by ck on March 18, 2013

The morning is thick and white and long. We go to the mall. Visit Claire’s, the Candy Palace, Justice, The Disney Store and any other venue that looks pink and mind-numbing. TWO starts to whine. I check my watch. It’s almost lunch. I rush the girls towards the exit which prompts a flurry of anger and resentment.

TWO refuses to hold my hand in the bustling parking garage so she gets tucked under my arm like a football. A big-headed, 30-lb football. Her screams reverberate off of the cars and shoot directly through my ears and into my brain. ONE whines about how TWO makes her head hurt. I bite my tongue.

I look around and can’t find the car. We walk up and down the aisles. I’m sure I parked it on the ground level, but it’s not here. I start to panic. ONE reminds me that we drove Daddy’s car. I breathe. Yes. Daddy’s car. I find his car. But not the keys. By the third time I’ve searched every crevice of my purse, panic resumes. His key ring is smaller than mine; it doesn’t have all of the stupid store cards on it. I could have dropped it and not heard it fall.

I dump the contents of my purse on the asphalt between my car and the monster SUV parked next to me. TWO gets tired of waiting and takes a slow, deliberate step back. I notice immediately and instruct her to return. She considers my offer and declines.

She takes off. I catch her just as she enters the wide-open area where cars back up and squeel into the lot. She receives her first “safety-spank.” She is shocked. So am I. She hasn’t pulled this before. I didn’t expect it from her. But I don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

I lock her flailing body against my chest and feel something sharp stab my side. It’s my keys. They are in my vest pocket. I buckle the girls into the car and sit for a minute. Staring. TWO continues to scream. ONE admonishes her for running into traffic. She waxes on about the time she did it. She got spanked too. She never did it again and advises TWO to follow suit.

We return home. Lunch is a mess. The kitchen is a mess. The house is a mess. It will remain that way until about twenty minutes before my husband returns home when I’ll suddenly want it to look like I got things done and make a quick-ditch effort.

TWO gets dumped in her bed for a nap. Her screaming finds its real purpose. I sit on the top step for a moment before going back down. I breathe. I try not to think about what we’re going to do when nap and quiet time are over.

I trudge back into the kitchen. ONE sits quietly at the counter and eats her sandwich. My cellphone beeps. I have two missed calls and a message. I hadn’t even heard it ring. The numbers are from the house line. So is the message. For some reason this is impossible for me to comprehend. I wonder if my father-in-law stopped by while we were at the mall and called from the house. I listen to the message.

It is from ONE.

I’m making you a message…recording…about this…song…I wrote for you: ‘I loooooove you, Mom…please like it. I worked my way to sing it for you…for you I worked it out.’ I love you, Mom. Bye.”

I look up. She’s watching me. Biting back a smile. I start to cry. I hurry over to her and hug her. Kiss her. Lift her off the stool and spin her around. Breathe in her giggles and savor the wonder of how quickly a really bad day turned perfect.






Futureblackmail January 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

You amaze me on a daily basis. Your ability to snap into the moment and leave the rest of the stuff behind brings my jealousy to the forefront.

And safety is something I don’t play around with either. It’s a non-neogtiable, immediate, punishment.

Southern Belle Mama January 22, 2010 at 10:29 am

Wow!! I too am amazed at how children have the ability to turn a bad day good with one small act. This is one of the sweetest stories I’ve heard in a while…she reminds me of my son (he’s a tender heart and I love it).

Gibby January 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

How sweet is ONE? Seriously. How lucky are you to have that little moment.

And is there anything worse than that feeling in your stomach when you can’t find your keys? I am always forgetting where I am putting mine. My friend and I were talking about this very thing, trying to figure out why we can’t remember the simplest things anymore. It’s the kids. The darn kids make us forget everything.

Jessica January 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

Yay ONE. It’s amazing how sometimes she just KNOWS….

It’s also amazing how you write exactly what I do :
“It will remain that way until about twenty minutes before my husband returns home when I’ll suddenly want it to look like I got things done and make a quick-ditch effort” – Ain’t that the truth!

Marylin January 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

Oh she is such a sweetheart! :)

Tiffany January 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

Those sweet, sweet girls. How wonderful.

momto3 January 22, 2010 at 11:27 am

This brought tears to my eyes. Don’t you love that even on the bad days you get these glimpses that you’ve obviously done something right. One is a smart, compassionate little girl.

TheKitchenWitch January 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

ONE has razor sharp instinct!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am also wicked impressed by her mastery of technology–my second grader can’t even remember our address, let alone the home phone number, and ONE knows your cell? That girl has brains like her Mama.

Grinning from ear to ear about the “20 minute cleaning frenzy”…we all do that…betcha, betcha. I also put on lipstick and change out of my pajamas.

About the running into the path of moving cars…Miss D. did that when she was almost three. I was with my mother when it happened. I never thought I’d have been capable of beating a child that hard. But I did, and my mother just looked at me and said, “Spank her one more time.”

Jill January 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I laughed, I cried, I felt your pain and angst. I wanted to sit next to you on that top step. This was a remarkable story. Thanks for sharing.

Kristin January 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Trying to type while teary-eyed isn’t easy. This is beautiful, and perfect.

