My friend Anne and two of her boys came for a visit. This is my long time, honest, smart, thoughtful, eloquent friend. The friend I’ve had since our early days of homeschooling. The friend who has challenged me when I needed to be challenged. We only lived in the same place for a short time, barely a year, and we haven’t seen each other a lot since then. And she’s not on facebook so, you know, our visits are few and rather far between.

I was really looking forward to seeing her and catching up.

And we had a great visit. Although my boys are a little older than her’s, we have lots in common. We are both “older” moms, we both have three boys, we both are spiritual seekers, and we both homeschool. It was wonderful to spend a few hours with her, talking about our journeys, our struggles, our joys, our frustrations.

Then she left and it was like the sugar from every cookie the boys ate that afternoon went straight to their brains and it was chaos for a few minutes. The older was torturing the youngest who was screaming and the other was cheering them both on and I was trying to use the computer to assess the current road conditions to determine whether we were going to attempt the trip to Regina that Lyndon had called about and suggested at the last minute that afternoon.

So I’m in the living room, checking the forecast, and I’m going crazy from the noise and destruction that is happening around me and after a few be quiet boys so I can figure this out statements that are ignored, I finally say loudly (okay, I yelled) BOYS, STOP IT. BE QUIET.

And that is when I heard Anne, calling from the front entry. Hello, I’m back. I forgot my purse. And my heart sank.

Because after an afternoon of talking about education and parenting and children and ideas and philosophies, after an afternoon where the kids spent time together in a generally happy and productive way, after an afternoon that left me feeling encouraged and energized … I yelled at my kids. And worse, my friend heard me yelling at my kids.

I hardly ever yell, I wanted to say to her. This isn’t normal. And I really wasn’t yelling, you know, I was just trying to be heard above the bedlam. I wanted to call her later and explain that that isn’t typically how we are as a family.

It was like the one time you run to the store dressed in those ugly sweats and with your hair a mess because you just need that one thing and you are certain you won’t see anyone you know and then you do and you have to stand there and talk to them with your hair sticking up and no makeup on and with both of you pretending you don’t look a horror.

So anyway, that’s how it went for me yesterday. Humbled, yet again.