Joy in a Broken Cup

What a morning!

Nathanael turned on the baby monitor next to me in the guest room (where I had spent the last three hours of the night blissfully asleep!) at 6:51am, and I was promptly awakened by Hope’s screams. I sat up and turned the monitor off so as not to wake Ella before stumbling upstairs to nurse the baby as Nathanael raced out the door to head to work.

Evidently Hope had fallen asleep after Nathanael warmed a bottle for her, so it was still on the nightstand now that she was awake again, and it was still warm. I attempted to give Hope the bottle since she hasn’t been taking a bottle well lately. The more practice, the better, right? Her response was the infant equivalent of cussing me out.

As I sat, groggily nursing the baby, staring at the clock telling me I had made it to 6:57am, I heard Ella yelling from her bedroom downstairs. Awesome.  An hour earlier than her usual wake-up time. She was at my bedside a few minutes later appearing deceptively cheery.

Hope went back to sleep once her tummy was full, bless her. And Ella managed to mostly whisper until we were safely downstairs, away from the sleeping baby. Praise God!

Fast forward through the next 2.5 hours of me struggling to cope with the early start to the day and Ella either being busy and demanding or having big meltdowns over small things approximately every five minutes. At this point Ella and I are outside, where I’m trying to find peace and sanity in a book on the swing while Ella plays on the porch. She wants to ride her tricycle in the driveway, so I get up to help her put her helmet on. I’m dragging the hose across the driveway and in the middle of saying, “Ella, you can ride your bike on this side of the hose. Don’t go past the hose,” when I hear a crash behind me. My coffee mug that I set on the porch has just been knocked down the steps by the hose in my hand. There went the last of my morning coffee. Not that it matters; it’s decaf these days.

It was one of my favorite mugs, a gift I received a decade ago from my sister. I love it for its big size and bright green color, and because it’s from Melissa.

Ella promptly started crying just shy of hysterically. “Oh nooooo,” she yelled, “Mommy cawky BOKE!!!” (Mommy’s coffee broke).

I felt like yelling, too. Of course one of my favorite mugs broke today of all days! Of course I don’t have coffee I feel like I need even though it’s decaf on a day when I was woken up so abruptly and way too early! But I quickly realized that I needed to show Ella that broken stuff really isn’t a big deal. So I told her repeatedly that it was ok as I cleaned up the pieces and hosed the coffee off of the porch steps. As I did so, I thought about the quote on the mug:

“So it’s true! You’re the giggliest girl in the world! And what a delightful title to have…” ~ Maggie Lindley (whoever that is)

And I thought, You know, it’s a good thing this mug broke, because it’s not true. I’m not giggly at all. I don’t deserve that title, because I’m actually one of the bitterest, judgy-est girls in the world. Melissa, who gave me the mug, is far more giggly than me. I’ve always been impressed by how readily she laughs with anyone she meets. I have a lot of friends like that, and I envy that quality in them. These are people who I know are living in situations that chronically weigh down their souls, yet they still laugh with ease and gusto. And their laughter is contagious! These are the people who I laugh with more than anyone else. It made me wonder: what emotional contagion and resulting behavior am I spreading?

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I want it to be laughter. I want it to be joy. I actually am a pretty happy person, I just don’t always show it well for some reason. Instead, I’m constantly correcting, and I take myself and those around me way too seriously. I truly do find joy in so many aspects of my life, especially my children (even though mornings like this happen now that they’re around!), but I am not often quick to express that joy.

Lord Jesus, help me be more joyful in every day moments. I know you are the true fountain of joy. Remind me to drink deeply of You, as often as possible, and let Your joy bubble over onto everyone around me. Help me choose joy.

I wish I could keep this broken mug. (Too many pieces are missing for or to be safe to have around our kids). It’s a good reminder of the choice I have in every moment. It’s also a good reminder that I need to fill my cup up with God’s presence every day, because I’m just a broken Mommy who will inevitably be drained again.

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