Becoming whole through family life. Desserts help.
My first son was running around outside with happy abandon. He was a smiley 4-year-old at the time, full of energy and heart, when I noticed he was playing with a toy gun. I didn’t know where it came from but I knew I didn’t like it. The next thing I remember was getting all emotional and then sitting at our kitchen table with the boy, the toy gun, and the husband.
We have this habit of “getting both sides of the story” when two family members disagree. With great earnestness I shared my concerns, all so legitimate in my adult mind. I was against violence. Real guns can cause real harm. A child can’t distinguish between real and toy guns. There are so many other toys to play with. On and on. My men respectfully listened to me. Then my little boy took his turn. He simply stated, “I was just playing.” He was just playing. His simple argument hit me like a ton of truth bricks.
Tending to a family is a lot of serious business. There are all the usual anxiety inducers; sickness, injury, crying, arguing, angst and toy guns enough to out-drama any movie. From the moment I became engaged to be married and especially once I became pregnant, people felt free to tell me every worst case scenario that could happen to a family. Some scenarios did unfold for us. It’s tempting to become serious, more serious, and most serious as time and tests accumulate. I was the worst offender, but no more.
I value fun and play as if I were a kid again. My favorite things to do with the family are to read aloud books like Charlotte’s Web, play card games, watch baseball, listen to music and dance to Call Me Maybe, although my kids highly recommend I not do dance in public. Being quite the martyr, there are also things I do that I don’t naturally find fun. I participate because my loved ones enjoy them, like swimming, going out to movies, playing marbles, and bowling. I really can’t bowl.
A friend of mine, Carolyn, told me years ago that, “A father’s job is to make sure the kids have fun. The mother’s job is to make sure they live to tell about it.” And it’s my job not to be a constant wet blanket or rainer on parades.
Gray Stripe Earned: It may sting to lose an argument to a child, but the truth can be fun.