“Yes Mom” Follow-Through

He wanted to see how much water a plastic bag would hold.

 

I cringed.  What a mess.  He suggested that perhaps he could do it over the bathtub– less mess, that way.  I waffled.  He was right, but I could still envision the soaked clothes and trails of water across my tile floor.  But it was the last day of summer break.  An unexpected “bonus” day when our town flooded from Irene.  Gorgeous outside, but with saturated, soggy earth that was no good for running and playing.  I made my decision.

 

Yes.  Yes, you can play in tub.  Yes, I will fill it up for the three of you.  Yes, you may get your sisters and the bag of plastic dinosaurs.  Yes.  Yes– I will be a Yes Mom today.

 

And I heard the giggles.  Smiled at the belly laughs.  Listened proudly to their imaginative play.  I didn’t even freak out when my son announced, “G. just climbed in the tub!”  It was a happy, joyful afternoon.

 

And then it was naptime, so I went to get G, my two-year old.  I was prepared with a change of dry clothes and a big, fluffy towel.  I helped her undress and went to help her on the potty.  And I slid, careening across the slick tile, and coming perilously close to tumbling down with a naked toddler in my arms.

 

I saw red.

 

“For heaven’s sake!” I hollered.  “What in the world?  Is this what happens when I let you have fun?  Are you TRYING to hurt me?”

 

Ouch.

 

Of course they weren’t.

 

But I hurt them.  I could see it in their eyes.  Hear it in their murmured, “sorry, mama”s.  And something inside me cracked.

 

Saying “yes” is not the hard part.  Being willing to take and handle all that comes along with that “yes” is what makes it difficult.  It is also what makes it special.  I knew, of course, that there would be water on the floor.  Remember those “rivers on my tiles” I initially feared?  This wasn’t any kind of shock.  In my hurry to move things along, I just forgot.  I didn’t notice the film of moisture and, as a result, about wiped out.  Yes, it would have been nice if my little ones had thought to wipe up all those drips, but they were too caught up in the joy to notice.  They were too caught up in the happiness of having a Yes Mom…  until I nearly ruined it.

 

Agreeing to let a child finger paint is only a triumph if we can clean up the mess with a joyful heart.  Letting our littles help bake is only admirable if we can overlook the spilled flour and focus on the big picture.   Allowing my kids to splash haphazardly in the tub is only special if I can cope with the fall-out with a smile on my face…

 

I need to work on my Yes Mom follow-through.

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