(Moms, in case you haven’t heard, Erin Davis’ new book, Beyond Bath Time, is available now! And we’re so excited, we’re giving away free books every Friday in April. This week, all you have to do is leave a comment (with your e-mail address) at the end of this post. We’ll pick five moms at random to send a free copy of Beyond Bath Time.)
By Pam Gibbs
From www.blogs.lifeway.com (09.29.11)
All was calm. Kaitlyn, my six-year-old soon to be either an EMS driver or panties sales person (her words, not mine), was quietly coloring in the living room as I was getting my makeup on. Behind me, I hear the unmistakable sound of liquid spilling onto carpet, which meant one of two things: either a massive leak in the ceiling, or the dog decided to use that spot to, um, relieve himself. It was the latter.
Reaching for our tiny Dorkie (yes, that’s his breed — half yorkie, half dachshund, all dork) to take him outside, Benji scampers toward the living room door, leaving a trail behind. Just follow the yellow brick road. Well, it was yellow. I got him leashed, outside, and in the grass. Business finished. Back inside to assess the damage.
What I see is a dark trail that resembles a strange sort of Morse code. Long lines. Space. Dot. Dot. Dot. Looonnng line. Dot. Swervy line (which is where I picked him up). Dot. Dot. Dot. (Dot on my foot). Clean up isn’t a breeze, despite what they say. I grab a role of paper towels. Though small, Dorkies can produce. Then, tracing my way back from the living room into the bedroom, I sop up the, um, relief. On my hands and knees. In my work clothes. Sop. Move a knee. Sop. Move the other knee. Repeat. All the way back into the bedroom. Phase one complete. For phase two, I’ll need carpet cleaner.
I go to the kitchen to retrieve it from underneath the sink. We have none. Of course. We have two fire extinguishers, five air fresheners, rock salt (because there’s SOOO much ice to melt in September), and and old dish drainer from before Jim got married. But carpet cleaner? Nope. I grab the closest thing: carpet stain remover. Well, they’ll be stains before long, so let’s go with it.
Phase two: spray anything that looks remotely wet. Leave until this afternoon when I get home. It’ll still be there when I get home. The clock is ticking. I still have makeup to put on, a daughter to get to school, and morning traffic to curse at.
Walk into the living room. Step in the freshly-sprayed stain remover. “Honey, it’s time to brush your teeth and brush your hair.” My contented six-year-old breaks out into tears because “It’s not fair.” What’s not fair? I still don’t know. Crying hysterically because I’m the meanest mommy in the world, she stomps off to the bathroom. (I’d like to stomp too. Why can’t adults stomp? I think we’d all be a lot healthier.) Teeth brushed. Grab the cup to rinse. And somehow, I don’t know how, little gremlins whatever, water gets up her nose. More crying ensues. “It’s all your fault, mommy!” Yes, I know. It’s all my fault. The water up your nose, your inability to say the word “aluminum,” your future need for therapy — it’s all my fault.
Finally get her dressed and me accessorized, which at this point means remembering my wedding rings and my watch. At this point, I’m happy to make it out alive.
I tell Kaitlyn to get her lunch out of the refrigerator. More grumbling. “I don’t want to go to school!” I hear the fridge door open. At least she’s obeying, even if in protest. Then I hear nothing. Eerie silence, which in our house is not a good thing. The silence is broken by ear-splitting cry, “Mommy, help!”
I run to the kitchen. Step in the stain remover several times, resulting in what looks like a weird high-step dance. Dog thinks it’s a game, so he decides to run, too. In between my feet, tripping me on my way. This is NOT a game, you dork. Standing at the refrigerator is my daughter, mouth open and quiet. Never a good sign. Then I look inside and see the reason for the SOS.
The entire pitcher of Kool-Aid has spilled out — a veritable waterfall of red stickiness flowing from the top shelf, onto the other shelves, and out onto the kitchen floor. And the clock is still ticking. I still need to get to work and she needs to get to school.
I grab a kitchen towel, knowing that it will forever remain pink from this day forward. Not enough. Need more towels. Ask Kaitlyn to grab them. She does — all of the white ones. At this point, I don’t care. Pink is the new white. Sopping up again. I get all of the Kool-Aid off of the floor and soak up what I can from inside the refrigerator, knowing that it will be waiting for me when I get home — two quarts of it. I slam the door close, only to quickly realize that the Kool-Aid has also spilled into the shelves inside the refrigerator door. I know this because it all spils out onto the floor — and onto my foot. Let’s just add that to the unknown substances that are on my foot because I’d forgotten to clean it off after the fiasco with Benji.
Clean up again, this time remembering to also wash my feet. Throw the towels on the counter. Another thing for me to mess with when I get home this afternoon. Grab my lunch (also a casualty of the Kool-Aid suicide) and Kaitlyn’s. Grab the dog, throw on my trusty Tiva flip-flops, and take him outside just in case he didn’t get all of his um, business, taken care of the last time.
Throw the Dorkie (not literally, but I wanted to!) in his crate for the day, get Kaitlyn to the car. Pray for her on the way to school. Drop her off. Wait in line behind an SUV that refuses to move. Doesn’t he know I’m late for work? Seriously, for the love of chocolate! Finally, movement.
Traffic is traffic. But today? I get behind a woman who is, get this, putting her mascara on. In rush hour traffic. I understand how road rage begins. It starts with a dog peeing on the carpet, a daughter in tears because life isn’t fair, Kool-Aid spilled all over, and is followed up by following a woman trying to navigate mascara (a trick without traffic) whilst driving.
Finally. In the garage at work. Grab my stuff, throw on my badge, get out of the car. Oh, no. Wait. First I have to actually take off my seatbelt, which is now tangled up in my lanyard holding my badge, which is now caught up in my steering wheel.
OK. Now I am out of the car. Something feels amiss. My pants legs shouldn’t scrape the ground, not with the sandals I wear with these pants. I look down. I have forgotten to switch out my flip flops.
And it’s just now 9 a.m. as I’m writing this blog.
I have no great spiritual lesson. No nice bow to tie up everything and drive home some life-altering theological principle. But in that 30-second prayer with Kaitlyn, I was reminded that even on the worst of mornings, Jesus loves me. And it’s gonna be OK.
And that is a life-altering theological truth.
PAM GIBBS is a working mom who juggles life as an editor and being a mom of a precocious six-year old (who’s going on 16). She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Jim. When she’s able to sneak away, you’ll find her curled up with a good book and some dark chocolate.