Yesterday my four year-old daughter Mia spilled her milk. Three times. Three. Times. In one day.
The first spill was a full cup backhanded by a mermaid tail that had no business whatsoever of being at the table during lunch. The second spill was an ill-advised play tea cup full of milk given to her at snack by her older sister, a co-conspirator with a long rap sheet, my seven year-old daughter, fellow milk spiller Mazey. And the third and final spill was an overly enthusiastic cheers at dinner with our one year-old Delaney, just getting started on her milk spilling career. Mia’s grip wasn’t where it needed to be. Delaney had more oomph than Mia was expecting. The accuracy and angle. I could write more. Complicated sentences with physics terms like “center of gravity.” But I won’t.
Instead, it’s time to examine with fresh eyes the wise, age-old saying, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk.” Which is true. Once it’s spilled, or spilt, it’s spilled. What good is crying going to do? Crying won’t clean it up or get it back in the cup. In fact, the tears will only add to the total surface area of wetness.
On the second spill, crying doesn’t help much either. For one thing, the tears are already pent up, so it’s going be more like bawling, which is not a good look for a forty year-old male that needs to show strength at all times to his three daughters. Sniffling, though, while you are squeezing out a dish towel already soggy and smelling faintly sour from the first spill, I found, did help a little. Just a little quiet shuddering sniffle that originated deep in my core. Nobody heard it. It helped. It did. There’s sense in that.
On the third spill, the saying is clearly inaccurate and misguided. Thanks to thirty whole seconds of research, I was able to glean that the saying is at least 350 years old when some guy in the 1650’s said “no weeping for shed milk.” It is possible that he is referring to milk that is stored in a shed, and that if you weep, you don’t get any. But it is more likely that this confirms my original thinking: that for much of human civilization a child would not receive three cups of milk in a day, so that spilting or shedding three times would not even be conceivable. Therefore, I would like to start a new phrase that could easily last a few hundred years, assuming milk in some form remains plentiful.
“On the thrice shedding of milk, weeping doth good.”