#14 Don’t take everything so seriously. Sometimes we have opportunities to have a little fun with our children. And that’s okay. It’s beneficial, even. Proverbs 15:13: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful . . .”
My sweet, innocent two-year-old (who probably thought the world of his mother) screamed in horror and clawed his way backward across the couch, yelling, “No, poopies! OH, NO! POOPIES!” I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t finish the joke. Oh, the things we do for our own amusement sometimes. Of course, then I had to give him a little speech about how it was really just pudding, and we don’t eat real poopies, just in case. (I’m twisted, I know! But he loves hearing that story to this day! Laughs so hard that he cries.)
#15 You won’t just do crazy things with your kids, but you’ll do crazy things for your kids. The yard directly behind ours is a complete mass of vicious, monster, black raspberry vines which have crawled over into our yard. Surrounding them like a barricade (on our side of the property line) are these horrible, mutant weeds which are (no joke) twelve-feet tall and form a thicket so bad that there isn’t the tiniest bit of a path to get through to the raspberries.
One super-hot day in the middle of the summer, I fought a massive army of mosquitoes to get a few berries from the outermost edges. A tiny handful was all I could do. I had donated enough blood to the bugs and vines! I brought them inside, and gallantly presented them to Ryder and Hunter. Well, they loved the berries so much that I felt this incredible urge to do everything I could to make sure that they had as many of them as I could possibly get my hands on. And so I prepared for battle!!
So, it’s like ninety degrees outside, the mosquitoes are hungry and the raspberry vines are just plain mean! I put on the thickest pair of black jeans that I had and a hooded gray sweatshirt to protect my arms. Then I pulled the hood up over my baseball cap and tightened it around my face to keep the bugs off. If they were bad at the edge of the “jungle,” I can only imagine how bad they would be deep inside of it.
I headed to the backyard with a measuring cup, hacked my way through the weeds, and literally disappeared into the jungle. And there I was, completely bundled up in the sweltering heat, “stealing” the berries at the property line. But I wasn’t in there for more than two minutes before little mosquito brains went, Oh, fresh meat! And they began systematically devouring my flesh with massive, razor-sharp teeth. (I didn’t know mosquitoes had teeth like that.)
I began to suffocate on the bugs . . . and I had to get out of there fast! But I had precariously tiptoed this way and that to get through the weeds and to avoid the nasty thorns on the vines, so there was no way to get out fast. I had to carefully maneuver around to find the hidden path, slowly moving one foot at a time to avoid getting more entangled. And all the while, I’m furiously swatting bugs from my legs and face and yelling, “No! Get away from me! Get back, you terrible beasts!” And the faster I try to move and swat, the more entangled I become in the vines.
Eventually, with scratches and welts, I emerge from the weeds carrying my precious one cup of pilfered berries. And as I’m scurrying back to the house, with the tip of my nose being the only flesh visible on this scalding day, it suddenly dawns on me, I really hope no one was watching me!
For all I knew, my neighbors were on their back porch enjoying their cup of coffee and watching the crazy lady in the burglar-gear fight the bugs and thorns as she stealthily and strenuously tried to gather as many berries as possible over the yard line, without technically crossing into the other person’s yard. And I’d always be known as “The Berry Burglar.” It was a long trip back to the house as I kept my head down and walked as fast as I could.
Back in the kitchen, I proudly present my gift to the boys. They, of course, gobbled them up within a minute, completely unaware that this little gift cost me my blood and my dignity! And I chuckled at myself for the next hour or two, as I avoided any eye contact with my neighbors for the rest of the day! Oh, the things we do for our children!