Life as a parent can be summed in one word: messy. Messy rooms, messy kitchens, messy playrooms. There's always clutter, and then there are the messes that hang around. Sharpie on the walls, scuffs in paint and on hardwoods, stains on carpet. Kids are messy, and the signs of a childhood well-spent are all around. Sometimes, those stains can be more than just an eyesore. Sometimes, those stains can be a reminder, a memory, of just how inconsequential the messes are, and how precious these years can be. For one mom, a big blue carpet stain is a constant reminder of her sweet little boy.
Heather Duckworth shared her heartbreaking but important story on the Facebook page Love, Faith, & Chaos. It's the story of a bright blue stain, and the lessons she learned as a mom. One evening, in the hustle and bustle of trying to get her four boys to bed, there was an exploding pen incident. Her then 2-year-old son was holding the pen, and the ink got all over him and their brand new carpet.
Bright blue ink sprayed everywhere, leaving a big stain. They had just moved into the house 6 months prior, and now the carpet was marred forever. Heather says she yelled for her husband, who was doing the dishes. She took her now-blue son to the tub to try to scrub him clean, and her husband got started on the stain. But as much as they scrubbed and scrubbed, the stain remained. The next day, they had carpet cleaners out to the house, and despite treating the stain twice, it stayed as blue as it was the moment the ink hit the carpet.
Heather remembers feeling angry. Not at her child, who was just 2-years-old and was simply holding the pen, but at herself. She says, "I was so disappointed every time I looked at that stain – it was just so ugly, a striking contrast against our tan carpet. And no matter what we did, that stubborn stain remained. That stain made me feel embarrassed and disappointed. It made me feel angry and it made me feel like such a failure for leaving out the pen where my young son could reach it. That blue stain was just a big fat negative in my life. I hated it."
Just two months after the blue ink incident, her sweet little boy was diagnosed with cancer. After a two-year battle, he sadly passed away. Heather and her husband lost their darling little boy 12 years ago, but that blue stain? Well, that blue stain remains.
In her post, Heather says the stain is a constant reminder of her son. Over the years, the stain didn't fade at all. They hid it well with furniture, and every time she caught a glimpse of it, it took her breath away. A reminder of the past, of her son, of a time when a stain seemed to matter.
Heather's story is a reminder that these little messes? They're all a part of this. They happen, they will always happen, but they don't matter. For every broken lamp, or stained carpet, or ruined couch, there is a memory of something better, of a moment in time we may not think we want to remember, but will come to look back on and cherish. Says Heather, "I would have a million blue ink stains on my carpet if it meant I could have one more day with my son." We all would, if given the chance.