Crying Over Spilled Cheerios
"Mommy, cheerios all gone!" Corbett whines to me from the backseat of my car while pointing to the remainder of his cup of Cheerios spilled all over the floor.
"Yes hunny." I calmly reply, "The Cheerios are all gone because you dumped them onto the floor, while laughing about making a mess. This means you don't have any more to eat until we get to Grammy's!" My response is immediately followed by wails and complaints of needing more Cheerios NOW.
As simple and frequent as this conversation between my almost-two year old and I may be, this specific occasion got me thinking. Why is it that human nature tends to only appreciate things once they are gone? My son had an entire cup of Cheerios but it wasn't until he could no longer access them that he realized how much he wanted to eat them. As a former preschool teacher, I've witnessed on one-too-many occasions a toddler find no value in a toy until another child picks it up to play with it. Cue the soap opera-fit tantrum and desperate screams of "that's mine!".
My toddler is a great reminder to me of the basic mind-set of humans, with no exception to adult humans. I, too, am guilty of not appreciating something until I no longer have it. My husband, for example. Yes, I can be the typical nagging wife every now and then....particularly one certain time a month. My internal accusations go off in my head with the "he never helps around the house" and "I know he's only pretending not to smell that poopy diaper". Now, for the sake of not making myself sound like a total drag of a wife, I know my husband does a lot for us and I love him with my whole heart, but it's almost impossible not to get these resentful feelings from time to time when you are in any kind of partnership, especially a marriage.
At the risk of sounding totally pathetic and dependent on my husband- I will admit to you that my whole world was turned upside down this past week while my husband went on an informative farm tour in Texas with a group of farmers. Before his trip, there were times when I would put my headphones on, longing for some alone time and wishing my husband would stop asking me so many questions. While Alex was gone to Texas, I deplored myself for those days of longing to be alone. I missed him so terribly, it felt like depression. Some upsetting things were going on at work, and I felt like it was the end of the world! When Alex is around, I know that I can handle any problem thrown at me because I have him standing by my side no matter what. With him being gone, every minor problem felt like my world was shattering; I caved in to my anxieties, having more than one panic attack. The problems that I was getting upset over were work-related, but in reality I know that the gravity of the situation would have been lessened if I had my supportive husband home to talk to about it. Why didn't I appreciate my Cheerios before they were dumped all over the floor?
Because 'absence makes the heart grow fonder', I also believe that God allows bad things to happen for the sake of teaching His children to appreciate the good. How could He let our loved ones go through pain and suffering? How could God allow us to lose people whom we love with all our hearts? Well, can you imagine what humans would be like if we didn't have the threat of mortality looming over our heads? We would probably be very mean to each other, knowing that we would have endless opportunities to 'take it back' and ask for forgiveness. If anybody could get into any college they wanted, would it even be exciting for an applicant to receive that Harvard acceptance letter? Would they even have the motivation to give something their all? The possibility of failure is what makes success feel that much more invigorating! My husband being gone for 5 days is what makes him being home that much more special.
I want to make a point to appreciate the things in my life that seem like a given. I know that my mom is going to cook our lunch this Sunday, like she always does, but I want to remind myself that some people my age don't have a mom to cook for them. Heck, there are many people that may not even get a Sunday lunch at all because they don't have the means to afford it. I appreciate the little reminders that God gives us to ensure we don't take our blessings for granted. I encourage you also, to savor your Cheerios before they're "all gone".
© 2017 Sarah Grace