Let me tell you about one of my nights last week. It was one for the record books. If you keep records of this sort of thing.
We have a baby and four older kids. The older kids begged to play at McDonalds and, being tired parents, we let them. They had a wonderful time, though they did mention a strange smell in the wondrous play land. Cut to bedtime and everyone feels a little yucky. “Sleep it off!” we say, and head to bed, trying to turn in for a long night’s rest. Hopefully the baby will just wake up once, right? Right??
Well. Ever get the feeling someone is watching you in your sleep? My nine year-old son was hovering by my bed. Dazed, I looked at him and asked what’s wrong. “I threw up in my bed.” Oh boy. So I got out of bed and walked down the hallway. I could tell he felt bad for making a mess, and still felt sick, so I sent him to sleep on the couch. I was trying to talk myself into just leaving everything for the morning. But as I rounded the corner, a wall of stench slammed into me. I walked into a scene from a horror movie. As I gagged a little (but not too much… I didn’t want to make him feel bad!), I noticed piles of loveliness on the mattress, down his bunk bed ladder, splattered onto his pillow, soaked into a feather mattress cover, and congealing on the carpet. Dang… He nailed the carpet. I climbed up the ladder to the top, and find not just soiled sheets, but an entire workshop! Papers, books, pens, legos, lego instructions, and about a million rainbow loom rubber bands. Holy hannah. Really? No wonder he loves going to bed. Then I see a silver lining. The library books were on the far side of the bed and were spared! I started tossing clean items off the bed into one pile, and smell-of-death items into another pile on the floor. This may or may not have been quite loud, causing other family members to wonder who was falling out of bed in another bedroom. I grabbed a new roll of toilet paper and a plastic bag and began to gag. And then to pick up chunks. Oh my. He must have eaten a lot of french fries. I started a load of laundry and grabbed the carpet cleaner when my 7 year-old walked in and looks at me with his big brown eyes.
“Mom, I just threw up in my bed.”
Of course you did. And of course, he also slept on a top bunk. As I walked into his room, I see my 5 year-old still asleep on the bottom bunk. I’m always amazed at how my kids can sleep through anything. I began to strip the sheets off of the top bed and make another pile on their floor. At least he only had bedding on his bed! As I was tugging at some stubborn corners of the fitted sheet, I hear strange rumbling down below. My 5 year-old was rolling around making gagging noises. Not another set of sheets to wash, not on my watch! I grabbed him and ran to our bathroom, since my 9 year-old was now back in the first bathroom. We make it! He throws up in the toilet, not in bed! Hallelujah! I helped him rinse out his mouth, and we trudged back to bed. He is just so darn cute, when he asks me to read him a story at 2 AM, I say yes. We have now entered a strange alternative reality where everything smells bad and everyone is awake and following me around. So I start reading about Super Crocs. He began to fall asleep and I started sneaking away to switch laundry loads when he started gagging again. And this time, I was not fast enough. He nailed the sheets and pillow. But at least the carpet was spared! Yessss!
Three boys, three couch-sleepers with three bowls. That’s how I left them as headed to bed with the washing machine running. The 5 year-old ended up throwing up one more time and made it in his bowl. Score!
After I changed clothes, washed my feet and hands, I thought about how I wasn’t mad. I WAS grossed out. But I was able to joke around with my kids and not feel angry even though my house smelled like the Pit of Despair (name that movie!). We woke up the next morning groggy but grinning (and pale) at the wild night.
This is the feeling behind my song “Today.” When I wrote “Today,” I was energized and happy and nothing could get me down. Now, I don’t always feel that way. But I love it when I do, because I feel in control of my own happiness. I feel like I radiate love to those around me. I love feeling that way.
Even though last night was a doozy, I created some fun memories with my kids. It seems insane right? But it’s a night we’ll always remember. A very disgusting and strange memory, but a good story too. Life hands us chances to create memories and stories. God is good. He may not take our burdens away, but He helps us to handle them. When we remember who we are and where we came from, we can turn crazy events into great stories. Even if they stink.
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