Sherri Gragg

Writer. Mom. Daydreamer. Dog's Best Friend.

As Simple as Vaseline On The Carpet

Occasionally, one of my kids (or more than one of my kids) will get into some kind of trouble that instantaneously drains all of the energy right out of me and I think, “Okay.  That’s it.  I’m done for today.”  Inevitably, dinner is simple that night and I skip bathing the children in order to get them in bed as soon as possible.  Then, I sit and stare off into space for a bit.

My first child, Christopher, has always been a very energetic and creative child (translation: hyper and mischievous).  Even when he was a baby he would occasionally produce one of those days for me all on his own.  There was the time he climbed to the top shelf of the linen closet and hid there.  When we finally found him, our hearts pounding in panic that someone had snatched our “angel”, he informed us, “Dis is my special seat, and nobody can make me come down!”

 There was another time that he attempted to take off all of his clothes and jump into the fountain at the mall.  Oh, and my personal favorite:  The day I walked upstairs to find him sitting in the middle of the floor with a tub of Vaseline which he had proudly smeared to about 1/2 ” thickness all over his body and the carpet too.

But now, I have five children and that Vaseline covered toddler is standing on the brink of adolescence.  Two of my children were adopted from Haiti a year and a half ago and spent the two years previously living in an orphanage.  Sometimes, after a day like today I think about how the Vaseline episode threw me for a loop and then I say to myself, “If only that were the worst of my problems today.”

If only….

Two years is a long time to wait for a child.  It is also a long time for a child to wait for her family.  I remember thinking a few months after my girls came home that it was like there were all of these little boxes inside of them and that I had no idea was was in them and therefore was parenting “blind”.  Over time however, the boxes popped up less frequently and then their appearance tapered off almost completely. 

I guess that is why today when I came across one that was previously unopened I was caught off guard.  It came out of nowhere and when I opened it, I am quite sure I heard something inside me fracture.

When I recovered, I was in awe that my little girl had been walking around with that box inside her and I had no idea.  She had been laughing, playing, learning, and loving all the while.

And there it was.  Unopened.  Waiting until she was whole enough to look inside, her hand placed firmly in mine.

So, we looked inside together and then we cried together and held each other for the longest time.  Then, I took her little face in my hands and reminded her what I told her in the beginning:

“I love you no matter what.  I love you when you obey and when you disobey.  I love you when you are nice and when you are not so nice.  I love you when you make good choices and when you make bad ones.  I love you when you are first out of the tub and smell clean and sweet and I love you when you are dirty and are stinky!  I love you when you succeed and I love you when you struggle.  I love you whether you are here or in Haiti.  I have always loved you, even before you knew about me.  Nothing can change my love for you because you are mine.”

But on days like today, I long for problems as simple as Vaseline on the carpet.

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6 comments on “As Simple as Vaseline On The Carpet

  1. Heather
    July 11, 2007

    Sherri,
    It is like you stepped into my heart and wrote down what you saw. WOW! I had one of those days a couple of days ago and just cried and cried to the Lord for what some of my children have had to endure. Praying for your kids and mine that God will replace the pain with healing. I love how you ended your post. Mind if I steal some of that for my kids?

  2. everydaymiracle
    July 11, 2007

    Heather,

    You most certainly may use my words to bless your children. I am honored.

    Sherri

  3. Emily
    July 12, 2007

    That brought tears to my eyes. I can hardly imagine what your girls must have been through. It is a wonderful thing that they have you and your family surrounding them with love.

    For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about the type of fostering I hope to do and I have decided that I want to be a long-term carer for a sibling pair (maybe aged 3 and 6), so the children live with me and my daughter permanently. Your words give me an insight into the emotions I may be facing and encouragement that I too will be able to make a difference.

  4. Thelma
    July 12, 2007

    Oh Sherri, you make me miss my own mom… she always spoke words of affirmation that you made to your daughter. I carry those words with me everyday of my life, because with them is an unconditional love I know I can rely on, even though she’s now with her Lord and Saviour.
    Rest assured that words like those will remain as a hedge of protection around your precious daughter’s heart… she will always remember them…

    Love,
    Thelma

  5. Jayleigh
    July 14, 2007

    It is hard to wait for a child. All of my friends struggling with infertility have gone on top adoption, or fostering, or have just called it all quits. I’ve done none of that. So at 14+ years of waiting, I’m starting the cycle all over again. It’s crazy, and I think “if only such and such” was the worst problem I had now.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Amblin
    July 20, 2007

    Your post today was so raw and heartbreakingingly honest with such beauty and gentleness in words. I cried over the truth in it. Thank you for writing so honestly and with so much beauty. It helps to prepare me as we wait to adopt our daughter.

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