The Sad Tale of the Broken Lamp

It started off as a normal morning – but an early one.

Rerun was woken up by the garbage truck outside a full half hour earlier than he normally gets up.  Groggily, I got up (the Webmaster was in the shower or he would have probably brought him to me), and brought Rerun back into bed with me so I could nurse him.  I only need to be semi-conscious for that.

He was finished, and I was hitting the snooze button on my cell phone while letting climb all over me, when I heard the unmistakable sound of breaking glass, and then a ear-splitting shriek.  “TAD!!!”

I quickly picked Rerun up and bounced out of bed to find a sobbing Ane in the hallway, followed by a sobbing Tad.  The Webmaster ran out of the bathroom to find out what had just happened.

And there was Ane’s bedside lamp, a purple glass one from IKEA, her Christmas present from Best-Babysitter, in shards all over her bed.

The story, as pieced together through the hysterics and the evidence at the scene, was this:
After I had taken Rerun out of the boys’ room, Tad, apparently awakened by the combined racket of the garbage truck and baby brother, decided to take a few books, his bunny and blunkly, and climb into Ane’s bed with her.  Ane was fast asleep (she can sleep through almost anything), but Tad decided that he needed to read.  So he reached for the cord switch on Ane’s lamp to turn it on.  Apparently, he pulled the cord toward him, which pulled the lamp off her dresser, which hit the frame of Ane’s daybed on its way down, and… Ane woke up in a bed of shattered purple glass and a shocked little brother holding the proverbial bag (in this case, the cord).

Accident?  Yes.  Did that make anyone feel better?  Nope, not a bit.

Tad was sent to his room, Ane and Rerun were sent to watch TV in the living room and stay out of Mom and Dad’s way.  I collected the big shards of glass while the Webmaster got the hand-held vacuum cleaner.  Then I spent the next 20 minutes vacuuming, stripping Ane’s bed, and vacuuming some more while Tad sobbed in his room, Ane got dressed for school, and Rerun watched Curious George.

I did manage to get Ane’s lunch made and packed, and then got her out to the bus stop on time.  She was lamenting her lamp, which she loved because Best-Babysitter gave it to her and because it was purple, and calling down doom upon her brother, who she firmly believes is out to ruin her life in moments like these.  She also made me promise to text Best-Babysitter and tell her what happened, so the blame could be firmly laid at Tad’s feet and not hers.

By the end of the day, Ane had been given a lampshade (returnable if we don’t find an appropriate lamp) by Little Mo’s mom, had been offered a shopping date by Best-Babysitter to go and find a new lamp, a clean bed with fresh sheets and a washed comforter (to make sure all the itty bitty glass shards were gone), and plenty of sympathy.

However, she wants Tad’s blood.  Or his money to buy a new lamp.  She doesn’t care which.

Sadly, she will probably get neither.  Tad was in plenty of trouble, but that’s the thing about an accident – it’s really no one’s fault. And with Tad, taking his money is a consequence he will neither understand nor appreciate.  It’s been almost 24 hours and I can pretty much promise you that he has forgotten about breaking Ane’s lamp.

This is one of those moments when I realize with such clarity how unfair certain things are always going to be for Ane.  The consequences she understands are not ones that Tad understands.  She frets over how he is disciplined, because she wants to see him treated the same way that she is.

Life is not fair.  Their comprehension levels are completely different.  Ane understands this on an intellectual level, but intellect fails when you wake up to the sound of breaking glass over your head.  She just wants Tad to be in trouble.

I just want her to learn to let things go, and not build up resentment over the incidents like this that are certain to occur for years to come.  And I know that I will need wisdom beyond my own to get her to that point.

I wish things were different too, Ane.  I wish that your lamp was still in one piece.  I wish Tad could understand consequences the way you do.  I wish so many things for him.  But what I really wish, really really wish, is that you will learn to have enough grace to deal with your life with your brother.  For your sake, for his sake, for all our sakes.  Please learn to forgive him.

2 Responses to “The Sad Tale of the Broken Lamp”

  1. Ressis
    June 15th, 2011 13:19

    Sorry to hear about Ane’s lamp. But, you know, if she keeps the mentality of “someone is to blame, someone must pay,” she’d make one cut-throat attorney or insurance claims adjuster. I’m just saying. . .

  2. Nana
    June 16th, 2011 07:08

    What a wakeup call! You two handled it well. I too pray she will forgive. Seems we all take turns making mistakes.