Just call me Sherlock. I solved the case in about 3 seconds flat when I saw the clues. Open carton of lemonade on the counter, traces of smashed banana left on the cutting board, and the fact that my foot was now leaving a sticky impression of my heel everywhere I walked. All the signs pointed to my 6-year-old having been in the kitchen recently and all I could think was “please tell me you washed your hands before sitting on the couch!” (It’s new, white, and I’m still coddling it just a little. Have you seen the pics yet?)

Why did she insist on doing this herself? Why does this always happen right after I mop the floor? And why must there be strands of banana hanging from 3 different drawer handles? These are the questions I spout off to everyone and no one because no one listens to me around here anyway.

There are days I can take this in stride while wearing a Mary Poppins smirk, but today is not one of those days. It’s the middle of July. All the great ideas on Pinterest for keeping kids busy in the summer have been exhausted, the heat of the day has worn me down, and my patience has dried up just like the petunias in the flower box.

And then I’m struck. With the reality of how ridiculous I’ve become in that moment. Just when I think I’ve attained a level of matronly maturity that would never stoop so low, I do. And my gold-plated Queen Mom crown I shined up that morning now makes a mockery of me as it sits cocked on my head.

And then I consider the contrast. HIS endless patience with me to my limited patience with them. HIS mercies new every morning to my raised eyebrow of skepticism toward others. HIS forgiveness again and again and again to my reluctance to put up with this one more time. HIS open-armed acceptance of my less-than-perfect attempts at being a good mother to my demands of perfection from my kids.

At that moment, our only commonality is that we both love. Only HIS love is perfect, long-suffering, never wavering, never requiring something in return. And mine? Mine is just a weak attempt that never quite reaches the mark.

But, I learn. And I try to just keep calm and mop on.

And I make a conscious effort to see themasterpieces behind the messes.

And the beautiful people behind the problems.

And the “worth it” in all of the work.

It’s what God’s done for me throughout my entire life. And He’ll give me thestrength to do it for them.

Besides, I kinda like these people. And for some reason, they like me too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to fix my crown.