By Ty Phillips
Are you kidding me?
I look down and my sock has a giant wet spot on it because the dog with the world’s tiniest bladder—which seems to need release every 20 minutes—has peed on the floor…again! As I clean it up, I hear my three year old say those two dreaded words, ”uh oh!” I walk into the bathroom and notice that she has managed to stuff the hand towel into the toilet, her “uh oh” was because she tried to flush it and now my bathroom floor is a wading pool.
Not 15 minutes goes by, I have just finished cleaning the bathroom mess and I hear glass shattering.
Taking a deep breath, I walk into the kitchen and my cat in her ever so persistent manner of being a jerk, has pushed yet another glass off of the counter. I put my daughter into her crib and go to pick up the broken pieces.
“OUCH!” One razor sharp shard must have shot out further than I had anticipated and it is now sticking out of my heel…which bleeds surprisingly like a faucet set on high.
As I finally start to finish the process of wound and damage control in the kitchen, I notice that it’s deathly silent in my daughter’s room. This can mean only two things, she fell asleep (not likely) or she is pooping.
Before I can sneak a peek, I hear a thump followed by, “Daddy! I poopeded on the floor.” I let out an audible groan. “Poopeded on the floor” means that she pooped in her diaper and then took it off and threw it on the floor.
It’s just been one of those days—an unending barrage of “this is gonna piss me off.”
I haven’t slept much, the car just went back into the shop for another 1,100 plus dollar repair and this nonsense is overwhelming me today. One more thing and I am gonna lose it.
Oh, did I mention it’s not even 9:00 a.m. yet?
Days like these aren’t unique to me, I know this. In fact, I am pretty grateful that these are the only things on my list to complain about. There was a time when days like these would have sent me into a torrent of cussing and self pity (I may still cuss in my head from time to time).
It was a commercial that changed my attitude though.
Four years ago, I was recovering from an ailment that had me on death’s bed—literally. I spent months at home alone, healing and thinking and it was during this process that I stopped to watch a commercial on starving children. I felt crushed. I had seen this commercial before, but usually as I fast forwarded through it.
This time, everything in my life was set up to knock all the dominoes down.
We often think it cliché’ when we hear, “there are starving children in Africa…” yet, this simple adage is so true. Even at my worst moment, when I heard the doctor tell me that I was dying, I have not experienced suffering like that of millions of children around the world. In fact, I had ignored their suffering for the majority of my life.
This commercial often comes to mind when I am feeling glum; stuck within the cycle of my own ego. I look in my children’s eyes and remember, no matter how irritated I am, they didn’t ask for this. I brought them here, this was my choice.
Every let down, every great moment, every tear, every bruised knee and every monthly doughnut run, is a by-product of my choice to have children.
I have no room to suffer when I put things into perspective. Sure, I get angry from time to time, and yes—I even go downstairs into my little cave and rattle off obscenities when no one can hear. But when I take the time to look—to really look at everything I have, no matter how little—it is still more than most.
I walk into my daughter’s room (I can afford to give her, her own room), lean over and pick up the poop, and I see her waiting eyes.
I tell her, “it’s okay sugarbear.”
She smiles and I know, that even though I was getting angry, she is still waiting to offer me a smile.
Photo: (provided by author)
Editor: Dana Gornall