Rough and tumble—crash!—there goes
My coffee cup. I sigh and know
They won’t clean up the mess they’ve made.
No, not without my guiding aid.

I put the laundry down and breathe—
I calm myself because I need
To temper what I’m wont to yell.
It’s simmering there; I feel it swell.

I halt my steps a moment more
Not to react as oft before.
I pray for grace for me, for them.
(How oft I need this little gem!)

And then I head, quick, down the stairs
To find six little eyes, three chairs
And toys amuck across the floor
All spilling from the pantry door
Where hideouts burrow with the food.
The eyes are searching momma’s mood.

Drawing closer now, I spy
The candy wrappers which belie
The broken rule (or two, or three)
And who done it’s no mystery.

I sigh once more with teeth clenched tight,
Containing rage with all my might.
With hands in fists I close my eyes
To open them again, surprised
By hugs from one, then two, then three,
Mere boys who grin up sheepishly.

“I love you, Mom,” they say sincerely.
Lord, to think that I so nearly
Tore them down with my harsh words,
A pecking good from Mother Bird.

I melt and hug them back, but still
Remind them of the rules until
I hear myself repeat His mandate:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”