Perspective

As any parent of a toddler, I find that I am really maxed out for time. My daughter is at the age now where she is mobile and extremely curious, so she is into everything…..particularly all the cliché areas that your ever-knowing mother-in-law and other parent friends mentioned before: the Tupperware drawer, the cd cabinet, the clothing drawers, your makeup case….pretty much any drawer that they can get their chubby little digits on. She has learned to full-out run, and she speeds away from me like a criminal runs from the law, all the while giggling and shrieking at this fantastic new game. She flips her interest more quickly than my eyes can follow. She is just SO BUSY, and I can’t leave her alone for one second. This makes for accomplishing ANY task that I tackle virtually impossible to complete. Hence, I am maxed out for time.

In order to deal with this, I plan my day accordingly, designating time intervals for everything. For example, she naps from around 11am for an hour and a half, so I have to bust my booty during that window to do whatever it is I need to do that requires my full attention (see: surf pinterest and facebook).

No, but seriously…..I devote 15 minutes to put away her laundry (and nope, I don’t fold it….I don’t believe in folding, personally) and as I stuff her onesise and leggings into one drawer, she has pulled everything else out of another drawer. OK, so we start again….I put away everything that she just pulled out of the other drawer, whilst distracting her with a puzzle, to which she gives me this look “lady, I’ve already solved this puzzle ages ago….let’s look alive here, ok?” and she proceeds to pull everything out of another drawer. Yep, the 15 minutes that I devoted to laundry is now up, and I give in and toss all the laundry onto her bedroom floor and close the door to conceal the evidence. Later, when hubby gets home from work, he clucks his tongue at us when he notices the mess in her bedroom. “I see that our lovely daughter has pulled everything out of her drawers again, hey?” he asks. I roll my eyes in agreement, “yep, she sure did” and I snicker under my breath….if only he knew the truth!  

Anyways, I guess that I have pretty much just accepted the fact that my house will never be clean again, but it’s not without trying. For instance, I bought myself a rechargeable Swiffer vacuum from the store so to vacuum up the Hansel and Gretel trail that this kid of mine has left throughout my house. When I first pulled that shiny green Swiffer vacuum out of its box, I felt triumphant! Take that, cheerios!  I thought to myself. Well, it turns out that the vacuum needs to be fully charged before it works…..fully charged for 12 hours. And you can guess what happened once that Swiffer became charged. Yep. By then I had lost interest in the task….the 5 minute window that I allot myself to vacuum is over, people! Damn you, Swiffer! (I have since forgiven the Swiffer and we get along very well).

Sometimes I feel so stressed as I gaze around at the chaotic mess that has become my home. On a particularly bad day, when there’s nothing made for dinner, I’ve worked all day and I have a toddler immersed into the “witching hour”, I feel like unravelling. But sometimes, all you need is a little perspective, and it seems that this perspective comes with perfect timing. The perspective came in the form of two customers at my work this weekend. The first was a woman who seemed stumped as to what mascara to buy. I suggested a few options, upon which we started chatting and she revealed to me that perhaps the reason why her mascara kept clumping was because she had lost all her eyelashes to chemotherapy. She then told me that it was her son’s wedding that afternoon, and that she didn’t want to look washed out in the photos, and would I help her find some makeup?

Long story short, I put a bit of blush on her, a touch of a neutral shadow, and drew some eyebrows onto the area where her own brows had once resided. Then, when I was done, she  pulled me into her and gave me the biggest hug. She barely looked me in the eye, for fear that I would see her tears, as she whispered “thank you so much” and scurried away.

Well, that certainly made my day.

But that’s not it!

Today, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, being stuck at work while my hubby and daughter were out playing in the Canada Day festivities. Then, along came a very patriotic looking woman, decked out in full red and white, with her adorable little granddaughter in tow. This little girl had painted her nails as Canada flags, and grandma was looking for some stick-on rhinestones to complete the look. I couldn’t help but notice that this little girl (who could have been no more than 4 years old) had very short, coarse hair. As I tried not to stare, it was as if grandma read my mind.

“She’s lost all her hair from cancer treatments. She’s healing from leukemia.”

I nodded knowingly, trying to disguise my pain with understanding.

They continued on their way, checking out polishes and perfume. I couldn’t help myself, as the tears were in danger of spilling over and could only be quelled by one piece of information.

I approached them.

“Will she be ok?” I heard the words tumble from my mouth as if I were asking a doctor about my own daughter’s fate.

“She’s tough.” Grandma said. “She swallows pills and everything. She just finished up her treatments. She lives in California, and she and her sisters are here on vacation. I have seven granddaughters, you know” she added proudly.

I know this post is shaping up to sound like a corny after-school special, but seriously, people. If this doesn’t put my complaints into perspective, then I don’t know what does?!

One thing I do know is this: I made a decision right then and there. I decided to TRY not to feel so stressed about the silly things in my life. They are truly trivial compared to what these two customers are dealing with. And I also vowed to hug my daughter a little more tightly that day. And every day from now on.

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