She was using those itty bitty Perler beads, those tiny little meltable beads that you place onto tiny little pokes and later iron to melt them into one another to make a plastic form.
She made this gorgeous butterfly, with all-white wings, sprinkled only with bright dots of colors. She carefully chose each color, picking them out of their separate bins, separated not so much by individual colors, but color families, if that makes sense. Of thousands of beads at her disposal, she knew exactly which one she wanted exactly where.
It was beautiful, or would be as soon as we ironed it.
Of course, as it happens, life gets in the way. And we set it aside, on top of the shadow box that holds our DVD player, the video game consoles and the cable box. We'd iron it tomorrow, we'd say, time and time again.
About a week ago, I was playing fetch with Mustang. I was tossing his toy and not paying attention...
(You can see where this is going.)
One errant throw and, whoosh, the butterfly flew -- into hundreds of pieces as the beads scattered throughout the living room.
My heart skipped a beat. Mustang ran and hid.
I closed my eyes and softly called Lola's name, walking toward her bedroom, bracing for her tears and preparing for her meltdown. She'd asked so many times, when was I going to iron her butterfly, when would it be complete? Why had I never found the time? Why did I have time to play with the dog and not iron out her masterpiece?
Silently berating myself, I blinked back a few tears as I slowly told her what I'd done.
I'd barely finished when I noticed her smile.
"It's OK, Mommy," she laughed. "It's not like it's the only time in the whole world when I could do it. I can make another one another day. It's not like you did it on purpose. It was just an accident."
And she gave me a hug and offered to help me clean up the living room.
Grace. I'm learning grace from my 6-year-old daughter.
Last night, after a long, full weekend. The girls were in the living room having a little TV time while I took a few moments to regroup.
Suddenly, Lola was bawling. Full-out bawling.
She ran into the doorway, sobbing so hard I could hardly make out her words.
"Accident -- sorry -- my arm slipped -- everywhere!" she wailed.
Her cheeks bright pink, her eyes sopping wet, I got her calmed down enough to tell me what had happened.
She was making another beading creation, another perler bead design. This time an intricate heart.
Her arm slipped -- and the heart fell, along with the package containing thousands -- and I do mean thousands -- of those danged beads. And they went everywhere.
She started crying again, apologizing again, saying she was so sorry, that she hadn't meant to make such a mess, that her arm had just slipped.
I smiled and asked her, "Lola, what did you tell Mommy when she accidentally destroyed your butterfly?"
"I don't know," she sobbed.
Calming her down a bit more, I asked her again, What had she said to me just a week or so ago?
She replied, taking deep breaths in between each word, "I -- said -- it -- was -- OK, that -- I -- knew -- it -- was -- an -- accident."
"And that's what Mommy is going to say to you," I said kindly. "Mommy made an accident and you taught me all about being a good friend. And now you had an accident and I want to be a good friend to you too. I'm not mad. It's OK."
Working together, we cleaned up all those stupid little beads. She got the bulk of them into the bowl and I spent a good twenty minutes digging them out of hiding within the shag carpet.
Grace. We're all learning about grace.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
- Bethany :)