Crying Over Spilled Oatmeal


Leah spilled her oatmeal as she carried her bowl from the dining room to the kitchen.

I heard the splat.

I sighed and grabbed a wet wash cloth.

“Hey, Mom! Look! It landed in the shape of a heart!” she said.

She took the washcloth out of my hand and cleaned it up by herself.

I hugged her and swallowed hard as my contacts started to blur. What if I had yelled at her when I heard the oatmeal fall? I might have missed out on this moment, and she may have been afraid to spill and make mistakes in the future — the opposite of what I want for her.

Yesterday, Aiden, who earlier in the day had adamantly insisted that his parents don’t love him, got a monster thorn in his foot. He limped home, crying.

I tweezed it out of his very dirty foot, and then washed and dried his feet.

He climbed into my lap (he doesn’t really fit anymore.. it was more like being sat upon, but I didn’t mind at all) and put his arms around my neck and said, “Thanks, Mom. I DO know you love me.” His words had really hurt me, and they were apparently still on his conscience. What if he hadn’t stepped on the thorn? Would he have had a chance to make things right? What if I had yelled at him and refused to help because of his negligence for not wearing shoes outside?

In my childbirth class last night, the last one of the 12 week series, there was discussion over how disgusting it will be to change diapers. “Yeah, but you’re not just changing diapers, you are showing your kids you love them,” I said. “You are showing them you’re there for them even when they stink the most.” I hope my students remember this at 3am when they are down to their last diaper in the pack and are washing crib sheets.

If we just go through motions without love, overly-sugared spilled oatmeal, up-the-back poopy diapers, and why-aren’t-you-wearing-shoes-while-you-play-outside?!?! foot thorns can be pretty annoying.

Be thankful for and make the most of every opportunity, and humble yourself enough to allow the spills, stink and stickers get to your heart.

I need to be reminded of this, too.