Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Humble Pie

"Less likely to see print is writing that honors our imperfections and chips away at the walls we've constructed between ourselves and others; that reminds us that what we value most is not for sale; that acknowledges the inevitable fact of suffering and the surprising ways it sometimes enriches us." --Krista Bremer, Associate Publisher of The Sun magazine

My favorite thing about this quote is where it came from. This quote is from a direct mail letter that I received yesterday from The Sun magazine, a magazine so amazingly cool that their junk mail is quotable. If you have never read The Sun I highly recommend it. It is full of writing that, "...honors our imperfections and chips away at the walls we've constructed between ourselves and others...that acknowledges the inevitable fact of suffering and the surprising ways it sometimes enriches us."

I hope this post will be as well. 

Coming on the heels of my post about peace on Monday, this one will be heavy with irony. Even as it was being automatically posted by the wonder that is blogger, I was lying on the couch, foot up on a block of ice, nursing an aching heel that came from a decidedly UN-peaceful moment. 

Every Sunday night we have a family meeting. This week was "hammer mom week." It was an official agenda item: Chop Off Mom's Head. 

The reason? I have been proposing for months, and finally insisted upon at this meeting, a one-week ban on screen time. ALL screen time. For ALL of us. (Okay, not email and word processing and blogging and anything that could reasonably be considered "work," but everything else...)

It did not go over well. 

There was shouting. There were tears. There was a 45-minute rant about what a horrible mother I am. And at the end of that, there was a threat to run away, out into the dark of the night without so much as a sweatshirt. 

I refused to allow it, which upped the ante and made it even more attractive. And then my husband threw in his two cents. And agreed. With the kid. 

Oooooh, was I mad. MAD mad. Stomping mad you might say. 

So mad in fact that I stomped my foot, repeatedly, on our newly uncovered hard wood (oak, not fir) floors and bruised (hopefully not broke) my heel. Badly. 

So badly that when I tried to walk I found myself in great pain. So badly that I had to sit down. For the next three days (and counting....). 

I also "spiked the cheese," - threw a block of cheddar cheese on the ground like a football player celebrating in the end zone - not once, but twice. My kids will be happy to tell you ALL about it. Mom spiking the cheese has already gone down in the history of our family as one of the funniest things that has ever happened, EVER. (For the record, the cheese was wrapped in plastic and survived to be eaten once again.)

And that's not even the worst part. 

The worst part is. I was wrong. Let me say that again. I was WRONG. 

My son "ran away." He ran one lap around the block in the dark with no shoes and no jacket and came back in less than 60 seconds, breathless and completely over it. He came into the bedroom where I sat reading to my other son, sat directly across from me and said, "That was kind of scary." Then he snuggled in and started reading with us. He hasn't complained about the screen time ban since. 

So, a bruised ego to go with my bruised (hopefully not broken) heel. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

My favorite part about this story has been the reactions of others as I have told it. I decided pretty early on not to lie or make up a story about what had happened (there really aren't a whole lot of options when it's the bottom of your heel that is injured, it's kind of a hard part of your body to hurt), but to tell the truth. 

And in this case the truth has been a way to honor my own imperfections and chip away at the walls I've constructed between myself and those around me. 

When I told my neighbor what had happened the look on his face was one of relief, as if to say, "Oh thank God, it's not just us." When I told a group of moms, they laughed and one shared a story from her childhood about the way her parents used to fight. When I told a friend she admitted that a story she had previously told me was not the whole truth and that her anger had in fact led to that incident and not an accident as she had led everyone to believe.

Sharing my story of anger and pain, of suffering and humanity, has indeed enriched my relationships in surprising ways. And that seems worth a few days on the couch.


  1. Sending heel healing thoughts! Thanks for your honesty.

  2. Love you & your authenticity! Thanks for sharing the whole story and for showing us what a real, loving family looks like! & can't wait to hear about Mom "spiking the cheese" from the boys!