One recent sunny Sunday morning, I made myself a to-do list:
Shortly thereafter, the Universe handed me this to-do list instead:
Let me back up a bit.
I was a really good mom that morning, for about half an hour. I hung with the kids, and then I took my little darling Everett out to help me load the wagon with firewood. Then I pulled the wagon, with him atop the wood, to the house, and together we stacked the firewood by the fireplace in the living room.
Then we placed some wood in the grate, and I gently showed him how to leave just enough space between each log, and then tuck kindling below. He helped me light the tinder and blow life into the fire. Together we warmed ourselves in the glow. Then I closed the grate, put the matches out of reach atop the mantle, and reminded him the rule he already knows: Unlike outdoors, where we can poke sticks into and throw leaves on the flames, we don’t play with fire in the house.
He nodded his understanding and I walked back to the bedroom to plan my day.
I had just finished the to-do list, when Everett came in, bundled in his coat and rosy from the chilly outdoors. “Hey baby, look at your sweet little cheeks!” I said to him.
His bottom lip quivered and I saw he was barely holding back tears. Uh oh.
“Baby, what’s wrong?”
Everett: “I’m sorry, Mommy!” and a tear escapes to his cheek. Now I’m scared.
“Everett… What’s. Wrong.”
“I’m sorry Mommy. I put a fire on your shed.”
Out the window, I could see smoke curling into the sky.
And that is how I came to spend the entire day tossing out ruined equipment, sorting out what could be salvaged, and then frantically constructing a place for my chickens to spend the night.
P.S. I realize the irony of posting this story just a few months after I glowed about what a good mommy I am for letting my kids play with fire. I’m pretty sure people are going to judge me. That’s okay. I’m judging you for not giving your kids the opportunity to learn to handle an emergency.
P.P.S. It is something of a mystery how the fire came to be. Everett says he lit a match (and the shed was full of straw so… no doubts there), but WHERE did the match come from? The matches from our earlier fire were still atop the mantle piece, with no evidence that he had attempted to reach them. The only other matches in the house are the paper sort which are difficult even for an adult to light. Clever little boy.
P.P.P.S. I’m not really judging anyone. Judging: Not really my thing. Whatever. Light fires with your kids. Or don’t. Chances are, if they’re boys and mischievous, they’ll light plenty of fires with or without you or both with and without you. Or not. It’s all good. Or not.