Today was horrible. It was one of those days where you just feel like you can’t get ahead. Nothing you do is right for anyone; everyone is a little “off” and your two-year-old is extra two, if you know what I mean.
We had errands to run today in preparation for our family trip to Oregon. I decided to break tradition and head to Target (I typically avoid that place like the plague because I’m pretty sure they do ritualistic voodoo magic on a daily basis that makes it so you enter into a trance when you walk through the doors and you buy everything you see instead of the hand lotion you went in for) to dig through their ‘dollar spot’ items to find toys for the kiddos to play with during our 13.5 hour road trip. (Heaven help us all)
Horrible happening number one: I finally experienced one of my biggest mama fears and momentarily lost a child. Guess which one it was? Yeah, that’s right, Samuel sensed a rare moment of simulatenous weakness in both parents and bolted while we were deciding which sticker books to invest a dollar in.
It took him all of two minutes to slip past us.
We split up. We looked down every single one of the surrounding isles. We listened and thought we heard him three or four different times, but it was always someone else’s child. Finally, I told an employee and he asked me for a description and all of a sudden I had this horrible vision of needing to describe my child to the police because it had been two days and we still didn’t have him and that made my mind go completely blank and I couldn’t even remember what I’d dressed him in that morning.
I finally had to just tell him he was two and blond. So. Awesome. That’s a really great description of just about every child in Utah. Still waiting for my Mom of the Year award to arrive.
But then, huzzah! Someone answered his radio call and said they were pretty sure they’d found him, but that they couldn’t coax him out from under the clothing racks. We followed them to the opposite corner of the store where he’d apparently traveled in under two minutes. (how. just. how.) And there he was! My super naughty; beaming blond, who was absolutely bursting with pride and delight at the circumstances which found him surrounded by five to six Target employees who were all giving him love and attention.
Horrible happening number two: Movie night.
Worst. Decision. Ever. I should have known it was bound to fail from the beginning. Why, oh why did we think it would be a good idea to blow up the air mattress and set up ‘camp’ and simultaneously eat popcorn?
First of all, the popcorn burned in random places throughout the bag. There was no reason for this. My theory is that sometimes God uses literary devices such as foreshadowing in our lives. So the burnt popcorn should have been a clue.
Second of all, I don’t know what you know about 2 and 4 year olds, but they really like to bounce. So. An air mattress. And popcorn.
Thirdly, no two-year-old will ever care about Katniss Everdeen. No matter how much popcorn you offer.
So, we’d settled into a full five minutes of the movie and we’d already told the children about 800 times that we’re not bouncing on the air mattress and we’d already picked up approximately 900 pieces of popcorn that had gone sailing through the air on accounta all the rebellious bouncing and whatnot.
So then Daddy really laid it down thick and told them both that he was about to just send them to bed. Well, that made Samuel cry, but the problem was that Samuel also had his mouth full of chewed up, nasty Oreo that he had been eating at the table, but in order to more quickly get back to his jumping, he’d crammed it into his mouth and clambered up the couch where he now sat, open-mouthed wailing about being told he couldn’t jump. So a big wad of chewed-up Oreo landed on my white ‘we-didn’t-anticipate-children-when-we-bought-it’ couch.
Not to worry! I just bought new fabric cleaner. So we sprayed a ton of that on there. But hang on, it wasn’t foamy. Why? Oh, just because the thing I’d thought was fabric cleaner when I bought it turned out to be fabric protectant instead. Awesome.
Miraculously, Dawn dish detergent did the trick, though, so we were back in business! Or so we thought.
Now Luke was sticky, so he took a chair over to the kitchen sink to wash his hands. While he was busy doing that, Shem and I settled back into the movie for about thirty seconds. Suddenly, we heard a panicked Samuel calling for us. In exasperation, we looked at each other and got ready to complain about not being able to actually sit down and watch the movie when we realized that Samuel’s panic was turning into screams of pain.
Horrible happening number 3: We both jumped up as quickly as we could. Shem is a champ and got there first and I followed right behind to help assess the situation. Chaos reigned. Shem was so frustrated by this point, that he couldn’t even tell me what had happened. The movie was playing obnoxiously in the background and was creating this horrific background noise that added to the level of confusion and frustration. Shem took our very distraught Samuel to the sink and put his feet under cool water and still couldn’t tell me what happened.
I went to find the remote and turn the movie off and in the (relative) quiet that followed, I finally found out that Samuel had climbed up the chair that Luke had left at the sink; had climbed into the sink and had then turned the water on full blast hot and was burning his feet. He couldn’t figure out how to turn the water off or how to get down, so he was just stuck there with the steaming water scalding his toes.
I took the sobbing Samuel and continued to hold his toes in the cool water while I cuddled him and taught him about the hot water. Luckily, (and also not luckily, because Shem had gotten to him in about 1.3 seconds) his toes weren’t badly burned. It was a very temporary injury which was a tender mercy, because I don’t think my mama heart could have taken much more at that point.
So it was definitely bedtime.
We read stories and said prayers and sang songs and said goodnight and then
Horrible happening number 4: Shem and I got into an enormous fight because of all the residual stress and mess and disappointment of the night.
It was the worst. I hate fighting with him more than I hate fighting with anyone, and that is saying a lot because I avoid conflict like I avoid drinking floaties in water.
It’s all better now. We talked and kissed (sort of, but not really because we had to speak on the phone while he drove to work) and made up and the day is over and now I get to go to bed. Which, let me tell you, is a very exciting prospect. But before I sleep, I just had to write this all down and get it all out there.
This is life. It’s messy and sometimes it’s ugly and tragic and horrible. Being a mom is the worst and the best all at the same time. Being married is hard and spectacular simultaneously. Some days are just perfect; sometimes everything works out. And some days you lose your kid, spill burnt popcorn all over the living room, don’t finish one single load of laundry, can’t finish ten minutes of a movie, barely save your child from melting his own feet off and end it all in tears because you lost your temper with the love of your life.
But it’s all wonderful. All of it. Even the burned popcorn and the singed toes. It’s all important. It all means something.
I had this moment tonight, while I was reading stories to my babies before bed, where they both laid their little heads on my shoulders and snuggled into me. So quiet and at peace with their world; no idea that this day had been kind of a disaster. And I just thought, “This is why I do this. I do all of this for these moments when the world sort of stops and I get to watch these little lives I’ve created do these spectacular things, or I get to settle in for a really good night-time snuggle, or I get to be the person the little one needs when he’s scaled his feet.”
I absolutely love it. I love this life. I love my husband and my babies.