Each of my children were ready. In just a minute their grandfather would be picking the kids and I up for my husband’s graduation ceremony. I looked up at the clock and smiled. Never had I gotten the three children together so efficiently. Wow, I inhaled triumphantly, I really had things together this time…but wait, where had my second child gone off to?
The house was silent. Too silent. Where could she be? I put my 5 year old and the baby on the couch to sit as I ran downstairs to see if my three year old was distracted in the playroom. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t anywhere down there. So I bustled upstairs again. Silence. I called for her. No sounds. I hurried and peeked into each room and then suddenly, in a flash of blue and mint, I found my precious daughter in the bathroom, standing by the mirror with every article of clothing removed and in its place tooth paste. She was literally covered from head to toe in it. It was a sparkling, thick mess gleaming like her smile.
“Look mommy! I gonna smell the bestest for daddy’s gaduachin!!!” she beamed and giggled.
I stood blinking at her with a manic looking grin on my face. All I could register was that we had to leave in one minute. Solutions flashed through my mind, but none were accomplishable in under a minute. I was in one of those mathematically impossible rock and hard places that mothers so frequently find themselves in. A bath would be necessary, but in under 60 seconds? I felt pressure to fall apart and protest the powers that be and dish out a little scolding to my Smurf-colored child as well.
Realizing power greater than my own would be necessary to salvage this…unexpected desire of hers to smell lovely…I fell to my knees instead. I poured out my desire to make it to my husband’s graduation on time and some how bathe my child and, without hurting her feelings, help her come to grips about not going there completely coated in toothpaste… when all of the sudden the phone rang. I quickly finished the prayer and leapt to the ringer.
“Hello?” I gasped.
“Hi, this is Grandpa!” chuckled the merry voice on the other end of the receiver, “I’m just callin’ to let you know why I’m running late and didn’t want you to worry. I found out the startin’ time for the graduation we got was wrong. So, I’ll be at your place in about 30 minutes. We will actually be getting there early. Is that OK?”
It was definitely OK. Alleluia! I was so grateful I hadn’t lost it. I began to wonder if my choice to pray might even have altered time in my favor. Well, filled with relief and wonder, I hung up and went back to my daughter. This time I was perfectly relaxed and ready to be cordial with her.
“Wow, you smell good,” I praised her, “I think you will be smelling the most fragrant of all for your daddy today. Do you think this look is modest enough though?”
She glanced at the mirror.
“No,” she cooed.
“Toothpaste is pretty magical,” I mentioned, “Did you know it still smells as sweet after you brush your teeth and rinse it out? It is more comfortable that way too. How about we rinse you off and put you in a pretty dress again?”
“OK, mom!” she smiled.
After a brisk shower, she was dressed and ready to go. And her dream to be the bestest, mintiest-smelling girl at her daddy’s graduation still came true too…even Grandpa, with his diminished sense of smell, noticed!
QUESTION: How have you handled a situation like this with your child and was it a positive experience?
CHALLENGE: Try handling stressful situations involving your child with patience and kindness.