Unlimited Second Chances

As a mother, I'm so thankful for unlimited second chances.

I sometimes wonder why I still need them. But I'm so thankful for them.

 Halloween was a rough day for me. Really rough.

But let me back up a little bit.

When I decided to go back to school, I really overestimated my abilities. It is a lot harder than I remember it being. And I have a lot of experience going to school. I stopped going to school when my now 8 year old was just a baby because there was a lot going on.  I only meant to take one semester off. We were moving and just had our second child. It was a crazy time. But the one semester ended up being 8 years. When I stopped, I had 111 credit hours. That is equal to 51 college classes spread over 10 semesters. If I had continued at the time, I only needed 3 more classes to graduate. Because I waited, I have more than that now. But it's okay. Things are working the way they are supposed to. I'm thankful because I am so excited about my degree; It fits me so much more than what I was originally going into. But it is harder to go to school right now with three kids and a house to take care of.

This semester I'm taking 13 credits all online. And I'm so grateful that I can do them online from home so I'm not gone all the time. It's really a huge blessing!

Every Friday in my Intro to Graphic Design class, we have a project due. And the project takes me hours and hours every week. Last week, I had another big project due for another class so I was unable to start my Graphic Design project earlier in the week like I try to. I had to wait until Friday.

On Halloween I worked all day long trying to get my graphic design project done. I focused so hard and tried to work as fast as I could but I didn't get done before my kids got home from school. I definitely wanted it finished before all of our Halloween fun started that night. So, I worked hard after school.

Let me tell you, just in case you don't have as much vision as me (I'm  sure you do, though)....a stressed out mom glued to the computer trying to finish a huge project combined with three kids just home and all sugared up from their school Halloween parties is not a good combination.

I tried so hard to get my kids to "earn" trick or treating by straightening up the house. The idea was to keep them busy while I worked. It was a bad idea. They were honestly trying but certainly not succeeding and fought the whole time. And they were so excited that I had at least one child come in every few minutes to get me to check their cleaning progress. I was getting no where fast and my stress levels were skyrocketing. I was getting grumpy.

I finally sent my kids downstairs for some "quiet time" promising that I would hurry as fast as I could.

Ultimately, I did finish my project. And it was done in time to have our Halloween fun. And I was even able to change my attitude, but we all could have done without my grumpiness to begin with.

One of our family traditions is to go trick or treating at Grandma's and Grandpa's house on Halloween night. They live in the next city over so we let the kids hit up our neighborhood first. Then we headed up.

When we were finished with our visit, our plan was to go home, cook pizza, and have homemade donuts. We do it every year and we love it!

It was dark when we left my in-laws house and part of the drive includes crossing a busy divided highway. It was extra busy Halloween night. When we got to the intersection to cross the highway, there was a car turning right and it looked like we were completely clear, so we pulled out to cross. Except it wasn't clear. The car turning right completely blocked the view of another car that was right next to it going 65 miles an hour. It was only 10s of feet away from us. And 10s of feet away from hitting the side of our van where we were driving with our three children all dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

But we didn't get into an accident. My husband slammed on the gas and the other car slammed onto it's breaks. We barely missed each other. We stopped in the median to get our wits about us. The other car pulled over as well. We were too far away to talk with them. But they were obviously as rattled as were were. But we were all safe!

Every time I've played that over in my mind, I cannot believe that we didn't get into an accident. And if we had, it would have been a bad one - I'm sure!. All of the "what ifs"keep playing in my mind...What if the other driver had been even the least bit distracted - looking at their phone, changing the radio station, glancing at the rear view mirror - and not pressed the brakes so quickly. What if f my husband hadn't reacted as fast as he did and pressed the gas so hard. We barely missed each other. The ironic thing is that intersection is slated to close in a few months so an overpass can be built because of all the wrecks that happen there.

The Lord was definitely protecting us. I have no doubt.

After we got our wits about us, we started to drive home. I turned around and asked my 8 year old to say a prayer right then and there thanking Heavenly Father for keeping us safe. I knew we shouldn't have been.

On the way home, my daughter made a comment that she had "seen her life flash before her eyes." I knew that she was just trying to verbalize her feelings. But I kind of chuckled thinking...Wow! All 11 years. That must have been crazy!

It wasn't until the next morning that I really started to think about what she said. I thought about my afternoon of frustration and grumpiness. I thought about how guilty I would have felt if something did happen. I thought about how I should know better. I've been a mother for 11 years, why haven't I gotten this figured out just yet!?! Good grief, instead of having it figured out, I have a lot left to learn!

Being a mother is my favorite role and it's the one I want to be the best at. I love my kids so much and I don't ever want them to feel differently.

I'm always telling my kids that people are always more important than things and I forgot to practice what I preach.

But thankfully - THANKFULLY - we all get second chances. As many as we need to get it right. And we still won't get it perfectly right. But it's okay as long as we keep trying our best.  And I'm so, so grateful for that.

So, I'm off to another week. More projects and stress. But hopefully a better attitude and an added level of patience.