Heather Duckworth hadn’t showered in four days and was completely exhausted. This is because every second of her days was consumed with caring for her 2-year-old triplets and their 4-year-old brother.
But she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
It was 14 years ago, but she distinctly remembers the “Uh, Oh” uttered by one of her boys.
She was so close to having them all in bed when chaos struck.
“I turned just in time to see blue ink spraying all over the carpet as a pen exploded in the hand of one of my triplets,” she recalls. “He squealed with delight as blue ink dripped from his hand and splattered his clean pajamas.”
And to make matters worse, the ink was bleeding into their brand new carpet.
Heather was feeling pretty defeated at this point.
“Tears of frustration stung my eyes. I was just so tired. And mad. Like really, really angry. I wasn’t mad at my son – who was as blue as a Smurf – but upset with myself for leaving that pen out where my toddler could reach it. We had only lived in this house for 6 months and now the carpet was completely ruined,” she explains.
No matter what she couldn’t get that stain out and blamed herself for leaving it within her son’s reach.
She hated that stain more than anything but eventually served as a positive reminder about the important things in life.
“The next month, my sweet son, the one who splattered blue ink all over our carpet was diagnosed with cancer. Two years later, he passed away. My son was gone, but that blue ink stain?” Heather recalls. “It was still there . . . and now . . . it was a constant reminder of my son. It was a constant reminder of my frustration over something so trivial . . . something so unimportant in the scheme of life. That blue stain was a constant reminder that life is messy, but that’s what makes it worth living.”
The reminds her to not sweat the small stuff, that “things” aren’t important but people are, and accidents to happen.
She has even grown to be thankful for that big blue stain.
“Over the years, that stain never did fade. It stayed bright blue on our tan carpet. We learned to hide it well under furniture, but every time I did some deep cleaning and moved the furniture, that stain would be there, staring back at me,” Heather said. “It would take my breath away every time I saw it, reminding me of the pain of my loss. And that stain that used to be such an eyesore and make me cry in frustration now just makes me thank God for these memories.”
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Now she doesn’t mind messes too much.
“It reminds me that life is messy. There will be spills on the kitchen floor. Goldfish dropped all over the car. Windows broken with baseballs. Laundry overflowing the baskets and dishes filling the sink. Fingerprints on the glass doors and crayons all over the table. And there will be blue ink stains on your brand new carpet,” Heather says.
“But those messes? They come from living and loving and growing and learning. They make me feel grateful. And they are a blessing in disguise. And you know what? I would have a million blue ink stains on my carpet if it meant I could have one more day with my son.”
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