“Mommy,” my daughter exclaimed as she leaped into the minivan, “I was unable to eat my sandwich today because I found black spots on it.” Upon hearing these words, I was horrified. How in the world could I have missed these black spots when making her lunch? Mold?! Please tell me she is speaking about pepper flakes on her turkey. Surely, I did not send moldy food in my daughter’s lunch, or did I? I was so embarrassed.
It took twenty minutes to get home from school and every second my stomach turned over how bad of a mom I am. How could I let this happen? I hope the teacher did not see it; what would she think of me? No question was left out of my thoughts. As soon as we were home, I tore through the sandwich box in a hopeful effort to prove my initial thoughts were wrong.
Cookie crumbs, Oreo cookie crumbs to be exact, were what the black spots on the sandwich were. Somehow, as my daughter jumped between eating her Oreo cookie and back again to eating her sandwich, the crumbles sprinkled the bread just so that when she looked down at her sandwich, she assumed that the “black spots” were bad and stopped eating. I was so relieved.
In the days that followed, I kept returning to how ridiculous this whole event was—not that I think my daughter’s choice to eat her cookies in tandem with her sandwich was ridiculous. I probably would have done the same thing. Instead, what I find so ridiculous is how easily I doubted myself. Why was it so hard to offer myself grace? Why was it so hard to offer myself forgiveness if indeed I made a mistake and packed a moldy sandwich?
As moms, we all have “those days”—days in which we question everything that we do and wonder if other moms (those moms who never have bad days) are taking note of how bad of a mother we are. But, my fellow moms, if there is one thing that I have learned in these first years of motherhood, it is that we all have those kinds of days—days filled with joy, tears, doubt, and guilt. We all have them. And in those moments of doubt, tears, and guilt, days sprinkled with moldy sandwiches or forgetting to pick-up our children after band practice, mothers should never forget that all will be well, “for there is,” in the words of Saint Julian of Norwich, “A force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.”
All will be well. Life will continue to move on because God’s love will make sure that it does. And no matter how often we have those “moldy sandwich” days, that love never wanes. All will be well.