You know the days when you wake up with a lump of coal in your stomach and you try to shake it off but then the screaming baby soaks through her diaper and then sits on you just as the medical bill debt collector calls… again?
I just knew yesterday was out to get me.

I got ready for work and packaged up my screaming baby to take with me (I like to play a game called No Sitter Tuesdays). I brushed out the door a few minutes late to find the tire on the truck very VERY low.
Thank goodness I work for a man who makes a living out of very very low truck tires. We drove slowly to work where Alice screamed more and I typed and told my Mom about my morning.
As she left she said, “I’m headed out -think of the absolute worst thing that could happen to you today and then call to tell me when it happens.”
Around that same time, Dad let me know that I needed two new tires.
And around THAT time, Alice decided she wanted a treat and just… started heading that way. A nice man rescued her from the middle of Main and Grandpa decided he’d better TAKE her himself since she was obviously determined to make it to the convenience store right across the street.

(Can you spy Alice holding hands with her Grandpa? She’s tiny.)

I went home from work and took a nap, hoping it would somehow RESET the day -morph the coal in my stomach into rainbows and sunshine.

I woke up and found The Screaming Toddler still asleep (I can only sleep when she sleep, according to “What To Expect”). I could have cleaned or something, but I decided to work on the Disneyland scrapbook -that’s safe right? I’m no pro at scrapbooking. I mostly trim the photos down and paste them to cardstock and journal next to them. It goes along with my “done is better than perfect” mantra.
The afternoon slipped away into four scrapbooked pages and a few music lessons. I spent some time on my knees while my husband mowed the grass and my prayers were interrupted by, “Mom, Grandpa needs a lighter…”
I looked down at the farm and saw my Dad’s truck parked in it’s usual spot. I gave my son a lighter and went back to my prayers. A few minutes later, the sun set and I donned a small flashlight and sweater. I took a walk in hopes that my moving around would break the coal into bits and it would fall into the cracks of the pavement.
I usually walk at top-speed but yesterday I walked through some kind of invisible molasses. Each. step. took. grand. amounts. of. effort.
I walked in the door and found the older kids in bed.
“They,” my husband pointed in the direction of their room, “Are in BIG trouble.”
It turns out Grandpa wasn’t at the farm. They lied to get a lighter, and when the lighter wouldn’t work… they snuck some matches and STARTED A FIRE on my Dad’s farm.
Lies, sneakery, ARSON!


We set up some consequences that went along with their actions and held our hands up every time they started a sentence with, “but.”
“But Trent told me to…”
“But Lacy told me to…”
“But we wanted to surprise you.” (that was probably one of the best sentences I ever pretended not to hear from my children. SURPRISE ME?! Well, a farm fire will definitely do it!)

For Grandpa, they would have to face him and confess, tell him they would make it right by picking up trash and pulling weeds on the farm. They would them give him a note of apology.
For Mom, they would read the story of George Washington and his cherry tree, draw a picture of it and then tell Mom what they learned from it. They would also memorize a scripture that begins with, “lying lips are an abomination.” They would also write an apology note.
For Dad, they would write an apology note for sneaking matches behind his back.

I sat with them as they wrote:

And then. Right then, the coal in my stomach burned hard and bright and then dissipated into thin air.

Today my stomach woke up empty.
Today I believe will be much better, and will hopefully include a drawing of George Washington and NOT a fire.

Did I tell you they also flooded the neighbor’s shed? It was all pure and good intention (kind of like wanting to light a fire to surprise their mom?)… they were caring for the neighbor’s pets while she was away, and they accidentally left the water faucet running. Neither of them remembers who did it.

I hate to ask, but what’s next? Flood, fire…
Hold me, Mother.  And oh yeah, while I have you on the line… the worst thing I can think of happening is my kids lying to me and starting a fire on property that doesn’t belong to us and is IN FACT next to a barn.

And it’s yours.  How’s that for awful?    :)

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