Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mom's memories are all good

Kaiser kids come bearing gifts
5/9/12 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Mother’s Day is coming up and if you’re a mom, you know what that means—sweet memories. It’s time to open the photo albums stored in your heart and revisit all those first joys: The first baby. The first smile. The first steps. The first “I love you, mommy.” The first day at school (yippee!) and sweet hugs at bedtime.

Being ‘Mom’ was my favorite profession but I have to admit there are some things I don’t miss about the daily grind. I don’t miss dragging the kids out of bed in the morning; reminding them to brush their teeth; nagging them to clean their rooms and put their clothes away; lecturing them to play nice with their siblings or the time-outs when tempers flared over swear words learned on the playground.

I was recently reminded of something else I don’t miss—cleaning up spilled milk. My kids were experts at spilling milk at dinnertime. In a pre-Sippy Cup era, one of our three kids spilled a glass of milk at every meal. You could always find me grumbling on my hands and knees at mealtime while I cleaned up milk from the table and surrounding area.

My friend Susan, a young mother of two, tells me that some things never change. Milk is still being spilled—and sometimes in the car. She has a milk and kids saga that includes an allergic reaction and spilled milk by the half-gallon. Here’s her true story as relayed via email to other sympathetic mothers:

“My day began when Emily came in at 6 a.m. all dressed and ready for school. This is a first.  She wanted to get to school early to play. I quickly got up and we went downstairs for breakfast. I opened a new milk bottle. Emily said it tasted funny. I tasted it. Yuck! Not sour, but definitely not right so I opened a second one, same taste.

“We abandoned cereal and moved to toast with juice. Preston had already eaten his cereal without complaint, which is amazing since he is the pickiest eater of all time...but funky milk got past him.

“I took Emily to school, came home, and put the milk cartons in a bag. I briefly set them on the front seat of my car while I buckled up Preston for the drive to the store.

“As I picked up the bag of milk to move it to my passenger seat, it hit the center console. The milk lids were not screw on lids; they were pop off lids. As they popped off, I saw in my peripheral vision, a tidal wave of milk coming my way out of the bag!

“Suddenly, I was soaked by funky warm milk from my sunglasses to my shoes on my right side.

“I said a bad word, as I hopped out of car and turned to see everything—my front seat, windshield, car door and steering wheel—covered with white, stinky, dripping funky milk.

“I stripped —forgetting that the garage door was open. So I hopped  (half-dressed) in my milky shoes to close the door opener on the wall.

“I asked Preston if he was ok and he said, "Yep, it didn't get me".

“Praise the Lord, the child was spared (!) and he was washable. I wasn’t so sure about the inside of my car.

“I wiped up everything with the load of towels fresh out of the dryer (yesterday's work down the milky drain). Wiping, wiping, wiping, warm, funky milk. I did a final wash down with Clorox bathroom wipes just to kill the warm milk smell and get the sticky off of my leather seat and steering wheel. Finally, we're off to exchange the milk....

“I parked at the store but saw more milk dripping from my cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. It’s like they were crying milk.
I have to use Kleenex corners and dipped them into the teeny weenie spaces to absorb the milk. I did the same for the door lock buttons that somehow were also hit by the milky tidal wave.

“Back home, I look at Preston.  He had a big red patch of skin on his neck and chest.  I took his shirt off and he was covered with pin dot red marks all over his torso.  He ate the milk!

“Benadryl stops the allergic reaction from the funky milk, but now I have questions: Do I tell the store about his reaction?  Do I have it tested? Maybe it wasn't the milk, but the carton of OJ he drank?

“Is this a product liability, manufacturing defect, property damage, poisoning case? Should I sue because pop-off lids are obviously substandard for keeping milk in the jugs?  And what about my electrical system, will it work right after the milk bath? 

“Needless to say, I will not be cleaning today as planned, because by 10:30 a.m. I was already spent. Have a nice day and beware of the bad milk!”

Susan’s story is a true picture of motherhood: always expect the unexpected. You can feel her love and concern for her children, the frustration of the situation and the attitude that cleaning up spilled milk just goes with the territory of being mom.

Motherhood is a high calling—and a God-given challenge at every age and stage of childhood. But day in and day out, moms are a blessing in both sweet and sour situations. So this Sunday, tell your mom how much you love and appreciate her—and maybe relate a story like this one that makes her laugh.

Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant used to remind his players, “Be sure to call your Mom.” Then he would wistfully add, “I wish I could call mine.” Words to the wise.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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