The Power of the Mighty Do-Over

Sarah, Pedro and Laura that wonderful weekend that almost wasn't wonderful.

Sarah, Pedro and Laura that wonderful weekend that almost wasn’t wonderful.

“Mom, I’m hungry. When can we eat?” Sarah tugged on my sleeve.

I grunted a non-reply and tried to make up my mind. Eat something expensive in the airport or find a place to eat once we checked out the rental car and headed towards my brother-in-law’s home.

I looked at the menu posted in a restaurant window and sighed. The prices taunted my pocketbook like the aroma of the warm food teased my nostrils. With three of us to feed, hospital bills piling higher than my knees and unexpected expenses for this trip, there was no way I could spend the money for us to eat at an airport restaurant.

“Mom, I’m hungry, too,” Laura joined in.

“We can’t eat here. It’s too expensive,” I snapped. “We’ll just have to eat at Taco Bell once we get on the road.”

“Do you know where it is?” Sarah wanted to know.

“No, but I’ll find one.” The hard, unkind voice I heard startled me. Then it made me mad. I jerked my suitcase handle and demanded, “Grab your suitcases and let’s get a move on.” I practically sprinted down the terminal towards the rental car area, scarcely looking behind to make sure Laura and Sarah followed me.

And then I felt even worse. What kind of parent marches off and almost leaves their eight and nine-year-old kids behind? And that made me madder. I slowed my pace until they caught up and then admonished them for falling behind.

Cancer made me mad. Traveling on an empty stomach made me mad. Worrying about Pedro’s health and how to pay for everything made me mad. I glanced back to see if the girls still followed me. They did. Tearfully.

Not my brightest moment. This was supposed to be a joyous occasion—they hadn’t seen their daddy for a month. He’d been circling the drain but God had stepped in with a mighty miracle and he was on the mend.

For the first time in my life, I wished I could have a do-over as a parent. And then I realized that I could—after all, I WAS the parent.

“I’m sorry, girls,” I said. “I’m hungry and grumpy and not being very nice. Can we start over?”

They both nodded, shocked, I’m sure (this was the first time I can ever remember asking for a do-over). “All right!” I enthused (I sounded fake to my own ears, but hoped it would work). “We’ve made it to San Francisco and in less than two hours you’ll get to see Daddy!”

They smiled at me quizzically. I kept on, determined to do this horrible scene over.

“Who’s hungry?”

All three of us raised our hands. “Ok, if we can all just hang in there for another half an hour, we should be able to find a Taco Bell.”

“Will it have a talking trash can?” Sarah wondered (the talking trash can is what made Taco Bell Sarah’s favorite restaurant).

Pedro instructs Laura in proper football-throwing techniques.

Pedro instructs Laura in proper football-throwing techniques.

“I don’t know, we can only hope. Right now we need to get our rental car and then we’ll be on our way.”

We finally found a restaurant, although I can’t remember if it was a Taco Bell, and we finally made it to my brother-in-law’s, where Pedro was staying between chemo treatments.

And our weekend? Priceless. I had discovered the mighty power of the do-over (it would come in handy many more times as the girls grew up 😉 ).

Five Minute Friday

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Amen to every word of this! So thankful for the grace to “do over”! So glad I linked up after you today…blessings!
    Charlie recently posted…FMF: MightyMy Profile

    • Thanks, Charlie :). It took me awhile to catch on, but, boy, has it come in handy over the years.

  • I bet you’ll be glad to hear that I don’t remember that very well (the angry marching scene)! I do remember ME having to be the one to do-over, at your prompting. It is a mighty tool.
    Laura Melchor recently posted…A Thank You to Yellowstone (and your Greater Ecosystem)My Profile

    • I am SOOOO glad you don’t remember it very well! I was horrible and if I didn’t apologize back then, I certainly do now! There’s a poem by Robert Burns that says it so well (not being able to see ourselves the way others see us)–only I can’t remember if it’s “To a Mouse” or “To a Louse”…

  • This is so poignant. I have been there. I have heard my voicve in my ears – so not the voice I wanted to have but so unable to quell the anger, stress, emotion in it. I truly don’t mean this in any condescending way, but I’m so proud of you for calling a do-over and starting again. It is so freeing to have a do-over, even as adults. And under the grief, stress, and hugely intense mixed emotions of cancer, I’m sure it was beyond being a fair thing to ask for. We should all be so brave as to ask for a do-over when we’ve made a misstep. ~a friend from FMF
    TC Larson recently posted…Just one wordMy Profile

    • I’m learning, and it gets easier every time! My pride gets in the way all too often, though, and I wait too long to call it. But you’re so right–it’s a freeing thing! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ah yes – the mighty power of the Do Over! I love this! (and oh how I have needed it and asked for it as well!)

    • 🙂 I wish I would have started using it earlier! It has certainly helped me understand God’s grace and forgiveness at a much deeper level.

  • Sarah Ojeda

    I don’t remember it, either! I don’t remember much from that time….but I am also discovering the mightiness of the ability to do things over. 🙂

    • I’m glad! Both that you don’t remember that that you’re leaning how mighty it is to do things over (and forgive yourself). I love you!

  • You taught your daughters a beautiful lesson – how to repent – to turn a life, a moment around. It’s so hard because they cannot fathom the burden you are carrying – for everyone I think right now. There have been times when I wish my boys could have really understood that underneath the grumpiness – there was a soul trying hard not to collapse on itself – that something really brave and strong was going on for the family – and sometimes it bubbled up just like yours did. I learned,though, that if I were perfect, how would they ever learn God forgave – how would they find the way to the Mercy seat it I didn’t show them. They would grow up thinking they had to be perfect – or God wouldn’t want them.

    I believe you lived out a beautiful lesson!
    bluecottonmemory recently posted…The Degeneration of Language Risks Degenerating LoveMy Profile

    • Thank you of your kind words :). I have never thought about the need to show imperfection to our children so that they might see that God doesn’t expect perfection–what a profound truth. Thank you!

  • I totally remember days like this as a single mother. So grateful for the second chances God gives us and our children graciously accept. Thanks for encouraging all of us that it’s okay to apologize and start all over again!
    Holly Barrett recently posted…MightyMy Profile

    • :). It’s a lesson I’m learning to give to myself, too (although, it seems so much more difficult to allow ourselves do-overs in our private life–ya, know, I ate five more cookies than I needed to, but it’s ok. I’ll just forgive myself and next time I’ll remember that I don’t feel good when I eat too many cookies).

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