Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life, a Pudding Tsunami!!

I had big plans for tonight that included (to name just a FEW); unpacking six suitcases after a weekend away, cleaning sticky floors and messy dishes, throwing in a load (or ten) of laundry, reading a pile of books to three semi-patiently waiting little munchkins and much more.  What my plans did NOT include was scrubbing a pudding spill the size of Lake Michigan off our newly carpeted entryway floor.

Ah, life...interrupted.  

If only things could stick to The Plan!!  Wouldn’t life be much more simpler?  Smoother?  PERFECT?  Or...would it?  After what happened tonight, I’m not so sure.

It all began with a little excited five-year-old and a BIG bowl of vanilla pudding.

Gideon had “snack day” the next morning and he didn’t have to think twice when making the choice of what his favorite food to share with his friends at school would be: vanilla pudding!  Once that was decided, we rolled up our sleeves, dumped enough pudding mix and milk in a bowl to feed a small village and got to work stirring.  

Once the snack was made, I poured it in a huge Tupperware with a secure lid and told Gideon, “I’ll take this downstairs to the basement fridge for tomorrow, okay?”  

His shoulders slumped, “Well, I’m pretty good at carrying stuff now that I’m big.  Could I take it down?”

“No, I’m sorry, I don’t want it to spill so I better take it.”

Another BIG sigh filled the air, “Okay...”  Gideon wrinkled his brow, “But what if I carry it real careful, like this?”  He held the Tupperware securely against his skinny chest and walked slowly across the kitchen, proving his pudding-skill-carrying-manhood.

“Okay...” I had to smile, “Just be careful.”
Does EVERY mom out there cringe at those “fateful final words” when they are spoken?  I heard the thud of the container tumbling down the stairs before I actually turned and saw a wide-eyed-boy standing over a ginormous puddle of pudding.  

Although I mess up mommy-ness a lot, there is one thing I’ve finally got through my thick head and that is in these moments, KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT so I don’t say something I regret later, ie, something STUPID!

I felt my nostrils flare (did I mention this mess covered nearly every inch of our NEWLY carpeted stairway?!) before I said to Gideon, “Go get ready for bed.  I’ll clean this up.”  He whispered “sorry” a few times as he trudged back to his room and I grabbed an armful of rags and cleaning supplies.

I doubt I needed the bucket of water as I shed enough silent tears INTO the mess to dilute it just fine!  What in the world am I crying about?  I thought as I scraped up pudding and scrubbed on my hands and knees, I’m just not cut out for this mom-stuff!  ALL I do is clean up messes all day (I NEVER exaggerate when I’m upset either).  I don’t even have time for the IMPORTANT stuff in life, like playing with the kids and getting stuff done because ALL my plans get interrupted by THIS kind of stuff!!

So, what next?  I thought, shaking my head at my own silliness, I QUIT?!  Okay, that’s enough Drama Queen Momma for today.  I threw down some towels to keep people’s feet from peeling off if they had to use the stairs during the next week and got to work making another batch of pudding.  This time it was chocolate pudding as I was now out of vanilla, Gideon’s favorite. When that was carefully carried to the downstairs’ fridge by ME, I went in to say goodnight to the boys.  

They were snuggled in bed already and looking sleepy when I came in.  “Hi Mommy, any ideas on what we could have for a snack at school now?”  Gideon asked, looking a little worried.

“Yeah, I just made chocolate pudding.  That's all I had left.”

“Oh!”  I knew he was a little disappointed but he smiled bravely, “That’s pretty nice!  I like that kind too!  I like all kinds--yellow, white, dark, pink, doesn’t matter, Mommy!  Thanks for making some more pudding.”  I kissed him goodnight with a little smile, thinking I’m not usually that resilient when life dashes MY hopes.
When I headed back into the kitchen to clean up (yet another!) mess of the snacks I had just prepared, I heard something that grabbed my attention on the radio.  

It was this quote by C.S. Lewis, "The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

I felt my brain reeling: So...THAT was REAL life?  The lake of pudding (and my REACTION to it!) was “the life God is sending ME day by day”?!  The realization that I’ve been viewing my world upside-down left me feeling stunned.  Here I thought The Plan was to accomplish things and the MESSES, the unexpected, the...INTERRUPTIONS were throwing my life OFF track.  

Yet as considered that powerful quote by one of the greatest philosophers of our time, I had to reconsider: are these things actually putting my life ON track?!  Maybe it’s time I stopped being so frustrated by the interruptions and start to embrace them as unexpected little GIFTS from God to teach me and others about how to LIVE life.
I had big plans for tonight but God had little interruptions and I’m thinking now I’d like a do-over.  Although I wouldn’t place a request on the Heavenly hot-line for another pudding tsunami, the next mess that happens (once the kids are awake, that could occur in under five seconds!)-I’ll be ready.  Not with my usual frowny-face or tears of martyrdom (darn-I had just perfected those!!) but maybe with a little smile knowing that unexpected interruptions are what life is all about.


mindingmymiracles said...

Tara -
thank you so much for sharing this. I had "one" of those weekends (almost the whole weekend...seriously) and was wondering how I was going to get the dark cloud off of my head and have a good week. You managed to be just the encouragement I needed. Thank you! ~Jessica

Tara Cole said...

Jessica, so glad God could use me in a small way to bring some sunshine to help dispel that black cloud! I can relate too! Many times when I've had one of "those" days God used a fellow sister-in-the-Lord to lift my spirits, glad we are not alone.

angela said...

great post, tara- and super cute pics of the kids. gideon reminds me of ben in the one of him & judah & eva lee reminds me of greg in the one where she's not crying... they are all so sweet!! i love how you they are always revealing God to you- and all of us through you, especially when they mess up (just like we do, too :)