“Honestly, Jacob! I woke you up when I left an hour ago! You had two jobs. I asked you to feed Daisy and let her out; she is your dog! I asked you to bring those two boxes downstairs for the team rummage sale. You know what? Never mind! I don’t know why I bother. Jacob Stephen, get up! You have practice this afternoon. Maybe I shouldn’t let you go. Maybe I will just call your Coach and tell him how lazy you are.”
My twelve-year-old sat up in bed. He rubbed his red eyes and smoothed the creases on his flushed cheeks with the back of his hand.
“No! Mom!” he protested, his voice raspy and heavy with sleep.
“And don’t worry, I will unload the groceries myself!” I shouted, ignoring his plea.
I stormed down the stairs, into the garage and grabbed two shopping bags in one hand and a large bag of dog food in the other from the trunk of my car.
“Ouch!” I bumped my elbow on the door frame.
“Are you okay?” asked the lanky, middle schooler slipping into his basketball jersey and maneuvering the stairs in untied shoes.
I didn’t answer. I just proceeded to my tiny kitchen, dropped the bags on the counter and jerked open the door to my refrigerator with such force it shook the wire shelves. Helplessly, I watched as a container of fresh blueberries tumbled out onto the tile floor. They seemed to have minds of their own, scrambling to nether regions, disappearing under the stove and in-between cabinets. Some rolled all the way into the dining room. Our newly acquired kitten was having a blast chasing one oversized berry across my living room. I stepped on a couple before I got to the broom and dustpan.
That’s when the great blueberry debacle came to a screeching halt. I sat down to wipe the squashed, sticky berry from my toes but not before purple juice attached itself to my hands which I inadvertently wiped on my khaki shorts leaving a stain. My sunglasses slipped from the top of my head and reaching to save them from the impact of the floor I transferred more blueberry remnants onto my hair, my face and the lens of my glasses.
I looked up at Jacob who was handing me a wad of paper towels at arms’ length, trying to keep a straight face so as not to poke the bear. He knew I had reached my limit.
But then, we both laughed. We laughed so hard our bellies ached.
“You wanna go get some pancakes?” I asked.
“Bet!” Jacob yelled over his shoulder grabbing his gym bag from the spot just inside the door where he left it the night before and heading to the car.
“Wait! The trash!”
I couldn’t help thinking how easily this had gotten out of hand and how my anger had been like that container of blueberries. Hurtful words had tumbled out of my mouth just like those blueberries, difficult to retract and leaving a stain. The peace and quiet of a Saturday morning was no more.
Even days later, dry and dusty blueberries would appear in my kitchen. I hadn’t found them all. They had been too hard to find. It had been too easy for them to slip away and nearly impossible to retrieve.
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29