Mountain View and Duct Tape

It was eerily quiet. The type of quiet that makes my “mom spidey sense” go off. I quickly took stock of each of my people. Husband at work. Eldest son at work. Baby daughter napping. Four middle sons outside, as evidenced by the laughter and whoopin’ & hollerin’ going on outside.

Sitting at the dining room table, I breathed in this rare moment of quiet and marveled at the sight before me. After days of socked-in clouds, they had parted to reveal pale blue winter sky above Mt. Hoodoo. The remaining, fluffy clouds filtered sunshine down upon the range, showcasing portions of the frosted forest which covers it. Idyllic.

Once again I did headcount on my people. “Yep. All accounted for. There’s NOTHING I need to do but just. be. here.” I decided to peek out on the fun going on outside our front door. Seven rosy-cheeked boys, big and small, with sled-shields, all smiles and involved in the snowball fight of their lives! I smiled, took a quick pic to remember this by, and thanked the Holy LORD for gifting us with neighbors with sons to keep my sons busy!

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Settling back into my seat at my table-with-a-view, I was just about to post my photo with a cute caption such as “Thank God for neighbor boys” or something on that order, when my idyllic moment came to an abrupt end to the sound of glass shattering.

Turning around my reality was snow, wet, dirt, and glass shards allllll over the entry and into the kitchen. I ran to the window and saw those same seven, rosy-cheeked boys with much different expressions on their faces. I gotta be honest, I had a lot of things on my mind to yell say just about then, and to yell say in a not-so-nice tone. Selfishness over my moment being ruined was welling up in anger and simultaneously I was also very aware that this was a moment of testing for me. I’ve had moments like these before, which I did not react well to. Here was another chance.

I started picking up glass when several large bodies tumbled into the entry. I threw out there, “I was just about to tell ya’ll to move your fight away from the house….” but stopped there because I sensed a warning going off for where my words and tone would go next. Funny thing–because I was quiet, I was able to listen. And here’s what struck me. Nobody was pointing fingers. The boy (one of mine) responsible for the damage came up and apologized for the mess. All were looking for how to help. One boy grabbed a broom; another started a mop bucket. And we all just got after it. Soon the eldest neighbor boy came over with a pane of glass he found in his family’s shop and started sizing it up against the opening.

Within a few moments, the mess was cleaned up, and there was a buzz among three young men about how they could fix the window. Tape measures and wood scraps made their appearances. Plans and measurements were scribbled down. I took my exit and sat down to write this.

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As I sit here, the house is once again empty and quiet and peaceful. Boys are once again happily playing outside after having taken responsibility for their actions. There is glass duct-taped into place awaiting more permanent fixing. And I’m thinking about how differently this could have ended. I know the difference, because I’ve experienced it before. Broken window. Mom yelling accusations and issuing consequences. Sadness and tears on all accounts.

I’m thankful I listened to the inner brake system this time and quieted down. I’m thankful for His work, slowly chipping away at all my many, glass-jagged spots. Tomorrow I may flub it up again. At some point, I most certainly will. But today, I’ll be thankful and savor this small victory.

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