I’m sitting at the kitchen table with a butter knife trying to scrape dried-up oatmeal off our fabric seats. I purposely waited until it dried because when I tried to clean it while it was fresh, it just got mushed further into the cushions. It’s not coming off any easier now. And I’m annoyed.
I’m cooking dinner and I turn to find Annelise dribbling a mouthful of milk down her front and into a puddle on the floor. It’s not even close to the first time she’s done this. One more mess to add to my ever growing list. And I’m frustrated.
I’m coming down the stairs to find Samuel rearranging the living room furniture in a three year old’s attempt to help clean. “Where’s the broom?”, he asks as we stare at the pile of cracker crumbs and dust bunnies. I look closer and see brand new scratch marks marring our wood floors where the chair stood a moment before. And I’m at once weary and warmed by his desire to help.
I’m filling the tub for yet another bath; another thing to cross off my to-do list. I watch the plastic boats begin to float and wonder how much longer I have before it’s time to put the bath toys away from disuse. A chubby hand rests beside mine on the edge of the tub and I stroke the tiny fingers. And I’m saddened by the hasty passing of time.
I’m opening the front door to a sobbing five year old with blood running down his face after a close encounter with a yard full of ice. I stop the bleeding, wash him up, and realize how much worse it could have been. And I’m thankful.
I’m thinking of the family who just lost their five year old daughter to cancer. Thinking of the pain they must be feeling, the anger, the utter disbelief at the unfairness of it all. And I realize.
It’s all about perspective. They say ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. They’re right. My kids could accidentally burn our house down, but we’d still be together. So remember the next time your two year old decorates the walls with permanent marker: Keep perspective. It’s probably small stuff.