We woke up to a dreary day without any sunshine. The temperatures dropped over night, and the cold air greeted us when we got out of bed this morning. As we began our day, the weatherman warned of snow. And that news was enough to push me into a realization: we needed to get out of the house.
So we ventured off to our off-season Bible study meeting at Panera; it's not where we normally meet, but I knew that we all really needed a change of scenery, and I needed to be around uplifting women because the weather has really been bringing me down. It was a hard choice to go, though, because Gabe has been acting, um, very two years old lately. I have been pretty choosy about our outings -- especially because I cannot always chase after a defiant little boy while I'm in the midst of nursing or changing the baby and cannot just leave either activity easily. But shear desperation or maybe the promise of hot chai tea lured me out the door.
We arrived at Panera, and he walked into the building while carrying his bucket full of cars with one hand. One point for the toddler.
He followed me all the way to the back room without detouring. Two points for the toddler.
He sat down at the table and played with his toys. Three points for the toddler.
He told me he had to go pee in the potty; after all, he had insisted on wearing his Elmo underwear. Four points for the toddler.
He came back to the room and sang the clean up song while picking up his cars before he ate his muffin without a word of direction from me. Five points for the toddler.
As I talked with the other women in the study, he happily ate his muffin and then got down on the floor to play with his cars quite loudly.
Then with his powder-sugar covered hand, he reached up from his seat on the floor underneath me, touched my leg and said with his eyes gleaming, "I love you, mommy. Thank you for my muffin."
Suddenly, none of those imaginative points I'd been totaling in my head for him regarding his "good" behavior mattered to me at all. In that moment, who he is and the kind of person he is becoming shone brighter than any sun in the sky ever could. And that means more than all of the "good" behaviors he could ever display.
Because what's important isn't that he acted perfectly on the outside. No. What's important is that what was on the inside came out beautifully even in the mania that is two years old.
Looks like I got my sunshine through the gray after all today.