“You can make me cry, you can break my heart, but I’ll never say we’re through. Even when I try, I can’t stay mad at you.”
There aren’t enough pages in this blog or any other to describe the many times I was just so furious with the boys. They were always into mischief, and they delighted in seeing just how far they could push. In fact, this is just Part One of many parts of “I Can’t Stay Mad At You”. Still, through it all, those big and beautiful smiles took the anger away, and I could never stay mad for very long. But there is one time that is etched into my heart and memory – Brian and the Laundry …
See, we did laundry at our house once a week … except during football season, when the sweaty, smelly practice clothes required a nightly wash! The deal was that the boys would bring me their laundry baskets, then come back after the clothes were washed, dried and folded. They were supposed to pick up their clean laundry and put the folded clothes neatly away in their drawers. That worked great for a few months, but then they started just picking up their folded clothes and stacking them on top of their dressers. After a few “go to Jesus” meetings, Jeff started putting his clothes away. But, Brian … well, for a week or two.
I was after Brian daily about putting his clothes away … such a minor thing, really, now that I look back on it. What difference did it make? Still it bothered me. He promised me, nightly, that he would put them away, but the next morning there they would be … stacked on top of his dresser.
One Saturday, when Brian was about 15, I took the first load of his clean laundry up to his room myself. He was sitting on his bed reading, and there were clean, folded clothes stacked on his dresser. It was more than I could take! I said, “Brian, I will be back in thirty minutes with more clean clothes. Before I get back, all of these clothes on your dresser had better be put neatly away in your dresser drawers … I mean it!” He promised, “I will, Mom.”
Thirty minutes later, I was back … clean laundry in hand. I looked at Brian’s dresser. It was amazing! There were no clothes on top. There was nothing there! The dresser top was bare. I couldn’t believe it … I said, “Brian, that’s wonderful! You put your clothes away.” He said, “Yes, I did, Mom.”
Thinking I should do something nice for him, I decided to put his newly laundered clothes away for him myself. After all, he had put away weeks worth of laundry! So, I opened his dresser drawers … I couldn’t believe what I found. All of the neatly folded clothes I had worked so hard on over the weeks were a jumbled, wrinkled mess just stuffed into his dresser drawers.
I was furious! So, I shrieked at him, “Brian, look at this??” He lept off of his bed, studied the dresser drawers, then looked at me with big, beautiful brown eyes, a perfectly straight face and said, “MOM, this is OUTRAGEOUS. It’s awful … how in the world could this have happened???” Then he began straightening the clothes and putting them back in order. I just stood there looking at him in shock and awe as he neatly folded and put his clothes away. I had to leave the room to keep from laughing out loud. Couldn’t stay mad … don’t think you would either. What an amazing child … he had me wrapped around his little finger, but in the end, I won, too. The clothes were put away, and we never had that problem again.
Here’s the thing … everyday, we face irritations and annoyances that anger us. Sometimes its hard to remember what’s really important, to keep things in perspective, and, most of all, to keep a sense of humor. If only I had another opportunity, I would let our boys stack the laundry to the ceiling. Truth is, there are so many other things to be concerned about … what’s a little laundry, after all?
Yet, there IS something that I can stay mad at … in fact, I will forever rage against it, and I will fight it with every weapon I can find. Leukemia. My anger at this wretched disease will never end. I learned yesterday that another young and beautiful butterfly is in the struggle of her life against this horror. But, I know that, together, we can find a cure. Jeffrey’s Voice has only one mission … to fund research that will lead to that cure. There is so much work to be done. Will you help??