I walked into my daughter’s room. That’s when I saw it.
Immediately, my blood pressure began to rise.
There, in the doorway of her closet, on my JUST CLEANED carpet, was a hideous spot.
Me: MOLLY! What is that spot on your carpet???!!!!
Molly (without a care in the world): Oh, that? Yea, Lauren and I ate Cocoa Puffs and we kinda spilled the milk.
Me: Wait a minute. Lauren slept over TWO DAYS AGO! TWO DAYS! That spot has been there for TWO DAYS?! Did you think about maybe cleaning it up or maybe telling me so I could? Did ya think about that?! I JUST got the carpets cleaned, but was it your money? Noooo.
Then I went into a highly educational and spirited lecture about how when you leave stains they soak into the carpet fibers and are much more difficult to remove. This is all riveting stuff for a 12-year-old.
Yep, it’s true. I became the bird. Whatever his name is. And I just went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. But did I mention that I had JUST had my carpets cleaned? For $200 hard-earned bucks. Not that I’m counting.
My perfectionistic tendencies are dying a long, hard, slow painful death.
Later I asked myself, “Was the Cocoa Puffs battle worth fighting? In the big picture, does it really matter that I have some Cocoa Puffs milk embedded into my carpet fibers?”
Right now, Molly is on the edge of the teen years. Already, she’s been bombarded by a host of influences that make me shudder. And pray. A lot.
Every day, it seems like my influence fades a little. But I know it’s still there. Probably more than I think.
And when I insist on nitpicking and winning every little “Cocoa Puffs” battle, I damage our relationship. And relationship IS influence. When I encounter a battle that really counts, I want her to hear me.
Which means this Cuckoo bird needs to stay in her cage.
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. Proverbs 13:3