How often do you wash your kitchen floor? I mean, really clean them. Not just run-the-Swiffer-over-them clean, or kind-of-sweep-them clean, but on-your-hands-and-knees-hot-and-soapy-water clean?
Rarely, if I'm being honest. But I would like to tell you about how it came about that I washed my floors like that on Christmas Eve morning.
Faithful readers here may recall that months ago I promised a series of blog posts, one inspirational and one funny. The inspirational one has been posted: today's is the funny one. (That was your prompt and licence to laugh at me with great vigor!).
Imagine with me, if you will, what a typical Christmas Eve morning is like. As I see it, there are two options. It can be an idyllic, quiet, contemplative time around the tree, with hot apple cider in one hand, Bible in the other, and good snacks (post-delicious brunch, of course) always in easy reach. The children are contentedly playing, loving on one another with the compassion of Mother Theresa, the housework and gift-making are caught up, and the Roast Beast is simmering in a red wine flavoured broth preparing for a magical, culinary experience. We are patiently, yet breathlessly awaiting the candle-light service at the church. The children all say, "Santa who?" and instead prepare cards and gifts for the birth of Christ the King. All is right with the world.
That is option one. That was not our reality this year.
Christmas Eve was a Thursday in 2009, as you may recall. That is only significant in that my daughter's flyer route needs to be worked on Thursdays. Only. Period. Wednesday or Friday delivery of flyers constitutes grounds for immediate dismissal. Thursday morning it is.
Plus, this was the year that I jumped back into the world of "Church Drama" and was preparing for the second night of Christmas Plays. Let's just sum that up by saying my brain is not as sharp as it was 7 children and 11 years ago! Hello, Memory? Anyone home? Right. Didn't think so.
Plus, this was the year our church jumped back into the world of "Choir", which is such a highlight for me that I may need to do an entire post on choir someday. This required me to go through an intense period of humbling as I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, hairbrush in hand (to my mouth, of course), repeatedly asking myself if I have any clue how to sing!
Plus, this was the year that I decided to be a mock-athelete and began running for the first time since the boys in the playground were throwing rocks at me.
Plus, this was the year that I thought I should really try to sew some lovely bags for some people I love as gifts. Like my Grandma. Who I would be seeing tomorrow. Whose bag I hadn't started yet. Oops.
And so it was, that I was in a very happy place that Christmas Eve morning doing a lot of things I loved and enjoyed, but found my mind a wee distracted...
The whole gang of us piled in to the van first thing in the morning, and delivered my eldest's 95 flyers, in record time, glad for the nice weather. Then we came home to realize the basement was about to be declared a national emergency site due to the unusually large amount of toys strewn around. So here I am in the kitchen, beginning lunch, barking orders for the basement to be cleaned, kissing my husband who just came home from his morning at the office, putting the baby down for his nap, and thinking the breakfast dishes should be washed, and then thinking I should go and check on the cleaning efforts in the basement.
As I go down to check on the basement overhaul, I realize that my physical presence there with them may be the thing to speed their endeavor, and so I sit and check email. It is in the email that my fate was sealed, I believe. My lovely friend, Kristina who I love, sent me a link to a stunning video of Celtic Woman singing "O Holy Night". Stunning. I sat spell-bound for the 5 minutes of vocal bliss. My bliss was radically, sharply, disasterously ended by my 8 year old's cherubic voice, innocently asking me, "Mommy, what is that water?"
Water? What water? And so I look in to the (praise the Lord) unfinished part of our basement to see water, no sheets of water, falling, pouring, gushing out of my duct work. Did I say gushing? I meant flooding. Rapidly. And spreading fast. Now there is a leak over our freezer. Now it is coming out over the laundry area.
My dear husband is wondering if a pipe froze and burst. "Where is this water coming from?" he cries? "Go make sure everything is off while I shut of the main!"
And my dear oldest daughter says, "Mom! I saw you turn on the kitchen sink!" She flies up the stairs to turn off the kitchen sink, but before she can reach the faucet she falls squarely on her heiny. The water has flooded the counter, and spilled, hot and soapy, all over the kitchen floor. Should I remind the gentle reader here that we have porcelain tiles in our kitchen? Mental note to self: porcelain tiles + hot, soapy water = ice rink.
So as 7 children are screaming "GET MORE TOWELS!!" and "EMPTY THE GARBAGE PAILS TO CATCH THE WATER!!!" I am trying to remember when exactly I turned the sink on. Clearly, somewhere in the "I thought I should wash the breakfast dishes" moment, I actually plugged the sink, squirted in the soap, and turned the tap on full hot.
And now I am sitting on the floor, sopping up water from the inside of my cabinets, and the drawers and the entire kitchen counter, trying really hard not to say out loud any of the names I'm calling myself in my head because there are 14 little eyes and ears watching and listeing to see how mom reacts in a crisis.
At one point, my 8 year old who is notorious for saying the funniest things without trying to be funny, is in a full out fit worrying about how this is going to play out, says with great fervor, "And Mom, this better not become a Facebook Status, because this is *NOT* funny!"
Soon, the basement is dried up, the kitchen is dried up, my husband is reassuring the 8 year old that the house is fine, and sound, and no damage done. I am hiding in the garage, giving full vent to all the pent up rage and self-disgust I previously held inside. I hear my husband's loving voice ask one of the girls, "Where's your mom?" and I get the courage to come in and dry my eyes on his shirt collar. He is half laughing at me, half consoling me. I need both to get through this.
I figured I had ruined Christmas Eve. What happened instead was my kids saw that even "the best mom in the world" makes stupid mistakes, which gives them the freedom to try and fail too. And my kitchen floor got "on-your-hands-and-knees-hot-and-soapy-water clean".
All in all, it was the perfect Christmas Eve morning.