I think it’s absolutely appalling when parents say bad words to their children and I feel bad every time I do it.

The truth is, my little dears can be exhilaration, animation and total frustration all wrapped up in into one enchilada. Aunt Mary best described a mother’s feelings for her children when she said, “You wouldn’t take a million dollars for them, but you wouldn’t pay a dime for another batch just like them.”

Take an incident that occurred last week, for instance. As I busied myself by matching socks in the laundry room, the children prepared afternoon snacks in the kitchen. One of my children had taken his favorite bowl out of the cupboard and prepared to pour himself a bowl of cereal. Just then Huey, my “would-be-a-priest child,” decided he should have his brother’s favorite bowl instead. So Huey did as older brothers do best in this kind of situation; he flexed his juvenile muscles and ripped the bowl out of his brother’s hands with brute force.

The younger brother, of course, responded as younger ones always do: By screaming loudly and vigorously at the top of his cotton-pickin’ lungs, “I’m tellin’ Mom.”

I just hate it when the kids tell Mom.

“For heaven’s sake Huey!” I hollered from the laundry room, “give back the stinking bowl!”

Huey gave the bowl back to little Charlie but not before he gave him a quick bonk on the head and fight No. 2 commenced with all the shouting and violence of a Martin Scorsese movie.

I hollered again from the laundry room and gently asked the children to calm down and with the wisdom of Solomon I even offered to cut the bowl in half.

But it was only a matter of time before I heard them start to hit, smack and jab.

I became angrier by the second. I took deep breaths and wished for either an out-of-body experience or a Calgon bath to take me away. I mean, after all, isn’t it a mother’s right to match socks in peace?

“Huey,” I finally screamed above the noise and hostilities, “just get your own” (and this is where I failed as a mother,) “*&#% bowl!”

Silence fell over the abode. The clocks stopped ticking, the earth stopped spinning, the air was still, and I’m quite certain that the barometric pressure in the kitchen rose a notch.

“OOOOOOOOOH!” I heard my oldest child whisper, “you just made Mom cuss.”

“So,” I heard Huey respond, “I’ve heard her cuss before. ”

“Not unless she’s real mad,” said another child.

“Well then,” Huey replied, “she must be mad a lot.”

I walk through the valley of the shadow of death to bring children into this world and what do I get in return? Judgment.

Later that week, I loaded all of the kids up and took them to church for confession. I got on my knees and took time for reflection and came up with some good sins to disclose. Feeling satisfied and comfortable with my soul searching, I sat on the bench and waited for my turn to talk to the priest.

It was then that I noticed young Huey staring at me intently. “What?” I whispered to him.

He looked at me for a minute and then shook his head and responded with, “Nothing.”

“Well, why are you staring at me like that?”

“I was just wondering.”

“Wondering what?”

“What you’re going to confess.”

Feeling frustrated, I replied, “That’s between me and God.”

“Just tell me,” he persisted. “What are you going to confess? ”

“I’ll tell ya what, you become a priest and then I’ll tell you what my sins are.”

“Well,” he whispered, as he scooted closer, “I heard you gossiping to Grandma last week. Is that a sin? ”

“No, that’s not a sin,” I retorted to the little snip as I mentally added gossip to my list of transgressions. “Now mind your own business.”

He was quiet again, but only for a minute. He looked around the church, and fidgeted with his hands. Then he put his arm around my shoulder and with his face an inch away from mine he said, “Well, you cuss sometimes, you might want to mention that.”

You know Aunt Mary is right, I wouldn’t trade that child for a lifetime supply of spending money. But I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for another one just like him.