Friday, June 20, 2008

Rediscovering the Forest (Despite All Those Trees!)

So. I had quite a day recently. It actually started off well; I had some energy and felt like doing a little yardwork, the kids were happy and mellow and busy.

I did a little weeding around the back yard, then spent a long time sweeping all the maple seeds off our deck and patio. (They dropped by the treefull in just a matter of days.) Everyone was still happy, so I decided to hose down the deck & patio, too. It looked great, but then I noticed some of the plants looked dry. So I watered those, too. The VERY LAST PLANT that needed water was a potted fern hanging from a tree, and the hose just wouldn't q-u-i-t-e reach. So I gave ONE QUICK TUG on the hose....

...and knocked over the little side table. The very lightweight tippy one that is topped with a piece of shatterproof glass. The same one that has been knocked over half a dozen times before, with no ill effects except my annoyance. But this time? This time it SHATTERED. Into a million zillion trillion little hunks and chunks. (Thank goodness it wasn't into shards and slivers...but STILL!) There were pieces in an arc covering a good 8 feet of patio.

You should have seen the look on my face.

I was this close to completing a very satisfying task. And now I would have another hour of time cleaning up the very same area all over again. And I couldn't even be mad at anyone else -- it was purely my own fault. My stupid fault because I was just so close to finishing that I didn't want to take two seconds to untangle the hose.

And then? Then all three kids come outside and say they are hungry, so am I almost done? And is it time for lunch? Big. Heavy. Sigh.

The most positive thing I can think of to come out of this situation is that it's great material for a blog post! So I run inside and grab my camera, because a picture is worth a thousand words.

I was still in awe over the chunky shapes the glass broke into, and bent down to pick a little piece up to examine it...and suddenly, before I even know how it happened, Junior is right there beside me, and he PICKS UP A PIECE OF GLASS AND STICKS IT IN HIS MOUTH!

I shrieked so sharply that it startled him, and he jumped and yelled and threw the glass back down. I let into that kid, I tell you. I was angry and scared and just in such disbelief.

"What on earth are you thinking?!? That is GLASS! DANGER! OUCHIE! NO, NO, NO!! No touching!! BACK OFF! (he freezes) SCOOT!! BACK!! (he shuffles back) SOMEONE-COME-GET-YOUR-BROTHER-NOW!" I yelled. (Plus maybe a few choice words...)

And Junior looked at me with the hugest eyes ever and shakily signed "Ice."

Oh. Yeah. Huh. I just blinked. Because it really did look an awful lot like ice cubes. I was staring at them myself, slightly hypnotized by the strange little shapes just a second ago, after all! Count to three, deep breath.

I sent Junior inside, FAR AWAY from the glass, and I started sweeping. Those chunks on that bumpy, grid-like, crevice-filled surface were next to impossible to sweep up. I had to pick much of it up by hand. Then I hosed everything down again. Finally, FINALLY, I was done with the area.

And you know what happened then? Well, Junior came outside to check on my progress...and to seek some assistance. He must have been pretty hungry while waiting inside, and so he foraged around in the kitchen until he found a really good snack...

And here's the strange thing. I was so worn out by all that mess, and just so deeply, deeply thankful that Junior hadn't ingested or been injured by the glass in his mouth, that I didn't even yell this time. The blind rage, utter disgust, or numb annoyance (reflex reactions not uncommon from me lately, I have to admit with shame) were just nowhere to be found. I had literally been startled into the present; narrowly escaping that very close call opened my eyes to see beyond the mess of the moment.

"Oh, guy. What a mess. You are really, really hungry, aren't you? And that was a very long time to wait. Let's go clean you up." I murmured to him.

And then I walked in the kitchen and saw the rest of his snacking debris.

And I sighed again, and, together, we cleaned everything up. And then we all ate lunch and lived happily ever after for the rest of the day.

But first, of course, I took another picture or two...

And I'm glad I did (even though I had learned an important lesson today about when NOT to take a picture), because just look at that expression.

The thousand words said in this picture are ones that remind me to see the other side in the situation, to maintain my patience, to not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

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