I can hear my seven year old happily singing from the bathroom as I load the dishwasher. It's almost time to leave for school. His big sister points out that he’s been in there a long time, and that he’s probably getting into stuff. It’s the same suspicion I have, but I’m enjoying his little rendition of The Final Countdown and I don’t want to interrupt him. Besides, his bathroom shenanigans are usually no more harmful than the occasional overzealous application of his Daddy’s cologne. Well that, and stuffing too much toilet paper down the toilet. I’m an expert with the toilet plunger. I have a lot of practice.
Trent returns and sits at the kitchen table to finish his breakfast and I walk back to my bedroom, to put my shoes on. I hear the sound of water running from the bathroom. Not good. I’m too late. Water is spilling out of the toilet and onto the floor when I open the bathroom door. First thing I need to do is stop the water. So I devise a little invention, one I’m quite proud of, using a chopstick to hold the chain up in the water tank, stopping the flow of water. While I’m throwing towels on the floor, sopping up the mess, I hear my son say, in a sad, quiet voice, “Grace says I broke the toilet”.
“No, no, no…she shouldn’t have said that”, I say, trying to comfort him. Not that I wasn’t thinking the same thing. “You do need to be more careful though, try not to use so much toilet paper. Now go get your coat on. You’re going to be late for school!”
The walk to school is a quiet one. My thoughts are on the big mess I now have to clean up when I return home. I don’t say anything else about it though, as my son obviously feels bad about the whole thing. I’m glad that I was quiet.
The rest of the day…well, I’ll spare you the details. It was a $%$#@ day. Literally. One clogged toilet turned into two, and then the bathtub backed up! Long story short, it was the septic tank, and not Trent’s fault in any way. I’m glad that I was quiet and didn’t say anything else to Trent that I would have regretted later.
That was something I could be proud of. But the day wasn’t over yet. I still had some humble pie to eat. Later on that night, Trent and my husband were in his room playing Legos. Furniture was moved around in a search for a missing piece, and a long lost watch was found in the process. A watch that I was sure had been taken by a visiting child. I never confronted the child or the parent about the missing watch, but I did voice my suspicion to my kids, even though I had no proof. I now had to apologize to my kids for what I had said and admit to my rash words. Ouch!
It was a long day. A few days prior I had chosen a phrase, as my motto for the year, painting it on canvas and hanging it up, so that I would be reminded often of its truth. It comes from Kim John Payne’s book, Simplicity Parenting. He says, “Before you speak, think. Is it true? Is it Kind? Is it necessary?” Now I have not only the painting, but these two memorable experiences to remind me of this truth. Hopefully, I won’t need any more of these types of life lessons to remind me again. Of course, I will. I know that. I just hope it won’t be for awhile.