Once upon a time there was a mother with five lively children. The children were ages six, four, three, two and one. The mother was pregnant and tired, but she loved her children with all of her heart.
One bright, sunny summer morning she decided to take her five children on a hike through their property to pick blackberries. This young mother had dreams of being just like Laura Ingalls. The mother and her five children marched past the plum trees and past the chickens pecking about in their coop. The nearby creek bubbled happily. They walked through the tall grass with buckets and bowls in search of plump, juicy berries.
The children picked the berries, gorging themselves with the delicious fruit. No matter that more ended up in their mouths than in their containers. The sun was shining, the fruit was plentiful and life was good.
Back they hiked to the house, tired but happy. Just as they placed their overflowing bowls of blackberries on the table the phone rang. The mother answered the phone and found it was her mother….The young mother walked into the living room away from her happy, noisy children so she could talk to for a few moments.
Minutes passed and the mother smiled contentedly, taking note of how quiet her children were being. “They are finally learning!” she thought. “All those lessons and lectures about being quiet while Mama is on the phone is paying off. I am so proud of my children“.
The young mother finished her conversation and went into the dining room to congratulate her children on their fine behavior and tell them how proud they were.
Nothing could have prepared the young mother for the scene that met her eyes. Blackberries. Everywhere. On the walls, dripping down like a fruity crime scene. Purple-black foot prints from one end of the dining room to the other. Hand prints on the walls, the tables, their faces. Even their montessori-themed prepared environment was covered with dripping, pulpy fruit.
Without a word the young mother washed up five purple-stained children and sent them to their rooms. The children, knowing they had just tested their mother to very limit of her sanity, marched off quietly and sat on their beds.
The young mother surveyed the mess slowly. She was tired. It had already been a long day of meals and dishes, diapers and discipline and now she had at least an hour of hard labor and scrubbing ahead of her. As her eyes took in the scene, they fell upon her espresso machine.
The young mother walked over and made herself a rich, creamy mocha. She tiptoed her way around clumps of congealing blackberries into her living room where the purple carnage was out-of-sight. She flicked on the radio and sat down with her hot drink, taking the time to nurture her soul and refuel herself. When she had swallowed the last sweet sip, she sighed and got up.
Refreshed, if not exactly re-engergized, she tackled the mess. She scrubbed and mopped and added a huge mound of purple laundry to the already immense pile awaiting her attention. She threw out gallons of fresh blackberries, now mixed with dirt.
When the mess was cleaned up, she gather her children, told them never to do that again, and read them a story.
Several spots of blackberry remained on the wall as long as they lived in that house, a tangible reminder of a very bad day when the young mother made at least one good decision. The decision not to yell at her children, but to clean up the mess and move on.
That, my friends, is a true story.