Last Friday was my birthday. It was a typical Erev Shabbos, actually more relaxed since we were invited out for lunch (shout out to my favorite next door neighbors!:).
After I clean up on Friday on the main floor, I usually stand at the bottom of the stairs, take a few deep breaths and attempt to arm myself with patience. I do this because I am aware that when you send five or six kids upstairs to shower or bathe themselves, you are going to be met with a mess. Usually a very large, very wet mess. So, like every other Friday, I trekked upstairs about a half an hour before Shabbos armed with saintly amounts of patience.
As I peeked into the "kids'" bathroom, I once again girded my proverbial loins. It was worse than usual. There was about an inch of water on the floor; books, toilet paper, shoes were ruined. The bathmat and clothes left on the floor (do you know just how many clothes are left on the floor in a family of eight on Friday afternoon?) were all soaked. I was mad, but managed to clean it up and keep my cool when I was told it was *mostly* N. Can't blame big kids when little ones decide to chuck everything overboard into the tub.
That took me 15 minutes, and I only had about 15 minutes until shabbos to shower and get ready. Still doable for me, I'm always the last shower, I would just have to hurry.
But then... I entered... the scene of the crime. I went into my bedroom, and without getting too dramatic I was seriously worried that someone was lying wounded somewhere in the house. My beautiful (expensive!) baby blue comforters were both (remember, we have two full size beds) covered in...blood. Yes, blood.
Now, not the pools of blood type, but huge big stains of blood seriously covering my blankets, sheets, pillows, and...wait for it... there was even blood on the walls. No, I am not exaggerating, and yes, after making sure everyone was still alive and not slowly ebbing away somewhere I cried. Long and hard I cried.
We narrowed it down to two very guilty looking culprits who "did not realize" they were both (!) bleeding from recent cuts on their feet from a hike they had just returned from. For some reason unbeknownst to me and all humankind they decided to jump long and hard from bed to bed before their baths. And the wall? "I don't know, I think we were kicking the wall...?"
After a big speech by both Imma and Abba re: Caring About Other People's Property and Being Responsible for Your Actions I kicked them out of my room and started laughing. It was a scary high-pitched maniacal laugh, while BAW looked on nervously (presumably to make sure I wasn't going to jump off the mirpeset with just a few moments till shabbos to spare). The truth is I had no such thoughts, but the fact that my bed just looked like a dog had given birth on it or a young chicken had been recently slaughtered in my bedroom kind of struck me as funny.
This story ends relatively well. Somehow most of the blood is not noticeable after a good washing. At least it doesn't look like blood anymore. I'm hoping to get them in the machine a few more times and see if I can totally get it out. Why not just flip them over? Im glad you asked. Because on the other side is original artwork by N, in black permanent marker -- duh!
Hopefully, I'll remember the chocolate cake baked by my loving children, and decorated with an unnatural amount of frosting and sprinkles as well as the beautiful and sweet homemade signs and cards. But I'm pretty sure I'll remember this particular birthday *present* for years to come.