Note that “Middle Man” refers to my energetic three-year-old. Also mentioned in this story are my toddler and my kindergarten-age daughter.
I had to go to the bathroom. I’d had my morning coffee, which was moving things along quite nicely, and I desperately needed a few minutes with the toilet.
“Mommy? MOM!!” My daughter burst through the bathroom door. I looked up from my seat, hoping the interruption was due to a sibling squabble and not an actual emergency.
“What is it, honey?” I asked calmly.
“He poured out the coffee milk!” she said with a panicked expression and a flourish only found in dramatic theater and five-year-olds.
I went from mildly annoyed to fully aggravated in half a second. I just want to be able to go to the bathroom! I thought to myself. “Ok, thank you, honey, I’ll be right there,” I managed through the thick steam of frustration that was rapidly clouding my vision.
I wanted to protest, even yell. I wasn’t sure right then what coffee milk was, but I was pretty sure that I was either cleaning up a big mess or losing something perfectly drinkable down the sink. I was certain I was being interrupted during one of life’s most inevitable and necessary activities, and not an activity that’s easily paused.
Praying for endurance and perspective, I hastily finished my business in the bathroom. When I emerged, I found my toddler sitting at the kitchen table halfway through a grown-up sized cup of pumpkin spice coffee creamer. My Middle Man stood in the kitchen next to an empty cup of his own.
Thankfully, the floor was clean. I located the nearly empty coffee creamer on the counter and returned it to the fridge. I took a deep breath and looked at my daughter, wondering how I should respond to this situation. She smiled at me, as if to say, Look, Mom! They did a bad, no-no thing, but not me! I came and told you! Aren’t you proud of me? Middle Man looked up at me with a guilty grin. My toddler delightedly gulped another mouthful and smiled widely.
In that moment, I heard God remind me that what goes in my coffee is not nearly as important as my children. Even if it were all over the floor, avoiding that mess and minor loss is insignificant, utterly pointless, compared to these children I have entrusted to you. Nurture your children. Train them to respond well in times of frustration. Each one is a unique, hand-crafted gift from Me.
I gently pulled the cup from my toddler’s grip. There was an inch or so of creamer left, so I got out another cup and split the remaining creamer between the two cups. I topped both off with a generous amount of milk.
Then I gave my toddler his cup and offered the other to my daughter, whose eyes lit up, brimming with excitement. What joy that she had resisted before and could now taste it freely in obedience!
Middle Man looked at me with puppy dog eyes, waiting for my response to his behavior. I told him, sternly and smiling, that he did not need any more. We talked about asking Mommy before opening the refrigerator.
For a few quiet moments, the others sipped their pumpkin spice milk while Middle Man watched me heat up a mug of coffee. What a good God we have, I thought to myself. This was much better than yelling.
Blessings in this bathroom interruption?
- A daughter who chose the right path even when Mommy wasn’t looking.
- A son with a sharing heart who poured creamer for his brother as well as himself.
- The reminder to act on my belief that my children are infinitely more important than “stuff”.
- The stretching of my endurance and patience in the daily grind of staying at home with kiddos.
Wishing you blessings in whatever your day to day brings you,
For another story about Middle Man, check out this post.