Monday, February 22, 2010
Pillows and Apple Juice
Ever have one of those days where you just wish you could hit a reset button? Occasionally, those days crop up in my life. For the most part, I can make lemonade out of most lemon days. Sometimes it's easy and other times it takes an effort of epic proportions. Other times, I just lose it and the day takes on a crash and burn feel. I'm not a fan of crash and burn days. They make me feel guilty and leave me feeling disappointed in myself. With that in mind, I try to make sure I can turn the lemon days into lemonade days whenever possible.
Today has not been the greatest day for me. I started off my day with a painful awakening at 4AM. The lovely new pillow I purchased yesterday gave me a stiff neck, incredible pain in my shoulder (the joint) and sciatic nerve like pain running down my right arm and into my fingers. My spine feels like it is totally out of alignment. Apparently, it wasn't bad enough that the my lower back issues were coming back last week. My neck decided it had to get in on the action, too.
I was a total grouch this morning when the alarm clock went off at 7:20. Bryan was seemingly chipper and when I snapped at him and then Ellie a few moments later, he made me realize that I was taking my frustration out on them. (I frequently point out to Bryan when he misdirects his irritation at something towards the girls, and today he caught me doing exactly what I admonish him for doing. Well played, my friend, well played.) I was still a grouch after that, but I kept my grouchiness to myself. Ok, I did hit the new pillow a few times. (I was trying to flatten the overstuffed neck traumatizer out a bit--it didn't work.)
By the time I left the house to take the girls to school I was able to function like a pleasant person. Since I'm left handed, I was able to deal with the fact that my right arm was in a lot of pain.
I took things relatively easy this morning while Ellie was at school. I did a little cleaning, printed the new Lenten Adventures things for today, put away some laundry and listened to a few pod casts. It wasn't an earth shatteringly productive morning, but I didn't sit around brooding over my pain.
When I picked Ellie up from school, I figured we'd head home, eat lunch and watch TV or play. I don't have to pick Madeline up from school today since I did the dropping off. I was happy in knowing that I could relax the rest of the day. I had a couple loads of laundry that would need to be done and a dishwasher that would need to be emptied, but with an entire afternoon ahead of me, I walked in the door feeling like I could tackle this day head on.
Within minutes of arriving home, I got whacked with a truck load of lemons. On Thusday, I marveled to myself about how great it's been that I haven't had to clean up a spill in a long time, with the exception of the couple ounces of water Madeline spilled on the kitchen counter that morning. Since it was only water, it was no big deal. Everything that got hit with the water was easily cleaned up in about a minute. I thought about how great it is that Ellie almost never spills, and I wondered why it's generally Madeline who is the spiller of sticky juices. Juices, that splatter on the table, the chairs, the floor, the pantry doors, the sliding glass door and anywhere else juice can dare to fly. Spills upset me. Madeline spills and instantly she's wailing like a toddler and I find myself annoyed and yelling. It's never a pretty picture, and that's why I was so happy that I haven't had one of those spills in a long time. I even stopped to thank God for keeping my kitchen spill free and I prayed that we wouldn't see a spill for a long time--perhaps a few years down the line.
I'm sad to say that my prayer to keep my kitchen spill free was not granted. Maybe God didn't like that I wasn't patient with my child when she spilled a little water on Thursday. Maybe He didn't like that I was angry with my husband, who was on his way to work when the spill occurred, for leaving his partially filled cup on the counter top. I blamed Madeline for being careless, and I blamed Bryan for leaving his cup out. I did not, however, blame myself for losing my temper when the spill happened. Anyway, as I busied myself with getting Ellie's PB&J sandwich made, we had a spill in the kitchen. The kind I prayed to not have to clean anytime soon. Half of the kitchen table was covered in apple juice. Two of the chairs were hit, one table leg was dripping with juice and the puddle and splatter pattern of the juice on the floor was nothing short of impressive. I have no idea how much juice was in that cup when she sat down. I suspect it was at least half full.
I sighed audibly when Ellie said "Oh no, I spilled." She didn't cry or carry on like Madeline would have. She was calm and she asked me if I could clean it up. I think she even apologized. Anyway, I stood there looking at the sandwich that was to be made, then to the calm child before me, and then the mess (look away, it's bad). Getting down on my hands and knees to clean was the last thing I wanted to do. Then, I noticed the merciful cross on the basement door. "Bear wrongs patiently," I thought to myself. And, that's what I did. I didn't raise my voice or belittle my child for what was clearly an accident. When I realized that she had destroyed Madeline's paper crown that we made at the art museum yesterday, I thought again about our merciful cross. Madeline would have an opportunity to earn yet another flower today. She too, would have an opportunity to perform a spiritual work of mercy towards her little sister. She can choose to forgive this injury to her personal property and earn a flower, or she can choose to be angry and unforgiving and gain nothing as a result.
I cleaned the spill without complaint and went back to making Ellie's lunch. Then, I ran a load of laundry that contained apple juice soaked kitchen towels. When Ellie was done eating, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I wish I didn't have to mop that floor, but now that it's done, I'm glad that I have a clean floor. I dare not pray that it stays that way, unless of course, I want to be mopping in the very near future.
I think I've done a good job of making the best of an otherwise miserable day. I'm sure at the very least that Ellie appreciated that I didn't freak out when she spilled her juice.
In case any of you are wondering, I gave myself a flower for not losing my temper over spilled apple juice. I'm sure Bryan will find my latest flower to be rather amusing.