CGT January 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Made me tear up reading it! She is the sweetest thing EVER! I love it!

Julie January 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Simply beautiful.

Casey January 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I swear you just described every single outing we take except I have a 42lb toddler under one arm and a 27lb under the other. When things go south in public, they go south FAST.

I love the term “safety spank”. I reserve spanking for stuff like that too but never had a name for it so I’m stealing yours.

The song was beautimus, ONE is such a sweet kid.

MsBurns January 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

That song is a chart topper for sure.

Keyona January 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I totally just cried at my desk. I love children. So damn much.

Yvonne Moss January 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I wish there was a ‘tear’ key on my keyboard.

As in… one droplet of water in my eyes!
Not the other meaning :)

Ronni January 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

This made me teary. :)

Jen January 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm

One rocks! Way to save the day.

MaryAnne January 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I know I shouldn’t be, but I am amazed yet again! How do you welcome us into your bad mommy moments and bring me right back to my own that happened 20+ years ago? I love your writing. ONE blows me away, completely! Her intelligence and ability to communicate and use technology at her young age is too much. Her compassion and and love for her family comes from good – no outstanding parenting. Way to go! What I wouldn’t give to hear that message and cry all over. thank you.

Melinda January 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

That is just about the sweetest thing I have ever heard! The tears are making it hard to type. Isn’t being a mom the hardest and best job in the world?

Tina January 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I LOVE this story. It reminds me of something that happened with my 12 year old son yesterday. My oldest son has the VERY BEST sense of humour, never a day passes where he does not bring me to tears from laughing.

Anyway I was out shopping all day (retail therapy) after having a seriously SUCKY week. I was texting my son and asked him what size his jeans were? He answers: Idk (I don’t know) I say: well check for me, duh! He answers: k I’ll drop trow (drop my pants) here on the bus and look at the size of my pants!!!! You see I did not look at the time to realize he was still on the bus riding home from school. Needless to say my sucky day was NO MORE!

I have not been blogging for a wjile and have missed your writing soooooooo much. I am looking forward to losing myself in your craziness again.


magda January 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

wow. what an amazing connection the two of you share. there is so much in this post to savor: the declined offer, the 30lb football with oversized head, the gift and reception of one’s amazing instinct and gesture to you. poor little two. i have a similar connection with my first that i feel guilty about and worry how it will shape our two.

Fie Upon This Quiet Life January 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Like other responders above, this brought me to tears. Sobs, in fact.

I had to safety spank my eldest (nearly 4-year-old) yesterday for running away from me into the street. That panic you feel when your kid does something like that is awful. I’m glad that nobody got hurt in either case and that ONE is such a sweetheart. I can’t imagine the joy she must have brought you yesterday!

The Mother January 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Wow. Just wow.

Dawn January 23, 2010 at 1:31 am

This made me cry. Gotta love it when they reach the age that compassion shines through.

Good job on the safety spank! I think ONE is right…You don’t forget it!

Jane January 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I love this story and I’m so glad I found YOU! I wish I knew you when my kids were a bit younger. You write about things that have happened to me – you voice my frustrations so well. And then, THEN you shake me back into the moment with your beautiful experiences, reactions and perceptions. You rock, Mom!

faemom January 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I’ve got to stop reading other comments first.
This was a great post. I swear those “safety-spanks” are a God send. I don’t know where I would without them. Now that I’m wearing a jacket, I misplace my keys all the time. Like I need to do it. And I love ONE. She’s a sweetheart. I’m so glad you have each other.

pegbur7 January 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Just found you by way of Jane. LOVED the story. You are SO right. My youngest is 18 & oldest 26. It’s amazing how I can be SO;- glad those days are over yet at the same time miss them so much. :-( Enjoy while they are young!

Bano January 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm

How amazingly sweet. Definitely a great way to end a bad day.

Jean January 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm

love those moments with the kids! glad you had one when you needed it most.

naptimewriting January 24, 2010 at 12:27 am

Hello, gorgeous moment. Soooo desperately needed you. Can you please show up at least once a day for the next 4 years?

Unknown Mami January 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm

OMG! Can you give One a hug from me too! I love her.

BTW, it’s amazing how much I can do 20 minutes before my husband gets home so that I don’t seem like a sloth.

OntheNightYouWereBorn January 25, 2010 at 1:02 am

This is the sweetest thing ever. Ever.

Naomi January 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

OMG this post totally made me cry. It really reminded me of many many of my days when I am at my wits end and then something my children do reminds me of how amazing and beautiful they are and how much I love my life despite all the daily craziness. Thank you.

Julia Hull January 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Ok, you did it again, you made me cry.

Laura January 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I still marvel every day at how the same people that can send you to the brink of insanity are the ones that can instantly pull you back.

ymK February 3, 2010 at 3:51 am

Yeah we have the same schedule-twenty minutes before husband comes home is when I start running from kitchen to living room to playroom like a crazy woman.
And kids are amazing. ONE is amazing.

Erica February 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Isn’t it wonderful how those moments always come just when you need them?

Kim February 13, 2011 at 4:02 am

Awww…I LOVED this post! Way to go, ONE! :)

P.S. I not only love your stories, but the WAY you tell them. Excellent.

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