Teacher Man had a dinner with colleagues last night at the Factory of Cheesecake…
YUM! There was no way he was going alone so we
suited up the boys for a dinner out and prayed for a children’s menu as we
hauled our giant stroller into the restaurant.
Good news! They had a place to park the stroller, they had a children’s menu that included macaroni ‘n cheese, and several of Teacher Man’s fellow teachers had small children. Yes! They got it. You know? And the new assistant principal even laughed when Ben tried to steal his take-home box of cheesecake.
What struck me most about the dinner was that in between keeping my children from stabbing themselves with dinner knives and having hunger meltdowns, I so desperately wanted to be one of the professionals. It helped with the conversation that I used to be a teacher, but part of me just wanted to make Teacher Man feed the kids so I could talk curriculum, continuing education, and community involvement with the others at the table. Just to bring me back to reality, Caleb was wiggling like there were insects in his britches, and Ben was eating everything within arms reach.
Then the first warning shot went off as we were loading the boys to leave. Teacher Man said that Ben needed to be changed. We were only a few minutes walk from our hotel so I pleaded to just change him back at the room. Way easier than on a restaurant’s restroom changing table, right?
We tried to politely excuse ourselves from the group early, but it takes us so long to get anywhere that we ended up riding the elevator to the hotel with Teacher Man’s principal and assistant principal. You know anything about confined space and poop? Oh my word.
I breathed a sigh of relief when we got in the door to our room, but as I unloaded Ben from the stroller in the room, I noticed a huge glob of brown sitting in his seat. The diaper had leaked, and Ben clearly had diarrhea. Teacher Man was supposed to rush off to a meeting, but he immediately sensed that his place was here, keeping me from having a nervous breakdown or vomiting. I cleaned Ben (and then the bathroom floor) while Teacher Man went after the stroller. Bless that man. And thus ended the drama.
The whole episode got me to thinking though. Professionalism, in my opinion, is based on a series of illusions that we create to show that we have control over ourselves and our immediate surroundings. If I dressed in a sharp, clean suit; had my hair perfectly styled; and walked with confidence; you would assume that I was one in-control lady. What’s more, I would make every effort to surround myself with people who also reflected my standards of control. No sloppy shmucks around me. Remember, I’m in control, and it’s all about my image.
Let’s fast-forward to my actual reality. I have crumbs on my pants that my children left when they sat on my lap, my hair desperately needs a cut and some gray coverage, and I’m carrying a Thomas backpack filled with diapers. Clearly, I am not in control. I’m also surrounding myself with children. Normal children. I’m not saying they shouldn’t learn proper table manners. We’re definitely working on that, but it’s a work in progress. And as with most works in progress, it gets a little messy. We make mistakes, very visible mistakes. There’s no way for me to create any illusion. You have to look at my reality. Seriously. Who can help at least glancing at those loud kids having a meltdown?
I am officially unprofessional. I’m a mom. I’m not even a professional mom because that might mean that I needed to give you the impression that I have this mothering thing down, and
just. don’t. I’m a work in
progress. I’m messy. But maybe, just maybe, seeing my reality will
break down a few of those walls between me and the woman next to me. And
perhaps when I look at my Savior, I can remember that He lived a transparent,
messy life among harlots and lepers in this broken world, taking every
opportunity to remind us that all power belongs to His Father. Control belongs to God. Everything else is just an illusion. So in light of eternity, today I’m choosing
to love transparently and wholly, trusting the Father in Whose sovereign Hands
I rest. Blessings to all of you who are
facing a similarly unprofessional day.