Emma Claire, combing through her hair had looked up at me and said (as if to start in the middle of a conversation that wasn’t actually taking place)—
“It’s not that you’re not funny. I mean, I don’t mean to be unkind, you are funny.
It’s just that Dad’s funnier.
He lets us say funny words.
Like butt-crack. Dad found a butt-crack in Coulter’s pumpkin.
I mean, it is funny. You don’t think that’s a funny word (insert the implied but never spoken “which makes you totally lame”).
So, ya know, that’s why Dad’s just a little bit funnier.”
Yes. I know.
Dad is hysterical.
From the time Coulter was a baby (and I suspect that our family is not so different than others,) Dad got to be Fun-Dad. I would feed and clothe and play and oh! time to feed again and ooops! time to clothe again and how can that much *stuff* come out of such a little body and it’s nap time for the non-nappers and it’s book time and then—THEN— there’s this glorious 20 minutes at the end of the day, Fun-Dad comes through the door.
And it’s wrestling and tickling and tossing and—
Shoot! I can’t think of anything that rhymes with tickling.
Emma Claire continues—
“Mom, what’s that word when you have a lot of rules?”
She thinks and thinks and thinks and then it comes to her—
“Daddy’s not strict. He doesn’t have rules like you do.”
And I wonder—
What 5-year-old knows the word strict?
“You make us use manners at the table and we can’t eat on the couch and I’m not trying to be mean, mom. You are fun. It’s just that Dad doesn’t have rules.”
Coulter interrupts, ever protective of his mom. “Mom’s not strict.”
“Thank you, Coulter!”
“Yes, I am!”
But I am fun, dangit! I throw balls and I kick balls and I have an entire basement full of glitter.
A basement full of glitter? Come on! That proves I’m fun, right?
I suppose it also mean that I haven’t fully cleaned-up from last week’s pumpkin glitteratzi event but, whatever.
I am fun.
Soon after separating I blogged about the term broken family.
I emphatically denied that we were broken.
But I was wrong.
There was a break.
And there can only be so many cracks and so many breaks, and I think about those icebergs that are melting and breaking into the ocean and the shifting of the earth and I wonder what it feels like to live through an earthquake with the shaking and the breaking and the earth opens right up and threatens to swallow you whole and yes—
We were broken.
And some days I feel as though I have lived through an earthquake.
But Jesus came for the broken and several days ago I woke up with a word.
Don’t y’all love it when I get a word! 🙂
Let My word be a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path.
What’s the balance of boundaries (what Emma Claire calls rules)?
What’s too much?
What’s not enough?
Let My word—His Word be a lamp.
So, sitting around a breakfast-table full of Nutella and breadcrumbs and coloring sheets and markers (and man! I need to clean my table,) I open up His Word.
We start small.
Being thankful in all things.
It’s not mom that expects you to say thank you.
And my kids love to say b00-yaw. And I have no idea how to spell that, but when I see the glimmer in their eyes, like Oh! We can’t blame mom for that. It’s God. Well-
I have a silent little “boo-yaw” moment.
Honor your Father and Mother. Obey them in the Lord for this is right.
God has called us to honor—
Dang-it! God again!
And then I surprised them.
You know how Dad doesn’t make you say “Yes Sir?” Well, it’s because he didn’t grow up saying it. People in the Midwest don’t say it.
Coulter nods and adds. Yes, but people in the South do.
“Do you think Jesus cares if we say Yes Sir or Yes Ma’am?” I ask.
They stare into me hard. Convinced that this is a trick questions. The Sir/Ma’am thing runs deeps with the Coulter-Hale clan.
“I gotta say, I don’t think he cares.”
And if Jesus doesn’t care—
Then I don’t care.
But I do care that you honor me with your words and your actions.
I do care that you obey your Mom in the Lord for this is right.
I do care that I’ve been called to “raise you up in the way that you should go so that when you are old you will not depart from it” and so that’s what I plan to do.
Raise you up. In the Light of His Word.
Just a few short hours after getting “my word.” I open up my church bulletin and I listen to my pastor read a quote from Martin Luther.
I can’t say that I totally understood all of it. Well, actually I can say that for sure I did not understand most of it, but what I did understand—
What left me with prickly little tingles up and down my body was this. Luther says in reference to his work and the Reformation:
“I did nothing; I left it to the Word.”
Am I too strict? Am I a fun mom? The truth is, most days, I’m fairly certain I strike a perfect balance between the two.
His word is a lamp and a light and yes, I think I will do it best if I do nothing.
If I simply.
Leave it to the Word.
Several days after the I’m not funny conversation, Coulter hops into the car and he’s already laughing. Or still laughing, I suppose, because from the sound of it, the giggles had started much earlier.
“Mom!!! Bryce was reading and in Social Studies and he said ‘European Culture!’ Get it mom?”
And by now he’s doubled over.
Emma Claire is confused. I don’t get it, she wails.
Me either, Emma Claire!
“Emma Claire! It’s like over there where Paris is and where they talk British. It’s called European. Get it? You’re a peein‘!”
He is completely beside himself, laughing. And still uncertain why she’s laughing, Emma Claire joins in. And yes, even this uptight, strict ol’ Mother who hates potty words and sees absolutely nothing funny about a pumpkin with a butt-crack or a dad who would point out such a crude feature, started laughing.
Coulter says, “now that’s funny, right mom?”
You’re a peein’?
Yes, Coulter. Now that’s funny.
That’s a funny word.
And for the 5 minute commute back home, I got to be a fun mom.