On Friday morning I had two working vacuum cleaners. One upright, and one hand-held. The first one had a crack in the cord near the handle that I hadn't noticed. As I was vacuuming, the cord shorted out and a large spark followed by smoke came from the handle. I set the vacuum aside wondering if I could fix it myself, since Paul is away. Meanwhile, Qavah had the small hand-held vacuum and was doing a beautiful job vacuuming the stairs. However, at the top of the stairs, she continued vacuuming into the bathroom. In the bathroom sat Qavah's soaking tub which I hadn't yet dumped down the drain. Qavah decided to vacuum the water out of her tub. By the time I discovered what she was doing, I found the hand-held vacuum back in the storage closet dripping wet, and a huge puddle on the bathroom floor into the hallway. That vacuum didn't start up either. After questioning her, I decided that she needed a serious talk about the dangers of electricity and water, and the foolishness of using a vacuum cleaner to empty a tub of water.
After our talk, I sent her to time-out on her bed. She fell asleep and stayed that way all night. When Paul called from Sweden, I told him about what had happened. "What could she have been thinking?" I asked. "She watched me use my Shop-Vac last weekend to suction up the last of the water in the pool," he explained. I gasped and groaned, "Oh no, Paul! By vacuuming her tub water, she actually thought she was helping me!" My soul suddenly felt a rush of guilt and compassion. Paul said, "Well don't beat yourself up about it, now." But I did. After the phone call I went to see her and that's when I discovered Qavah had fallen asleep. Mommy guilt set in big time. Mommy guilt is that sort of feeling that grabs you by the throat making it hard to swallow.
A week of being both mommy and daddy wore me thin I suppose. I woke up Saturday morning and met Qavah in the hallway. She was smiling as though nothing traumatic had happened. I walked her to the bathroom for her morning bath and said, "I've been thinking about why you might have used my vacuum to empty your tub water, and I just want you to know that I love you, and that I forgive you." She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "And I was saying to myself this morning that I am going to do better thinking today!" We smiled and we hugged. If that wasn't a happy enough ending, Paul Burton rewired the upright vacuum and I finished my cleaning. The hand-held vacuum dried out overnight and now it works.
Qavah went to bed happy tonight. She thanked me for the fun day we had. She named the things she enjoyed most about the day. I reminded her that Daddy will be home very soon. Then we said her prayers together, and I kissed her goodnight. While I would like to think I won't have any more situations ahead in which I will have parenting regrets, I know that isn't possible. For Mommy guilt, there is a remedy; asking forgiveness, and then total dependence on God for His grace and mercy. For all those moms reading this blog entry, I will add on behalf of all of us, "Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers!"