i saved your life.

i teach a toddler music class at a local church. ages newborn to 3 years old. it's a sweet and special time spent with children (if they are the newborn set) and utter chaos (if they are toddlers).

today, you were with me. you were being the bad kid in class bc you are so comfortable with the format. and the songs. and the spotlight. also? you are so hell-bent on never sharing anything with anyone. seriously. we ran out of instruments and kids went without. but you? no. you had 5 in your hands. and i couldn't pry them away from you in a quiet manner where no one would notice what a rotten fart you were being. the ONE time today that class was ACTUALLY quiet. When kids and moms alike stopped talking and listened to me, ironically, was the 3 seconds that i was whispering in your ear about how you are lucky we are in a church. and you are lucky that i have all these people and GOD staring at me. bc i would LOVE to cut off your arms so that you would have no other choice but to share.

in other words, after class today i decided that i hate you.
...in the most loving way possible.

when we were leaving the church, you wouldn't come with me out the doors. you wanted to go to the other classroom (that is way on the other side of the chapel. the one where we go to have chicken nuggets on the last day of each semester)...you said you were ready for lunch. so I teased you about leaving you there to inspire you to come back with me and go.
when I opened the door to leave, you started crying and yelling "wait for me!!!" yay. my plan is working!! so I turned around and waited before i walked out, but then when you caught up and got to the door, you turned and ran away for the second time at the precise moment that i walked out the door. I tried to scare you again by letting the door close, but it didn't work. you kept running away.

i grabbed the door handle to come back inside and thunder myself over to you and explain to you the exact reasons why you don't run from your mother. your brain obviously wasn't getting that memo. maybe your hind-end would....

but? the doors at the church stay locked.
[open-door policy doesn't apply at this house of God, apparently]

I couldn't get back in and you were trapped inside with no one around to open the door.
for at least 1 minute I panicked. couldn't figure out what to do. bang on the door? no one would hear me. call someone? I don't know anyone at the church's phone number. OH! I have email with Kathryn's number on the email signature! but when I got my phone out, I froze. I couldn't remember how to get the phone to work. I was like "what is this strange artifact in my hand?!" and I just KNEW that the longer i stalled the more likely it was that you would run off where I couldn't find you. stairs. elevator. or, heaven forbid, the boys bathroom. finally I just decided my best bet was to run to the church office. I don't know that I've ever run so fast in my life. I threw the door open and exclaimed "I NEED THAT DOOR UNLOCKED! MY TWO YEAR OLD IS TRAPPED INSIDE!"

the woman was calm [insensitive] and [too slowly] said "hmmm. which door?".

i couldn't believe she didn't hop to it faster to help me in my extreme emergency. i dunno. scream, maybe? perhaps, set something on fire? call 911? start a prayer circle? something!
but she just sat there looking at me like i was smart enough to know what to do.

then her light bulb turned on [which is probably a fluorescent bulb bc those things take forever to light up] "well...you coulllllld. just walk around the building through this hall...".


so i just threw my bag down on the floor and hauled it. in flip flops. down a narrow tile hallway. can you hear that sound in your head? the sound of the snare drum that is a tile hallway? and flip flops running down a tile hallway sound like applause, so i was hauling it like a hand-clapping terrorist through this church screaming "Jovie!" on the top of my lungs. all the while people coming out of their various offices and bible studies to see what the fanfare was all about. "a parade, maybe? oh no. just a crazy teacher/mom that can't control her student/child."

I just KNEW you would be hysterical when i got to you. crying. weeping. gnashing your teeth, etc. i couldn't wait to pick you up and drop to the floor in a tear-filled reunion. we'd rock bank and forth and i would tell you how sorry i am for teasing you. you would hug me back. tell me you were sorry for being a little cussword and the bond we have as mother and child would grow that much bigger and stronger with our shared regret and relief. it was going to be beautiful.

...you were hysterical, sure. unfortunately, hysteria due to uncontrollable hilarity. you were laughing. laughing. LAUGHING AT ME. how.dare.you.

fire shot out of my eyeballs and struck you like a laser-beam. you exploded into a million tiny toddler parts so that i could easily stomp all over you and not get into trouble for child abuse. then, when i felt satisfied that you were sufficiently in pain, i would sweep you back up off of the floor and put your pieces back together....after i was done squeezing them until my hands turned white. obviously.
and just as shocking as your laughing at me, you thought it would be neat to keep up the game that we were having sooooooo much fun playing. yep. you ran away again. for those cussword chicken nuggets that you thought were in the other room.

i wanted so badly for all the on-lookers to have that image of you being upset and me rescuing you to warm their souls. for the benefit of all of those people that had come out of their offices and were standing in the hallways gawking. i needed for them to realize what an amazing woman i am. my awful toddler. escaping from my side. because i was the poor trusting mother that let her guard down enough to dare to leave a building. and this monster. this monster child locked in the building all alone. i wanted people to think:

"that kid deserved to be locked away from the shelter of her mother's loving arms."
"what a wonderful mom to run that fast and leave her iphone laying in the foyer all for her child."
"did you see how gorgeous she looked running, too? it's like she was born to save small children."
and "this woman would risk anything. even her really cute purse to save the life of her offspring"
and also "this child better be thankful that her mother loves her so much."
and then "i hope this kid learned her lesson".

 you know. heroic ideas like that...

but no. you don't need me. you need cutlets of itty bitty farm foul that have been soaked in pig lard and then fried in a dirty old bin caked with years of greasy build-up.

chicken nuggets?
all of this for a few cold and soggy chicken nuggets?
and then. it hit me. and i saw it. after 2 years of looking at you and only seeing tidbits of your father in you...

his legs...
his eyes...
his hair...
his butt ::giggle::
his feet...
his heart...
his athleticism....

i finally saw it. the ME that is in YOU. the "carter" in jovie.
and my heart warmed over as it felt it. finally!
this child is definitely my daughter.
this sacrificial lamb. o! your sacrifice! your sweet, sweet sacrifice! 

because no matter who was hurt.
who was out of shape
who didn't need to be running publicly for anyone to see.
you would sacrifice everything for a bite of crappy food.



you are grounded