Tears, Toilets, and Teachable Moments


Cadence and His Cherished Toy. Oh, and Cake.

And Why I am Buying My Husband a Cape.

We’d had a lovely dinner, the Southern California branch of the family herd rounded up and gathered at the endless trough of hospitality that is my-dad-and-his-bride’s-home. My sister was there with her younger boy, and Rich and I had brought seven-year-old grandson Cadence along. The food and drink were superb, the company even better than that, so we lingered, sociable-like, at the table after our meal.

I beamed when Cadence asked to be excused from the table, instead of bolting like a colt in a thunderstorm. Mannerly. 

We chatted and nibbled at the last bits on our plates, sipped at one more glass of wine, and then sudden-like I see the boy, his sweet face a reddened, tearful, twisted up billboard for devastated.

Goodness what’s wrong, Cadence? I pull him into my lap, rub his back as his shoulders heave.

I-dropped-my-Halo-figure-into-the-toilet, he wailed. 

My Lala-nerve is transmitting, so I tell him we can go get another one after church tomorrow. 

But it’s special because my friend gave it to me! he sobs.

The Greek chorus that lives in my brain jumps all over me. Consequences! they shriek. How will the boy ever learn to be responsible if you deprive him of suffering the consequences of his poor choices? This is a teachable moment!

Well. This is my grandson we’re talking about here, and he’s all broken-hearted-like so I tell that nosy, noisy chorus that today, mercy wins.

While I’m thinking of what to say next, my husband rises and leaves the table. Just a few minutes later, he returns with one sanitized Halo figure and a really, really well-scrubbed arm.

Our little grandson’s despair-rumpled face is transformed into a vision of sheer joy.

And in the teachable moment I learn one more characteristic of love: it is brave in the face of toys in toilet bowls. 

(I also learn that my husband is a bona fide hero.)

rabbit conga

So then,while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

I’m linked up over at Love Idol author Jennifer Dukes Lee’s place today. Join us?


  1. Sheila,
    This is precious…yes, your husband is a super hero and mercy always trumps..especially when it is your grandson 🙂 Blessings to you,

  2. grandpa’s are awesome… kind of like a super hero. or even better.

    • Yes, kind of like that. Or better! I vote for better because it’s really hard to find phone booths these days, and I would hate for Rich to have to find a phone booth before he could do something heroic. Thank you, Sharon.

  3. Great story, well told. Thank you.

    • Thank YOU, Diana. You know, I once dropped my jacket in the toilet and the San Diego Zoo (It was tied around my waist, and, well–I’m sure you can picture it) and nobody told me, “That’ll teach you!” or “You should have been more careful.”

      I’m thinking we shouldn’t withhold courtesy from little ones. Especially if we’d like them to learn to be courteous. Or is it compassion? Same thought, either way . . .

  4. This was just precious! May we learn to be brave & love for love wins, every. single. time. Loved this post & am so glad that I visited from Tell His Story.

  5. Oh my sweet word! This drips sweetness and preciousness. Love sunk in a toilet and triumphs.

    And some of these descriptive phrases: twisted up billboard for devastated, Lala nerve, Greek chorus in your brain… and yes, dear husband deserves a cape!

  6. Super Grandpa to the rescue!!
    This is delightful!

  7. “You have to be a REAL man to wear tights”
    – Little John

  8. Sheila, the plumber got the ‘cape’ at my son’s house right after Thanksgiving. The resident 2 year old had lodged a Thomas Train into the toilet and things were a little backed up………..all the way to the sewer main.
    Being Thanksgiving and all, the plumber cleared the pipes, retrieved the toy and told my daughter in law this visit was covered under warranty or something. (They are renters.) She hugged him and burst into tears.
    It’s the little things, isn’t it, that are very, very big sometimes.
    Great story.

  9. My father-in-law turned around and drove half an hour in the wrong direction in the pouring rain when my daughter left her beloved teddy bear “Oatmeal” behind in a hotel room while they were on vacation. she will never, ever, forget her grandpa’s act of love and compassion.

    The love of a grandparent for a grandchild. It’s a force to be reckoned with 🙂

  10. Shelia, I’m in your (in)ked group and popped over from the Friday — ah, this brought back memories. I lived in China for a while and things falling in squat pots, somehow a bit more common than in toilets. We can just leave it at that 🙂

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