Last week, we were ushered into California by the whimsical music of a local ice cream truck. My son’s eyes widened with curiosity, for he had never heard such a sound.
“What’s that, Mommy?!”
The truth is, we were all pretty excited for a two-week adventure in California. My husband would do research, and the kids and I would seek out new experiences with Bay Area friends.
But children will be children…and there will be messes.
I should have known when our Airbnb homeowner answered the door with a beer. What have we gotten ourselves into?
As we climbed a narrow staircase, we ascended into the heart of Silicon Valley: a childless, IKEA furnished apartment. But there is a God. From behind the garage door, the bark of a medium-sized pooch echoed. The ubiquitous hair was no longer a mystery, and any minor damages made by our children might just be too difficult to prove.
All of this, of course, was long forgotten when our real-life comedy of errors began.
Scene #1: Master bedroom
As I was unsuccessfully attempting to put my daughter to sleep, I shook my clutch off of my wrist in frustration. As the purse fell, its contents met the wall.
[Insert black ink explosion here]
As it turns out, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can’t erase 30 seconds of your life. I attempted to match paint and make the dark error go away forever. Well, now the wall is two shades of light brown.
Scene #2: Office (i.e. guest bedroom that is the size of a closet)
What do you do when your son needs to wear a pull-up but he is asleep in your arms? You let him sleep and accept the risk of an accident.
[Insert mattress urine puddle here]
After this error in judgment, I began to question my own parenting decisions.
Scene #3: Kitchen
Warning: If you’re having a bad day, don’t even dream of opening the freezer door!
[Insert frost build-up here]
At this point, I seriously pondered if that web camera in the living room wasn’t recording this whole debacle. I put a Kleenex box in front of the lens – just to be safe.
Scene #4: Guest bathroom
Because what performance is complete without a grand finale?
After failing to gain our complete and undivided attention during dinner preparations, my son decided to (1) lock the door and (2) shut it as he was leaving the bathroom. While we were grateful that he was not trapped inside, a part of me still believes we could have talked him through it. Why, son, why?
[Insert a Youtube video and two hours of our lives we’ll never regain here]
Last night we put our son to bed early after an emotional battle – we didn’t want the anger to win. There was no family walk, no evening trip to the park.
But, somewhere in the cold silence, the tinkly music found us once again. Although I couldn’t see him, I heard a little boy leap from his bed and sift through the blinds – as if searching for the joy that recent events had stolen. And, in that very moment, I was reminded that our true character lies not in our mistakes but in our response to them.
I took my son’s lead and caught a glimpse of the pink truck as it drove past.