My Meltdown Button’s Stuck

Yesterday we pulled out of the driveway headed for a Field Trip, when my tire pressure light came on.  This has happened before when there was a significant temperature change, but I had no idea that a night with a low in the 50s would do it.  I got out and checked to see if I had a flat.  Having none, we went on to our field trip, while in the back of my mind I knew I needed to have it checked out just to be sure.  My oldest and I were supposed to head out of town, and I wanted to make sure the Gomobile was in optimal condition for distance.

After my crew and I were finished with our morning events, I decided to go straight to the “car place” to have them check about the light.  When I got there, the mechanic said, “Sure, we can turn that light off.  Won’t take but a minute.”  I asked him to please check my tires and explained my coming trip.  “I’m also about 500 miles short of needing an oil change, but maybe it would be good to go ahead with that as well?”

“Sure thing,” he said.  “No problem.”

The littles and I whiled away the time at a shop within walking distance.  When we returned, it wasn’t long before the mechanic was back with another person, both looking mighty serious.


“Just how far are you going on this trip?” they asked.

“Up above Atlanta,” I told them, wondering what belt was falling off or brakes or motor thingy had fallen apart.

They looked at each other and then told me I needed two new tires.  “You might be fine going that far, but if you have time to get them today, I wouldn’t wait.”

Yep.  New tires.  Sounds about right.

They were very kind and let me borrow their “work truck” to go pick up a very late lunch for my littles, who had snacked on the way back from the field trip.  My two were elated to ride in this four door pickup.  I heard one say, “This is the best day EVER.”  Oh me.  Bless.

As we sat in the waiting area, them eating their lunch, I thought about that little light and how once that would have really annoyed me.  Instead, I took it in stride.  It actually turned out to be a good thing, because if it hadn’t come on, I would still be driving on those worn out tires.

Not a good thing.

I’m not saying I’m one who believes that “everything happens for a reason,” unless one of those reasons can be that there is darkness and evil in the world and sometimes it reigns and bad things happen.  But I do believe that even these small annoying things in our lives have the potential sometimes to lead to good.

Suffice to say that in the past couple of years, I find myself shifting into “meltdown”  mode a lot less over things like lights that come on and children getting sick out of the blue or spilled messes.

Last night Cooter got one of his famous tummy bugs.  It was a whole lot of fun happening up in here between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.  That gave me pause about this trip I was supposed to take with my oldest.  I just didn’t feel like I could leave him behind, not knowing if he was going to bounce back quickly.  After the time I would have already left, our Princess woke up with a fever.

Decision validated.

And yet, I hadn’t flipped out about the change in plans.  I took it in stride.  I am so not patting myself on the back here, y’all.  Just saying that I like this change.  It’s out of character for me, but it feels a whole lot healthier.

Light comes on.  Child has upset stomach.  Okay, let’s do something about it.  Except stress.  Let’s don’t do that.

The other day the littles and I took Miss Sophie for a walk just before lunchtime.  We all needed to get our blood stirring and to breathe some fresh air.  When we came back in, Cooter, for whatever reason I cannot even imagine, walked straight over to the kitchen counter and picked up my five-pound bag of Jasmine rice.  He proceeded to put it on his head and began to dance and sing.  As he spun around, I called out, and it was like one of those slow motion things on the TV, “Nooooo. It’s notttttt sealedddddd.”

Too late.

Half a bag of rice (that’s two and a half pounds for those who love the math) all over the floor.

rice on floor

Did y’all know that rice can skitter a far piece?

All over the floor.

I’ll still be sweeping up bits at Christmas.

Poor Cooter’s face crumpled, and he immediately began to chastise himself.

And me?  For a split second I teetered on the fence.

And then I laughed.

I laughed hard and loud and just about couldn’t stop.

It was as though my Mama had put her hand on my shoulder or given me her eyes to see it all through.  She often reminded me these days don’t last forever.  And in that moment, laughing seemed just as good a something to do as anything else.

Perhaps better.

Because I didn’t immediately go into my “Oh my gosh, what did you just do? Do you know how much rice you just wasted? What were you thinking?” mode, we have some pretty good memories from that incident.

How we all laughed. And how everyone helped by either sweeping or keeping Miss Sophie away from the mess.  And how Cooter found an interest in writing letters in the rice.  (Oh sure, now he’s all about the handwriting.  *sigh*)

Most of all we’ve laughed over his new nickname.  “Dances With Rice on His Head–But Not For Long.”  Even Cooter had to laugh at that one.

Tonight I’m thankful that my “meltdown/freak out” button is stuck, and it doesn’t readily respond to stimuli the way it used to.  I am not going to tell you it never happens, but it for sure doesn’t happen like it used to.  And I’m starting to see more and more how connected things are, and how if we are patient and see things through before “losing it,” we can begin to see some good in the unexpected.

I guess that reminds me of Paul and his “giving thanks in all things” message.  But then I’m still very much a work in progress.

I’m not giving thanks for losing half of my very good rice, but I am thankful for the memories we made that will be a story to tell for quite some time–unlike the story of my yelling and being frustrated would have been, if I hadn’t taken a moment to breathe first.

Yes, those moments.  The ones where I can breathe before I have to respond.  I’m thankful for the discovery of those.  Those are real treasures.  They can turn a mountain of rice into a molehill (and a funny story) in no more than the time it takes to breathe one breath.

May we all find more and more of those moments as the days go by.

Love to all.

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