Most of the time I am pretty even-tempered.
But every once in a while, I blow my stack.
And when I do, it ain’t pretty.
Friday night was one of those times.
I was exhausted after a very long and thankless work week.
I just wanted to come home after my cousin’s surprise party and collapse to sleep.
But my autistic 13 year-old had other ideas.
He was so wound up from the fun time he had at the party, that he couldn’t come down from the high.
He was bouncing off the walls.
Typically once I put him in bed, he stays there.
He got back up 1,574 times, and kept turning the TV back on.
And by 3 a.m., I was just done.
That was it.
I went off on Zion.
He ran to his bedroom and closed the door.
I laid there in my bed for the longest time, stewing in my guilt, and shedding hot tears of regret.
An hour later I could still hear Zion in there talking to himself, so I went and got him.
He said, “Mama is angry.”
Boy, does he ever know how to pour salt in a wound.
I said, “Yes Zion, I am sorry I yelled. I am just very tired and I can’t sleep because you keep waking me up. Come in my room and lay down please, you just need to be quiet so I can rest.”
He got up without saying another word, and came in and crawled under the comforter.
And as I tucked that white comforter in around my son, I thought back to the infamous chili incident.
Have I ever told you about the Great Chili Incident of 2002?
Have a seat.
I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter.
My best friend Kristin and I had gone out to lunch, and then to Target to create a registry for my baby shower.
It had been a very nice day, apart from my very jealous and controlling husband (at the time) blowing up my cell phone every 10 minutes, demanding to know when I would be home.
I was already so far beyond over him.
Just in general.
He was mean and controlling and his crazy behavior was really starting to get to me.
But instead of talking to him about it, I let it continue. And my resentment was really starting to build up like steam in a tea kettle.
So that evening when he called yet another time to tell me to bring him a burger and a chili from Wendy’s, I didn’t really want to.
But I did it anyway.
When Kristin and I walked into the bedroom, my husband was laying on the bed watching soccer. He motioned for me to bring the food over to the bed, to which I said no way.
I had just purchased a king-sized white goose down comforter the week before, and I didn’t want him eating food on it.
Especially not chili.
He grumbled something about him being a grown man, blah blah blah…and went and got the food and sat it on the bed. He took the burger out of the bag, set the bag down, and you guessed it…
the chili toppled out and spilled all over my brand new sparkling white comforter.
My pregnancy hormones took over and I lost it.
I went from zero to psycho hosebeast in less than a split second.
I lost my ever loving mind.
I screamed at him in such a loud and high-pitched shriek, that I’m pretty sure every dog in the city started barking.
I was crying and screaming and cussing…and I just went on and on and on.
Kristin was talking on the phone to her husband at the time, and he said, “What the hell is that?”
Kristin said, “Um honey…I’m gonna have to call you back.”
She gathered me up and hurried me outside where I sobbed for 30 minutes.
Of course we laugh hysterically about this now.
I had never screamed at anyone like that before in my life, and I haven’t since.
But what I learned Friday night is that unkind words are like that stupid cup of Wendy’s chili.
Once the chili is spilled on the white comforter, that’s a permanent stain..
Unkind words are similar, in that they can never be unsaid.
Yes, they can be forgiven.
But they can never be unsaid.
Webster defines a stain as a dirty mark that is difficult to remove.
An unkind word is a mark that is impossible to remove.
Stained comforters can be replaced.