came to the car to get her, I felt better. Sunshine and Christian radio had cooled things down, and she and I had even had a couple of laughs on the way. I kissed her. Gave her a hug. Helped her out of her seat.
As I did, I noticed one of her friends on the playground was wearing a shiny silver tiara, its rhinestones shimmering in the early-morning light. Her teacher followed my gaze, and said, “Ohhh, yes. The tiara. Her mom said they had one of those uncooperative, ‘maybe this will work’ kinds of mornings.”
And those words…..they were like a balm on my battle-weary heart. The thing is….that little girl? The one wearing the tiara? She was part of what appeared to be a picture-perfect family. Her mother was a professional, and always seemed so organized and put-together and in control of things. The truth of it is that her mother was one I never wanted to see my bad mornings. Her mother was one for whom I always put on my “I’ve got this under control” Mommy mask. So as I watched the teacher hold my little girl’s hand, walking her onto the playground, I felt the unmistakable hand of God on my arm.
“You aren’t the only one dealing with this. You aren’t the first mom to have a morning like this, and you won’t be the last. This is a phase, and it, too, shall pass.”
Friends, whatever battle you’re enduring today, you aren’t the only one. Perhaps the specific details of your situation are unique. Perhaps the back story to your scenario is unusual….but you are not the only one. Your battle – be it motherhood or marriage or finances or extended family drama or illness – is not unique to you, and it is not yours to fight alone.
No matter how perfect things appear for other people, you are only seeing what they choose to allow you to see. You are only seeing the finished product – the final edit of what they want to present to the world. You don’t get to see the things they wish hadn’t gone into the production. You don’t get to see the memories they have relegated to the cutting room floor. You only get to see what they offer to you, and that is not the whole story.
Keep in mind that as hard as you try to look picture-perfect for someone else, she is probably trying just as hard to appear that way, too. You’re not the only one. Someone else is there, too. Someone else understands, and more likely than not, she needs to see that you’re fighting the battle, too.