I recently laid my head on my pillow after an exhausting summer day, and jumped when I heard a monotone voice recite, 'Accept life's imperfections.' The next day, Laddie admitted to planting my stress ball under my pillow in hopes of surprising me. Sneak attack - successful!
Does the stress ball need explanation? This silly squishy ball came into my life while running the garage sale at the kids' Catholic School a few years ago. There was always a souvenir that I took home to remember the sale by (in case the blood, sweat, and tears and thankless volunteer hours weren't enough). Each sale took on its own personality. The first year I confiscated a hideous, homemade sun dress. The navy polyester fabric featured a repeating printed phrase in red letters, 'Have a nice day, have a nice day.' It made me chuckle, and the other volunteers chuckled even more when I modeled it over my clothes during a moment of slap happiness. Today the 'have a nice day' dress holds a cherished place in my closet, although I haven't worn it since. The stress ball, another year's trophy, shares various phrases when squeezed, or thrown with great vigor at the wall - not that I speak from experience. The favorite 'ball' wisdom of our family is the phrase: 'Relax, relax, relax,' which is spoken in a sickly soothing tone. Laddie admitted that he squeezed the ball once too many, thereby passing up the 'relax' phrase and landing on the 'Accept Life's Imperfections.'
After my jolt from the creepy-voiced stress ball, which surfaces occasionally after spending months in hiding because unlike its ugly dress counterpart the ball does not occupy a stationary spot, it took me a few minutes to settle into sleep mode. Coach was already asleep when I went to bed, and he only vaguely remembers the commotion. I thought about the advice that radiated so sweetly from the black sphere before I drifted off. What choice do I have other than to accept life's imperfections?
Ironically (actually it isn't that ironic because my children are often imperfect) that day I discovered a few of the imperfections of my darling children. Laddie was told to empty the garbage baskets in the three bathrooms in the house. I discovered later that he removed the trash from the basket, but he failed to replace the bag with a new one. I stopped him in his tracks and explained that the job was not complete. (One of my pet peeves is not doing something right the first time - I mean really, why bother?) I instructed him to 1. get new bags, 2. dump the garbage that is now at the bottom of an unlined trash can into the new bag, and finally 3. line the trash can with this partially filled bag. Imagine my shock when I realized hours after he was in bed that he had simply taken a new bag and fastened it to the top of the trash basket - ON TOP of the garbage that had not been emptied. Did he really think I wouldn't notice?
While Mini is younger than her predictably inept-garbage-emptying-flop of a brother, she has always been considered a young, and intelligent child. By sweeping a pile of food bits, paper scraps, and other kitchen odds and ends directly into the pantry itself, she proves that imperfection knows no boundaries. Rather than utilizing the dustpan to properly dispose of the able-to-solve-world-hunger-sized pile she created, she thought no one would notice the additional land fill overflow that now joined the oops-I-missed-the-garbage-can-but-I-won't-bother-to-pick-it-up pile already laying claim to the pantry floor. She underestimated both my awareness of how much 'missing-the-can' pile lingers in front of the trash receptacle, along with my presence in the kitchen while she was conducting the job. It doesn't take a CSI agent to realize that something is amiss if I heard no struggle to utilize the dust pan. Additionally, there were no loud bursts calling a sibling to hold the awkward dust pan. My peripheral vision caught Mini simply sweeping away one minute, and upstairs the next. The timeline didn't add up.
I suppose these examples support the laziness flaw of my offspring verses the imperfection element, but remember we are focusing on the thoughts prompted by the irritating stress ball just as I was about to drift off to sleep. I don't own a stress ball that offers a prerecorded lazy-kid-negative-energy release, so I am forced to work with the 'imperfect' stress ball that bounced into my life during a period of over commitment. Of course, I don't over commit now that the ball has instructed me: 'It's OK to say no.'