Taking Care

I’ve never been known for being careful.

When I brush August’s hair, I go for quick and efficient, the same as when I brush my own. I have a tough scalp. I brush my teeth with vigor. I don’t close doors quietly. And I tend to spill. Often.

These are things I’d like to change about myself. I want to be someone who notices the possible repercussions of the actions I am about to take. I may be able to sense the goings on in an acquaintance’s unsaid words, but I will never discover (until it’s too late) the terrible choice of letting my spit-uppy baby (the first one) Skype with my parents while leaning over the keyboard. (But that was 3 years ago…I should have learned by now…)

The problem with not owning the common sense to foresee possible disasters is that you essentially make the same mistake over and over. When you’re eighteen and you lose the camera you got for graduation three days after you got it, you disappoint your parents. When you’re in your thirties and your parents give you a GPS for your birthday (just what you’ve hoped for an entire year since your last was stolen and you are going to be so careful and never leave it out in the car again!) but then you drop it in your bag and lean over to get your child out of the carseat and, whoops, the GPS falls out on the streets of San Francisco never to be seen again (How did I react? I cried for a day. Then I hoped no one would ever notice), then you disappoint your parents.

So, would it shock you to hear that in the past week I have twice done something regrettably careless? One involved leaving markers in the living room, after my husband warned me of our child’s 3-year-old tendencies. (I moved the marker that was out, but never once considered the three still in the packaging.) Are you shocked to hear that while I nursed his brother in the other room, August found that green marker and made wide, brilliant streaks across our 5 day old couch cushions?

Do you want to hear more? On Tuesday, after dropping August off at school, Brooksie and I went to a super cool coffee shop to do a little writing during his naptime. He was fussy. So I pulled out the Ergo so he could fall asleep in it and happened to set him in his car seat beside my coffee beside my computer for one minute. (You know where this is going. Do I even have to say it?) Coffee on the laptop. It’s gone…thankfully the hard drive survived.

Did I mention that I want to be aware? I really do. I’ve been making mistakes like this for 32 years. Come on! To try harder you have to first have a warning bell in your brain that says: This is a bad idea! How did I not get one of those?

Last week, after the couch incident and my washing the cushions with my tears, I sat beside my husband on the couch. I said, “I want to be careful. I want to be careful with our things and our kids and our time and our money. I want to be careful!”

I keep thinking of those words, typing this post on my husband’s computer, wondering what it means that I’m not a careful person. I don’t take care. In the past I’ve written those things off, choosing to embrace my carefree! fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants! nature. Sure, it means we have impromptu breakfast dance parties in the kitchen. But it also means I make people feel like the gifts they give me are not valuable. It means I teach my kid to leave toys he cares about outside because I didn’t think to enforce clean-up.

I want my boys to be grateful. I want to be grateful. And I know that means more than feeling that emotion in my heart. I feel grateful a lot. But do I respond in my everyday choices with gratefulness? Do I choose to care?

Forgive the frustration, friends. I’m just a little slow to learn.


Filed under Motherhood

12 Responses to Taking Care

  1. Mollie

    I have the same problem. It lends itself greatly to forgetfulness, as well, and my husband’s gut response is to take it as a sign of disrespect. He’s working on that, too, but it kills me that sometimes he can’t trust me to do the smallest things. I am a grown woman, after all! I have a daughter and a full-time job! How is it that I am so scatterbrained? So I lean heavily on God’s grace, and try to keep paper and pen nearby to leave myself a note.

  2. Clio

    Oh, my, do I understand where you are coming from. One glimmer of hope… my “alarm bells” have finally started kicking in. I’m pushing 40 and it really just started in the last couple of years. I still also lean heavily on God’s grace (I love that Mollie!), but I actually have moments where I can see a disaster coming. Sometimes I can even avert it :)

  3. Clio, what a relief to hear! So I’ll give myself 6 to 8 more years and maybe I’ll get a grip. Mollie, thanks for joining me in lamenting our scatterbrainedness. I’m thankful to have a kindred.

  4. Ah…the curse of being an intuitive. I know it well. You’d expect those ceramic coffee mugs that have that grippy, mouse-pad like substance on their bottom and are wider at the base than at the top and are designed to remain stationary, you’d expect them to stay on the dashboard of your car and not slip and spill the coffee into your car’s electronic system while driving across the bay bridge wouldn’t you?

