I was warned. But I didn’t listen.
I had scheduled a photo shoot for the kids at Sears. Molly was five. Micah was two. In those days, getting kids dressed, fed, napped and happy for a photo shoot took a super-Herculean effort. I still have traumatic flashbacks.
For some inexplicable reason, I scheduled the appointment directly after Molly’s Saturday morning soccer game. Brilliant.
She changed clothes in the Sears bathroom and we walked into the packed waiting room. As far as the eye could see were beautifully dressed, miserable babies and toddlers.
We sat down to wait our turn.
That’s when Molly uttered five fateful words.
"I don’t feel so good."
I responded, of course, with a generous dose of motherly nurturing and compassion.
Me: You can make it, honey. It’s just going to be five more minutes.
It’s downright shameful, but here was my thought process: “Everyone’s dressed. We’re all here. That is 90 percent of the battle! I am NOT leaving without a happy family photo, dangit!"
A few minutes passed. No one has called our name.
Molly: Mommy, my stomach really hurts. I don’t think I can make it. Can’t we just go home?
Me: I think we’re next. We’ll just take a few quick photos and be done, okay? I promise.
Molly: Okay. I’ll try.
What happened next is forever branded in my memory and no doubt the memories of everyone unfortunate enough to be seated in Sears Portrait Studio.
Molly turned to me and she had “the look.”
You know "the look." The look that says, “I am about to be sick and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.”
Mike and I looked at each other in horror, but there wasn’t time to DO anything.
Molly stood up and promptly got sick – right there in the studio that had recorded so many joyous family memories. (Not ours, but somebody's, I'm sure.)
Now there’s a moment you want to capture for all posterity. And a surefire way to clear a room.
I whisked Molly to the bathroom, while Mike helped the staff clean up. Which was no easy or pleasant task.
Looking back on it, the disaster could have been easily averted in so many ways.
This Kodak moment came to mind yesterday after a rough afternoon when I figuratively “threw up” all over my family. I was cranky, difficult and impatient. And just like with Molly, the warning signs that it was coming were right there in front of my face. If only I had heeded them….
I was overtired. The last week at my house had involved too much activity and too little sleep. For a girl was really functions best on eight hours, that is a deadly combination.
I was overwhelmed. Family and work responsibilities have been on turbo-drive recently, leaving little downtime. Besides good rest, I know I need at least a little downtime to regroup and recharge.
I was under-fueled. This week my alone time with God has been spotty. When that happens, I start to work on my own power and that’s never a good thing.
When I realized the meltdown warning signs (too late), it was a wakeup call. I'm going to make the necessary adjustments so this doesn't become a very long and unpleasant Spring Break.
How about you? Is your current family life picture-perfect or do you have some warning signs that tell you a meltdown is coming?