When H emptied a full commuter coffee cup over the threshold of the front door as we were leaving the house on what felt like a Monday but worse, I reacted. Boy, did I react. "OH, how could you do that! What a mess!" Actually I can't remember the exact words, as I was holding my head in my hands and trying not to scream. He reacted by pulling his hood down, covering his face and wailing. I knew immediately (but not soon enough) what had happened. Henry was simply trying to bring me my coffee cup as I loaded up the car and stroller in the garage. He was trying to be thoughtful and helpful and all the things we hope our children will be but are never quite sure how to teach. This could have been a beautiful moment, but my decision to react dramatically made us both miserable.
I quickly changed my tune and hugged away the tears. I grabbed the closest towel and threw it over the puddle. As I had an early morning meeting and simply could not arrive late AGAIN, I rushed out the door with the boys in tow to daycare. Henry seemed to join in with routine calmness when we arrived, but I wasn't fooled. I knew I had hurt his feelings. I drove to work with a big knot in my stomach. I arrived late but not conspicuously so. Still the morning was overshadowed with the knowledge that as a working mom, at times I fail at both.
My employer will survive my mistakes, but will my child? My job is important, but my son is my world. More and more, I find myself praying for the chance to do better by him and his brother. If only I could learn from my mistakes before I make them. Maybe then, no one would cry over spilled mocha.