  5. Well, I can so relate. I caution my children more than myself because for some reason I think it will be easier to train them against this fault then me to show improvement. We are still finding ourselves saying, “that was epic!… again!!!” So I am the one with my iphone wrapped in the Otterbox that can survive being ran over (yes!) and I can track it the second I realize I’ve misplaced it, again. My son isn’t the one wrecking his phone- just me (toilet once, and across the room football prop) so I do have some relief that they are going to be a little less prone to my issues until I remember the beautiful water boiling pot that my son cracked, but it was still usable- until the giant mug fell from the cabinet when I didn’t move it appropriately when digging out my favorite mug. Then my daughter… the most called nickname for her is “Messy Moe” but she always has such a cute, loving look after that just melts my fits of anger wanting to come out. She has the ability to not-so-gracefuly fall (just like her mom) and we just built her a loft bed?! Oh we better add another rail while I’m thinking about it!! She has quite the lovely, bruised legs today from two falls on the porch.

    So I’m thankful that they had these amazing snap-on protective cases for my laptop and I have this awesome silicone keyboard cover so I can’t spill in the thing anymore. I also really like the new keyboards and mouse sets that are made to be water-proof and you can run them in the dishwasher for good measure!!! Yes!!! The Otterbox is saving my phone and I have a stainless steel water boiling pot thing now. I’ve got special stuff on my stair landing now so I don’t fall when coming down to make my great mother appearance in the mornings. Merri might have to start wearing knee pads but will make sure they are decorated with bling first! My husband is only allowed tools with a serious lifetime warrantee since his strength overcomes them usually the first week he has them. My son- well, haha, I don’t understand how he makes it home from football in one piece most days but he is more forgettable then clumsy so he staples reminders to a bracelet?!

    I want to remember more, I want to be less clumsy and I’d really like if suddenly God blessed me with the gift to ball room dance in high heels! Until then, I’m going to stick to protecting my toes with my Keens! Now that my kids are getting older (12 and 8) I’m learning to let it go at faster speeds and embrace the things that are none the less a part of who we are. My bench I sit on to put on my make-up still has these crazy dark pink stains from the lipstick my son rubbed all over it when he was 2 yrs old when he thought mama’s make-up was for little boys too! The pictures and the memories still make me laugh and melt my heart when it gets a bit too hard. I will never change that fabric out!!!

    Love you! -Coop

    • 12 and 8! I guess if you put 8+) it makes a 8) haha!

      • Oh ya- there is so a good reason we have dark brown, microfiber furniture…. not the cutest but not a thing I can’t wash off or disguise on the things! I used to never buy new stuff and stuck to the old because not so much the fear of what my kids would do, but me!! Troy still is always chasing me down with lids for my cups (i despise them! I don’t care if I do spill! I do agree to the lids when I leave the house now, however.)

  6. Oh, Micha - I can SO relate to this post. Please give yourself just a little bit of grace. A lot of this is connected to raising up little ones. Yes, some of it is intrinsic to who you are - and it would be good to more thoroughly acknowledge that flip side of what you label ‘carelessness.’ You are open to the new, you can make changes with relative (!!) ease, you have a spontaneous side, you are creative and thoughtful about a lot of things. And you deeply love the people in your life - those that have been there a long time and those you are getting to know and reach out to. As you get older, you will also become more ‘careful’ with things. But please believe me when I tell you - being careful with people is so, SO much more important in the long haul. And this kind of careful I know you are - just from reading what you write. When we have little children, we are tired almost all of the time. And we don’t always notice/see/pay attention to details like markers left out and coffee cups too close to the computer. Be patient with yourself, dear Micha. Be patient.

  7. Ali

    I once saw a kid wearing s shirt that said “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. It was funny to see it in writing. It is something we’ve and felt time and again. You are so not alone on this one. Your wonderful character far out weighs this defect. Wish i could give you a grace filled hug. Maybe this quality helps you be even more unmaterialistic.

  8. oh, i’m so sorry to hear about the laptop!! :( oh dear….

  9. Pingback: Earth-Careful Diapering | mama:monk

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