They were like raindrops on paper, nearly undetectable with a simple glance. Right there in the middle of my pillow, forced through the sheet were five nail brads.
Don't react, I told myself. It's only the most sacred of places where I lay my head after the children have been awake all the livelong day and are finally perfect- as in asleep. But don't panic.
I called my son upstairs because let's face it, girls don't randomly want to puncture furniture with sharp objects. Very often.
"Um," I said pointing to the nightmare before me. "Were you mad or what made you want to do this?"
"All right so what's up?"
"I don't know."
Wildly insufficient right now, Sir. "What were you mad about?"
"Always having to do stuff I don't want to do."
"I get that. I don't like doing stuff I don't like too. Actually I'm frustrated right now so should I go cut up your favorite ball cap?"
"No." His voice cracked just a bit as the pieces of understanding started to fall together. "But the girls told me to do it."
Yeah, no. "Let's come up with better ways to be angry." And by the way you don't get candy, well, ever again.
It's not even this civilized sometimes. In the four weeks since they've been out of school I've already found myself not wanting to parent several times. A day. I get into a pattern of trying to manage them apart from me instead of engaging. It becomes a chant.
"Don't touch that."
"Get down. Settle down. Slow down."
"Take that out of your mouth."
"Why did you hit her, cut those, carve this..."
To which they say, "I'm about to pull down my pants so you better get out of my room!"
These aren't the kinds of coping skills I'm modeling for them, I assure you. Hilarious though it may be.
Last night I did one of those desperate pleas to my husband: "I beg of you. Please. I must get coffee. Alone." They weren't sentences, just a series of gasps. I took with me a book that had radically changed my approach to parenting when I first read it, and my own understanding of God's view of us.
"I think a Father's job, when it's done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children's lives, and whisper, 'Where do you want to go?'
God asks what it is He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 'Let's go do that together." -Bob Goff, Love Does
This comes from a chapter where Mr. Goff describes taking all three of his kids on an adventure when they turned ten. It's a dramatic act of whimsy that celebrates thinking outside of schedules and preparation. Literally, he and his daughter leave for Europe a week after she suggests she'd like to sip tea in the fashion of royalty.
When I got home I snuggled between my oldest two and draped my daughter's legs over my own while we watched Harry Potter. Imaginary worlds and heroism in the face of evil- past bedtime? Let's do this together.
"...when Jesus invites us on an adventure, He shapes who we become with what happens along the way." -Bob Goff