I had gone to the grocery store one afternoon. This was a restock haul. About two hours after getting home, I’m sorting laundry and start thinking to myself I don’t remember putting the milk away … “Nathan do you remember me putting the milk away…you did, I just saw it in the fridge” … and I went right about my business. I had no reason to question this because I religiously throw the milk away on the best buy date. If the date occurs when we will be out of town, I throw it away the day we leave. I have never been a white milk fan. I actually got “in trouble” with my doctor while I was pregnant because I wasn’t drinking milk. We compromised and I drank Hershey’s chocolate milk my entire pregnancy!
Later that night I wanted a bowl of cereal and my son wanted cookies and milk. My cereal was delicious! His cookies and milk were delicious! The next morning my son has cereal for breakfast. I get my water out of the fridge, turn around to head out the door and I see it “October 15” … huh, Nathan I thought you said the milk was put away???!!!? I wanted to vomit. It was October 25. I think I started saying a Rosary in my head (I do this when I get really anxious). To be honest, the first few seconds are a little fuzzy because I just could not believe this happened. Dramatic, I know. Excluding my Starbucks iced drinks, I can count on one hand the number of times I consume milk in a year. We just don’t love it. But somehow we managed to consume 10 days past the best buy date milk THREE TIMES and we didn’t freaking notice.
Gross. Gross. Gross. But there’s another side to this…
The milk wasn’t bad. I reminded myself (mantra fashion) the milk obviously didn’t smell bad and our treats were delicious. So just don’t even think about it because everything is literally fine. My kiddo of course brings it up on our morning car ride. I told him straight up “look, I think you’re fine, I think I’m fine, we are not going to think about it and we’re never going to talk about this…and you can be the DJ” and he must have understood the assignment because that boy loves to talk and retell the same story over and over, and he has not brought up the milk incident one time. He’s probably waiting for baseball to start again so he can announce out of nowhere the time his mom gave him old milk. Writing this post is the first time I’m “talking” about it too.
I found the grocery bag of new milk just chillin’ in the trunk. Nobody got sick. A story with a happy ending and a mistake I will never make again. It was a moment that made me take a physical pause. But I didn’t let it consume me. I focused on the positive and didn’t dwell on the spoiled. I didn’t let the experience pester in my subconscious and pop into my thoughts randomly throughout the day. What a treat that was! Seriously, to just get over something so minuscule and not think about it incessantly for hours is something I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. A healing moment for the win! And I continued to not think about it. I didn’t think about it again until three nights later watching season 3 episode 2 of Succession (phenom show btw, just won the best series at the Globes) and Kendall says “the milk is going sour” … GAG!!! But I didn’t because it’s Succession and I focused on the positive!
Those fuzzy first few seconds after realizing we drank “bad” milk was me taking some breaths, acknowledging this did just happen, accepting this did just happen, accepting there is absolutely nothing you can do to undo what happened, and you’re gonna throw the old milk away and carry on with your very normal day. Unexpected and emotional situations make me very anxious, and my response to those situations sometimes isn’t great. I would have spiraled in panic a few years ago. I would have thought about it on a loop for days and weeks. But healing has taught me how to breathe, healing has taught me to practice calmness so I’m prepared for unexpected situations, and healing has taught me to just let it be. Everything is not a crisis. Everything doesn’t need an immediate reaction. Pause is your friend.
Take a breath (or 10), relax the nervous system, and then respond.
The best wins for me are when I am presented with an unexpected circumstance to practice my intentions. To be able to pat myself on the back and say “great job, you didn’t lose your s**t” or “congratulations self, you were not impulsive” … we all joke about it, but that’s some real-life y’all! Those are real victories for us sometimes. So as we enter this new year, if you are also on a healing journey or breaking a bad habit or learning a new skill or juggling the many hats of mom, don’t forget to look for wins in the crappy spoiled moments.
Because I bet you’re gonna find at least one!