Last January I sorted and purged and rearranged my children’s bedroom. We have three kids in a relatively small room and after getting rid of old toys and trying to assign homes for the new toys that had resulted from Christmas I had taken everything apart and decided maybe there was a better way to put it all back together. I mostly guesstimated, but did some half-hearted measuring too. My friend convinced me to take the final furniture rearranging leap by helping to push the bunk-bed from one wall to another. It barely fit . . .and by barely I mean we had maybe 1/4″ of space to play around with so that drawers could still open and children would still be able to climb on and off. But it made the room feel bigger and opened up floor space. However, it did create some tricky spots where toys and books get swallowed up, for months at a time.

The other night something important to my 6 year-old daughter fell behind the bed. It was already past bed time and I had been semi-single parenting for the week due to a busy complicated schedule, so when I say that the bedtime routine hadn’t gone smoothly, you know I’m sparing unpleasant parenting details. My daughter began to cry, “Mom! Please will you come and get it?” Without going into the room, determined to be done with bedtime I called loudly (I hesitate to say yelled, but maybe that is more accurate?), “No! You don’t need whatever it is right now because you’re going to sleep. We can find it tomorrow!” Muffled complaints and whines made their way out into the kitchen where I crankily stood doing dishes. I ignored them, sure that I had made myself clear enough and that she’d survive. A few minutes later I heard a clunk. As I walked down the hall I could hear my four-year-old son, “Mahgwet, I can’t see it. Shine yo’ light down hewe.” (He’s got a really cute “r” speech impediment that I’m not sure how to communicate on the screen, but it definitely adds to the stowy.) I stopped short of the door and peeked in. Cole had shimmied down between the bunk bed and the wall to search out his sister’s fallen item among the dust bunnies and other forgotten toys. He pulled things out one at a time and threw them onto the bed, “That’s not it! Gwoss, it’s all haiwy.” I giggled quietly as I watched the books, toys, and hairballs come out.

“Hewe it is!” He reached up with the restored treasure. “Thanks Cole!” He shimmied back up the side of the bed, over the rail, pushed all the other junk he’d just recovered onto the floor and grinned as he said, “It’s a good thing Jesus cweated me like this so I could fit back hewe and find this stuff.”

“Yeah, that is a good thing,” I thought.

Often, when we’re trying to make improvements, the changes we make create other problems. Wouldn’t it be awesome if when we find ourselves in those tight spots we could approach it like a child and be grateful for what it’s teaching us about ourselves and helping us to understand?

January 11, 2010


  1. Dovie

    January 12, 2010

    I am glad I have a high tolerance for chaos. I got a lot of chaos going on today.

  2. Melissa

    January 12, 2010

    I love it when my kids do really cute things like that. Of course, I could never get them to help each other if I ASKED them to. I’m torn between guilt and happiness when this type of thing happens — guilt because I was grumpy or needing to hold my ground, and happiness that my girls come together to face an “common enemy”. Although I don’t much like or approve of my being considered the enemy, I’m hoping they will stick up for each other and lend a hand when they are away from home. I guess if my being the common enemy is what it takes for them to find each other, then I’m okay to show up for the role now and then. 😀

  3. m&m

    January 12, 2010

    Lovely post. Thank you.

  4. Heather H.

    January 12, 2010

    Dovie-amen sister! And great job relating this post to yourself. 🙂

    Melissa, there was definitely a moment the other night I thought of going in and saying, “What are you doing out of bed? I said, blah, blah . . .(insert other grumpy mom things here).” Although I’m glad I didn’t because I’m even more glad that Cole knows he was created by Jesus-awesome doctrinal point that will give him a lot of comfort and direction (hopefully for his whole life), and that he served his sister, and that I didn’t have to figure out how to shimmy behind the bunk-bed.

  5. Marm

    January 12, 2010

    Fun story and I liked your analogy. Our youngest had problems with “r” too. To tell you the truth, I was a little sad when the speech pathologist at the elementary helped him cure the problem. He was my baby after all.

  6. al

    January 13, 2010

    Loved this post. It’s my life right now too. 🙂

  7. Jessica

    January 13, 2010

    I “love” (meaning appreciate in the sense that it really kicks my trash sometimes) how my children can instantly disarm my anger by invoking the “Jesus” factor. They hold me accountable with the same truths I am teaching them.
    “Would Jesus do that Mom?”
    Or, the most recent from my six-year-old: “Before you answer my second question, I want to ask a first question – How would Jesus answer this…?”
    That’s some serious forethought. Which I should have more of before I misbehave.

    Thank you for the story.

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