Adventure Day started with a heavy heart. Another crack created by the vengefulness of fear and hate. I could feel the chaos and taste the panic as people waited to find out if it was their loved one that was killed or hurt. This is a familiar I never wanted. And it is familiar for way too many.
The littles were edgy, too, but they didn’t know why. They were so happy to have me home and so excited for Adventure Day that their backpacks were ready before I was even dressed! We hopped in the car and I stopped for gas. I could hear them laughing and singing and the car was even rocking a bit. (Not necessarily unusual. They have figured out that if they all move at once, the car shakes.) So, when I opened my door and climbed back in, I was shocked that I was met with milk. Everywhere.
Henry (4 yo): “Mama, we played milk shake!”
The triplets (2 yo) shrieked with laughter. I didn’t say anything. I was still in shock.
Henry: “Mama, are you mad?”
Mama: “No, Henry. I am very sad. Milk is for drinking. We know people who don’t have enough food, so it makes me very sad that we wasted our food. And, I have made a very similar mess in the car and I remember how long and hard I had to work to clean it.”
“I’m sorry Mama.” all four chirped.
Henry: “Mama, we can figure this out. I have a brilliant idea. We can go to the auto store and get very special cleaners. They have them there. Did you know that?”
Mama: “That is a brilliant idea Henry. Let’s try it.”
So, off to the auto store we went. We took inventory of all the areas to be cleaned in the car before we trooped inside. I’m pretty sure a middle age women with four toddlers is not their usual customer profile. Henry went right up to the counter and leaned on it with one arm, tilting his head toward the store clerk.
Henry: “Excuse me sir. We made a pretty big mess and we need some supplies to clean it up. We spilled milk in the car, a lot of milk, on our car seats, on the carpet, on the windows, on the roof, and on the doors. We spilled it on ourselves, too, but we can take baths later. What have you got?”
The store clerk held it together pretty well while he helped us select our items. Then, off to the self-serve car wash where we would have lots of room to clean both the inside and the outside of the car.We did lots of experiments (which cleaner works best on which surface), and challenges (who can reach the furthest underneath the seat), and just plain practicing curiosity about others’ experiences (Alexandra and Mama clean mostly using their lefts hands – everyone else uses their right hands, George is not afraid of dead snakes, Victoria likes cleaning the window and then making fresh hand prints on it, Henry is quite a spokesperson – explaining what happened to people passing by and inviting them to help.)
When we finally finished, we turned on the radio and did a happy dance.
Henry: “Mama, sometimes, when there is a really big mess, we all just need to get in there and clean it up. That’s what people do.”