The Siders’ house has been the headquarters of a host of eclectic maladies this week. Which is another way of saying we got nothing done. Not the Christmas shopping or the home scrubbing. Just staying alive, feeding ourselves. That was enough.

Today was our big day to knock it out, all the things that had been mercilessly stacking up, waiting to happen. Josh promised to take the lead on the errands earlier in the week, but this morning he awoke stricken with the crud.

We laid low, hoping for the Dad to be cured so he could resume his duties, but soon it was clear I would be our family Santa. I decided to take John along. It would do him good after being cooped up all week. One successful trip to the bookstore assured me our Target stop would be manageable. Even enjoyable?


We made it through housewares and into the grocery section when he decided his heart was set on the chocolate donuts. Not understanding the concept of currency, theft and other legalities, he attempted to pry open the package to retrieve a pastry. Being a responsible parent, I placed them back on the shelf and played it cool while he tantrumed in his timeout next to the dinner rolls. This is normal, right?

We pulled ourselves together eventually, or at least he did. Until the part where I pretended to leave him near the frozen foods. (I should know better because pretending to leave never works. He just stares at me brazen-faced while he walks the other direction.)

I hoisted his twisting, protesting body into the air as the conservative lady with the snug bun and ankle skirt looked at me with pity, knowing I hadn’t read her parenting book. We needed a stop at the restroom to avoid a call to the police.

He screamed and cried and pounded the door. More angry energy than I had ever witnessed from this kid. And there we were, in the germ-infested Target bathroom. I know we both felt trapped. And I was kept thinking someone was going to hear and think I needed law enforcement’s assistance to control my child. Or at least to keep from injuring him.

Maybe 10 or 15 minutes later, after one call to Dad and an attempt to videotape the tantrum for proof of what I lived through, there was a moment of silence and I made the most of it.

Not that I should be gloating here, but his relative compliance afterward may signal a mom win. Or maybe it’s too early to say.

As we snuggled up in bed tonight, I whispered to him, “You are my favorite and I love you very much. Even though you were a total punk at Target.” He took it well.

I think this is what God says to us after our gigantic, selfish meltdowns. That even though we are totally self-obsessed and rude, he likes us anyway, and he will still make sure we have food in our tummies and gas in our cars tomorrow.

No other agenda to writing tonight except I just had to get this crazy day off my chest. I guess I can say this:

Parenting is weird. And it sure makes me appreciate God’s patience.