The four year old screams at his brother. And it is one time too many.
I am the camel and he is the straw and I am broken. My spine, my concentration, my control, they are all fractured and before I know what’s happened the braying, kicking animal in me has taken over. I have been provoked and I attack, spewing foulness from deep within my gut.
It is over as quickly as it started but the damage has been done. One sniffles and one cowers and I stand there, heart racing, trying desperately to hide my hideous hump, wipe the disgusting spit from my lips.
The middle boy, the sensitive one, he comes to me, timidly. He wasn’t the focus of my episode, but he’s been wounded by the emotional shrapnel. He inches close, buries his head into my side, mumbles “Mom, you scared me”.
And though all I want to do is justify myself, rationalize my actions, compare myself to those camel mothers I know that are worse – I must apologize.
So I hug this one and I talk softly to that one. I explain that I shouldn’t have acted that way and ask for forgiveness.
And I hope and wish and pray that, one row at a time, my skills improve – that I learn to knit a relationship of love with my children that can withstand the occasional flaw that I’ve stitched into the pattern of their lives, that the end product of my efforts, though not perfect, will still be functional, still be beautiful.
Dear God, please continue to work a transforming process in my ugly, animal, camel nature.