I honestly never thought this is where I would be at age 43.
From the time I was very young, I dreamed of opening an orphanage in India where I would save children from poverty and pestilence.
That didn’t happen. (Not yet anyway.)
Instead, now 20 years later, I am a warrior mom of two tweens, and my mission field is currently in my home.
Autism reigns here less and less with each passing day…though it does still provide a great source of entertainment.
Zion goes through phases of obsession.
He does this every so often.
He discovers certain foods, and then loves on only those foods until he is completely sick of them.
And then after an indeterminate break-up period, Zion and said food item eventually get back together.
Right now he is having yet another love affair with applesauce.
He goes through about 30 cups of applesauce per week. (Oooooh boy, do I wish I was exaggerating.)
Zion runs to the fridge, grabs an applesauce cup, and rips off the lid. The problem is that from time to time, the lid will rip and leave a remnant of foil on the rim of the cup. He then comes to me with a tormented expression, and says “Mama, HELP me!”
Oh sweet baby Jesus, not again. Yes little man, I understand your world is going apocalyptic over this tiny speck of foil. And yes I will sit here picking at it until my fingers are nothing but a bloody stump, but we both know I am never going to be able to get that little speck of foil off of the rim of that cup.
But because I love my son, and am a sure-fire glutton for punishment, I try my best to get that little speck of foil off…for him.
But it won’t come off.
It never comes off!
(BAH! Curse you Mott’s, and your excellent food sealing properties!)
The first few times this happened, I made the mistake of telling him the foil wouldn’t come off, and just gave the cup back to him.
This resulted in an applesauce mural on the kitchen wall.
The next time, I tried emptying the contents of the cup into a bowl so he could eat it without being bothered by the speck of foil.
That bowl went directly off the table and onto the floor.
The next time it happened, I tried to show him this cool little trick I found on FoodBeast.
If you rip the lid off of the applesauce cup and twist it just so, it makes a spoon! Cool right?
Try again. I got an applesauce facial for that one.
What I begrudgingly learned and eventually embraced, is that it is much more peaceful for everyone if I just sacrificially eat the applesauce myself, and let Zion get a brand new cup and try the lid again.
Tiny little things bother Zion…things you and I probably don’t even notice.
Sesame seeds on a bun.
Rust on a swingset.
Leaves in a pool.
Light switches that land in the up position when they are turned off.
A lemon wedge in a glass of water. (“Mama, get it off!“)
The biggest barn burner tantrum I have ever seen out of the kid was over sprinkles on a cupcake.
These are the seemingly minuscule annoyances of life which can cause Zion to either exude the patience of Job or the Wrath of the Titans.
He has been known to sit for hours in springtime picking “helicopters” out of the sandbox. (Patience)
He has also been known to throw his cheeseburger like a frisbee across the restaurant because the bun has some sort of seed or grain upon it. And when told to go pick up the burger, threw his plate on the floor, and had to be carried out of the restaurant kicking and flailing. (Wrath)
More than anything I want to sit him down, and explain that, guess what little turd?
Sometimes life isn’t perfect.
Sometimes we have to look past the imperfections and the foil specks and accept that sometimes…life just hands us a sesame seed bun.
But honestly, aren’t we all a little like Zion?
We love to focus on things that don’t really matter.
That scratch on the passenger side door.
The wine stain on the carpet.
That last 10 pounds. (or the first 10, for that matter)
We spend our lives trying to perfect the imperfections. I can say that personally, I have spent the greater portion of my 43 years beating myself up for my weight. Some days I look in the mirror, and instead of seeing a beautiful, strong, seasoned warrior, it is all too easy to see an overweight, beat-down mess.
I am my own speck of foil.
And that is not okay.
I have championed so much in my life. I have accomplished things over and over again that the world said was impossible.
Yet some days when I look at myself in the mirror, I start counting the bulges.
The age spots.
The rogue hairs.
Once I start doing that, it careens into me lamenting my dwindling bank account. And outdated home fixtures. And unkempt landscaping.
Then suddenly I am critiquing the neighbors, and the dog, and the very clouds in the sky.
This type of thinking is futile.
If we are always concentrating on the flaws and the tiny imperfections, we will always be able to find more. And how is that any different than Zion obsessing over that tiny little foil speck that I think doesn’t matter?
It isn’t any different at all.
When I was young, I thought I was going to change the world by saving children for God through being a missionary.
As it turns out, God sent me a child…into my very home, to change me.