Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spilled chocolate milk

I looked my 4 year old in the eye, and said, "now I need you to be so careful with this milk.  I don't have an extra dress for you, and if you spill this chocolate milk all over your dress, we have to go home."

She returned my serious look, and said she understood.  We were sitting in the car, in front of the Burger King on base, scarfing down some lunch before attending an "I'm a hero too" party for children with deployed parents.  The kids had been looking forward to the party all day.

Can you guess what happened 10 minutes into our little meal?  Of course.  Spilled chocolate milk.  All. Over.  She was soaked.  Now what?  We live 30 minutes from base, no time to go get a change of clothes.  Well, I came up with the brilliant idea to go to the BX, and see if I can't find a 4T outfit, and still salvage our afternoon.  For all my non-military readers, the BX stands for Base Exchange, and is sort of like an on-base Wal-mart or Target.

I unbuckled and hustled everyone into the store as fast as their little legs could go, and toddler on my hip, diaperbag on my shoulder, little girls trailing, I grabbed the first outfit I could find.  It was a bright orange, frilly, sparkly, bejeweled top with zebra print capris.  A little more funky than what I usually buy, but Merrylee was pleased, and Anny was grateful her fun day wasn't ruined by a younger sibling.  I tried not to think of all the negative behaviors I was reinforcing as I paid the cashier.

The girls made some new friends at the party, and when I wasn't chasing around my energetic toddler, I was able to grab brief bits of conversation with other tired but stalwart moms fighting the same home-front fight.

After the party, I had planned to brave the mall with my crew so I could return some online purchases, and buy a birthday present.  I lost count of how many times I said in my loudest-but-not-yet-yelling voice, "Do not touch anything!"

We fit the exhausted-mom-shopping-with-too-many-kids mold pretty nicely.  The girls fought and picked at each other, while my nap-depraved son whined in the stroller, and dropped his lovey about every 5 minutes. Still, I managed to make my returns, buy the birthday gift, and even found time to buy a few fragrant hand soaps from Bath and Body Works.  I would have liked to have actually smelled most of their scents and chosen my favorites, but due to a lacking in both time and well behaved children, I went with the first one I liked, another that had a catchy title, and two favorites of the cashiers.

By then everyone was hungry.  I settled for pizza and lemonade in the food court for the kids, and a gyro and flavored fries for me.  The gyro was just ok, but I knew from experience, the fries would be amazing, thanks to their secret recipe seasoning.

I warned Merrylee to be extra careful not to get pizza onto her brand new shirt, and told Anny to be careful with the lemonade, and share with her sister.  Can you guess what happened?  Of course.  Greasy pizza, splat, onto the new shirt.  The lemonade spilled.  Thankfully, there was a lid on the lemonade, so the first initial spill wasn't too bad.  The second, third, and fourth however, took it's toll on our stack of napkins, everyone's laps, and my patience.  I didn't realize we also had a nice little sticky puddle of lemonade on the floor- until Ben dropped his lovey into it.

We went home.  I bathed the kids, we had scripture study, and everyone went to bed before 7.  A little early for a Saturday night, but I was done being a parent.

Feeling drained and a bit fragile, I cut myself a generous slice of leftover black forest cake, and settled into my computer chair, ready to unwind, and prepare my Sunday school lesson for the nursery.  On the LDS website where they have the lesson manuals, I saw this video.  Happy to procrastinate my lesson planning, I watched.

I cannot watch this little video without tearful gratitude for my Heavenly Father's love for me.  My frustrating afternoon and troubles suddenly seemed so infantile and small.  How many things have I taken for granted today?  How many times has God had patience with me, and warned me about bad choices, only to watch me make them anyway?  How many times has He then continued to bless and assist me, despite my imperfections?  He'll clean up spilled chocolate milk. He will turn my mistakes into growth and blessings.  He wont mock me for crying over silly little things, and he'll continually bless me with more ways to be happy.  He will always be there.  He will always provide.  I will never be able to pay Him back, or even fully comprehend all He has done for me.  He doesn't expect me to.  He does everything for me, for the same reason I do everything for my own children.  I love my babies.  Heavenly Father loves me.  He loves me because I am His child, and He is my Father.    


  1. Sitting her in similar circumstances to Scott, imagining my own wife struggling through similar circumstances to your own, I want to thank you for your words. Grateful for my Father and eternally grateful to be one. Now I just need to get a job with a shorter "commute"...

  2. And I sometimes think that my job is hard. No good trying to compare, other than to recognize that yours is always worth the trouble.

  3. Well, in Merrylee's defense, pizza probably won't stain an orange outfit. But seriously, I'm awfully proud of you and how you hold yourself together. These exhausted little kid years will pass by. I never believed it myself until it happened.

  4. Liz I miss you! Thank you for your inspiring posts!

  5. Thanks for that post Liz. Who among us hasn't felt your day at least once. Thanks for the video to make us feel better about it.

  6. You are so amazing Liz! I think you are just wonderful. Miss you!

  7. I loved this post! It was like your own chapter in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book! You are amazing. So much strength
    Your kids are so fortunate to have you!