April Jeppson: What Jarritos bottles taught me at 8 p.m.
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
I knew something was up when both my daughters were in the bathroom at 8:24 p.m.
Not only should they be sleeping by now, but they never use the bathroom together. I could hear whispering and plotting. I waited outside the bathroom for them. As they came out, they seemed shocked to see me standing there. I could see they had glass bottles poorly hidden behind their backs. These were the bottles they just had to keep from the little Mexican store in downtown — from a Wind Down Wednesday last summer.
They scurried to their room, and I promptly called after them to come out and talk to me. When they came back, their hands no longer held the Jarritos bottles. Upon further questioning, they retrieved the bottles they filled with water. They were thirsty and couldn’t find anything else for them to drink out of. My 6- and 9-year-old thought it was a good idea to bring these capless bottles filled to the brim with water into their bedroom to use if they got thirsty in the middle of the night.
I could see that my oldest was afraid she was in trouble. I could see her eyes starting to well up. She is such a sweet soul. Just earlier that day she was the only one of my three children who willingly helped decorate our Christmas tree. She was the only one who offered to clean up the living room before we started. She is kind to her classmates and hates having attention brought on her. The thought that she made a bad choice and was about to get in trouble for it — well, it was almost too much for her to bear.
I smiled at my girls as I told them to give me the bottles. I told them they weren’t in trouble but explained the possible outcomes of their poorly thought out decision. I let them take a few sips of their fancy homemade beverages and then sent them to bed empty handed. I told them I loved them and all was right with the world again.
I looked right at my husband as the girls went to bed and laughed. What could possibly go wrong in a messy, pitch-black bedroom with two large glass bottles filled to the top with water and no lids. I just shook my head and giggled.
Parenting is a trip. Fifteen years ago, I thought I was smart. I thought I had it together. I was teaching classrooms of 19-year-olds. I felt like I was parenting all of them half the time — how much harder could my actual children be? I had no idea. Heck, if I was presented with the situation I just went through just 10 years ago, I would have handled it much differently. I probably would have yelled. I would have been so irate that my children were going to make such a dumb choice. I would not have handled it well.
As I laughed about the proceedings, I was also reminded how quickly they grow up. I have perspective that I didn’t have years ago. I see that the poor decisions my daughters made could be a teaching opportunity to hopefully avoid a few poor choices in the future. I also hope they see that even when they make a bad choice, they can still come to me. I’m not going to yell at them, just redirect and guide them to hopefully make a better decision in the future. I mean, that’s the best we can do as parents, isn’t it? Just guide and love and pray for the best.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.
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