You may think shopping for art supplies is a fairly mundane task. My husband would agree with you. But the other day I was standing in front of drawing pencils when I heard the unmistakable sounds of a kid pooping.
Yes I’m serious. So much for being boring huh?
While shopping for drawing supplies (new hobby), I became aware of a family of 3 one aisle over. The wide-eyed little boy poked his head around the corner and waved as his parents were no doubt preoccupied with colorful acrylics and paint pens. Cute kid, I thought as I returned to selecting graphite pencils and quality drawing paper. I was in heaven. Art supplies make me happy. Just like books.
Then I heard it.
As a mom, there are certain sounds you are trained to distinguish. If a child coughs, you may or may not take note of it. But if a child coughs just a little differently, you sprint at top speed to said child sensing the impending liquid that will spew forth any minute. Same thing with pooping children. You just know. So there I was basking in the glory of the kneaded erasers and fancy sharpeners when I heard…
Three more LOUD grunts.
Foot stomping. (yea I don’t get it either)
A sigh of relief.
Surely not, I thought. Then a shockingly offensive odor wafted over to my aisle making my eyes water. How could such a cute small boy cause such a stink? I nearly groaned aloud myself. I was looking for a rag to tie around my face when I heard the dad.
“Are you finished son? OK. Lets go to the potty and get you cleaned up.”
Wait, what? Sir, I believe you’ve got the order of this process backwards. I know these kids don’t come with instructions, but still. Potty first. Then poop. Consult the theoretical parent manual, Frederick. Or a parent support group. Someone.
Dry heaving over the toxic fumes released by the kid’s walk to the facilities, I headed to the checkout line. There was no way I was hanging around for what might happen on aisle 4, 5 or 6.
I was starting to recover from the assault on my nostrils and thought – those poor parents. When they ventured out for a family trip to the arts and crafts store, I’m sure they had a different idea of what would take place. Yet as any parent knows, kids often wreck even the best of plans. You can have all the contingencies covered and still find yourself in the midst of poop on aisle 2. Maybe it was a problem solved. Maybe the kid was having issues and his system was relieved by the sights and scents of Crayola.
A planner by nature, a wrecked plan is not usually something I handle well. Those are the times I have to remind myself that God may have a different idea in mind for the day. If I let him steer, I just might be surprised at what happens. Sure, it may seem like everything is going south on aisle 2 at the moment, but something wonderful may be just around the corner. Interruptions, surprises, and detours can all lead to better things than I could have planned for myself.
Take time to pause when things go sideways. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and count to ten. Do what you need to cope with what’s not going as planned and then be open to what could be.