“Mom, I put dinner in the oven for you!”
Whew. That is helpful.

Seven minutes later I ask, “Did you take the plastic off the pizza?”
“No.”

I opened the oven and found the boxed pizzas which had been taken directly from the freezer and placed onto the oven racks. 
Whew. That is wild.

In my work as a counselor, I have been focusing on the benefits of gratitude with some of my clients. The neuroscience of gratitude reflects some brilliant findings. The brain literally lights up (specific areas in the brain are activated) with expressions of gratitude. 

Gratitude is not an all-inclusive party. The mind cannot be both grateful and dissatisfied. What I find pretty exciting, is that we have been empowered to direct thoughts and retrain thought patterns. What a gift! (Please see Philippians 4:8 and Romans 12:2.)

Some days, I acknowledge it’s difficult to lean into the beauty of a perfectly imperfect life or situation. It’s one thing to help others with confessions and another to face your own wrapped and boxed frozen pizza cooking in the oven.

I screamed, “AHH!” 

I closed the oven door. I grabbed two oven mitts as I continued to scream. 

“Oh my gosh! What did you do? Are you serious?”

Yep. That came out of my mouth. All of it. 

My oven mitt hands held onto the two pizza boxes as I commanded, “Open the door. Hold the screen door open for me.” 

The edges of two boxes flopped in my oven mitts and floppy pizzas plopped into the trash bin. 

After I took a minute to cool my mitts,
I came back inside and apologized.
“I’m sorry for screaming like that. I overreacted.” 

“Ahh!”

The counselor likely would have coached her parent-client to continue with, “It was really nice that you tried to make dinner for us tonight. Thank you for making an effort to take care of us. That was so thoughtful. Next time, we can put the pizzas in the oven together.”

In that moment of the pizzas and the plastic and the oven mitts, I admit, I chose to focus on the craziness of boxed, plastic-wrapped pizza heating up and emitting fumes throughout our home. 

Next time, maybe I can do a little better with acknowledging the intention behind the action, praising the effort over the achievement, and being thankful that I have both a son and pizza…well, a different pizza at least.

Do you know what my son did though?

He said, “Okay, Mom.” 

That simple apology was good enough for him. For that, I was grateful.

This is an edited version of an article originally published in Thyme Magazine‘s June 2021 column, Chipped China, authored by Jennifer Lytle.

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