59: The Green Crayon

59: The Green Crayon

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

The Green Crayon

Just pray for a tough hide and a tender heart.

~Ruth Graham

It was what I call the witching hour, that hectic interval right before dinnertime. I was exhausted and just trying to survive until the sweet escape of bedtime. I threw a frozen meal concoction into the frying pan for dinner, had the last load of laundry in the dryer and was paying one more bill while trying to keep the children distracted with entertaining videos. Unaware that my four-year-old daughter had left the family room to “help with the laundry,” I saw her emerge from the basement holding her brand-new pink Easter outfit streaked with what appeared to be green marker. I jumped to conclusions and yelled, “What have you done? Where did you get that marker? Why would you do such a thing?”

She denied all my accusations profusely and cried, “It wasn’t me! Go downstairs and look in the dryer. It’s all over everything!”

I ran downstairs to the dryer and found that my daughter was right. As I reached into the dryer and pulled out all the new spring outfits I had purchased on our limited budget, I saw that all the shirts, pants and never-worn clothes were creatively streaked with bright green. I sorted through every item with misty eyes and discovered a pair of my son’s OshKosh overalls. They were blotched with a large stain of the same green, and I remembered the green crayon we had placed there two days before while shopping.

I explained to my daughter that the green crayon was destroyed by the dryer and plopped onto the floor sobbing as my four-year-old daughter said, “See, I told you. What are we going to do now?” Feeling totally frustrated, angry and dismayed, I began to aimlessly assess the damaged clothing, only to be interrupted by the sound of the smoke alarm.

I dashed upstairs to find my two-year-old reaching for the pan I had left on the stove, now billowing with smoke and flames. I grabbed him away from the danger and whipped the pan with our dinner into the sink. Totally frustrated with the whole situation, and having no patience with the dinner, the children, the laundry, and myself, I started huffing and puffing, screaming at the children to get out of my way. All of a sudden, I felt a tug on my pants. I looked down at my daughter, peering up at me with tear-stained cheeks. “Mommy,” she said, “I think we need to pray about the green crayon!”

I have always heard that many of life’s greatest lessons are those we learn through the eyes of a child. That night it was my four-year-old daughter and a melted green crayon that taught me patience, love and appreciation for the gifts that my children are to me each day.

~Peg Arnold

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