Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Ruination of a Great Hymn

Having just finished the sermon, our pastor stepped down off the stage last Sunday and our music director stepped up to lead the congregation in a closing hymn. We often sing a carefully chosen great hymn of the faith to close our service which provides an opportunity to reflect on what we have just heard.

As the words of “He Leadeth Me” appeared on the screen and the music started, a different set of words flooded my head. These were the words that I had come up with one day after church 15 years ago poking fun at the “burden” of my new wife and the “years of turmoil” that I was now facing. I focused hard on the words on the screen trying to suppress both the counterfeit words and the broad smile that was brewing in me. When I thought I had myself under control, I stole a glance at CrazyMom four kids away. Seeing her losing the battle against a smile as our eyes caught each other caused me to start to lose the war raging on my own face and I quickly turned back to focus on the words of the screen.

I was young and naïve back then. How could I have known that the alternate set of words that I came up with that day would be more prominent in our minds than the real words until this day? Needless to say, the intended effect of the closing hymn was lost on me that day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who Dunnit?

There are a lot of great things about having a large family, but one thing that drives me nuts is how difficult it is to figure out who dunnit.

For example, we have an intermittent toilet flusher in our home. It does not take a rocket scientist to determine who did not flush the toilet in a single-child family, but in larger families finding culprits can be a challenge. The other day I found an unflushed toilet and with minimal investigation I was able to determine the gender of the culprit. Marching into the room where the three boys were playing, I started my FBI-approved child interrogation techniques. They all denied that they had dunnit and would have implicated another brother if given the opportunity. Now it is a little harsh to say that one of my boys was lying. Whoever dunnit probably thinks that they did actually flush the toilet which is why they can so convincingly say that they are innocent and pass my internal lie detector test.

It is not just the boys, however. My mother has made for the girls bunches of these decorative hair doohickeys. Now Anna normally wears them but the other girls will sometimes use them as well. I guess the idea is that you need lots and lots of them in every shade of every color so that you can find the perfect one to match your outfit. Pretty crazy, I know.

Anyway, they were getting lost. CrazyMom would go to get Anna dressed in the morning and not be able to find the perfect matching doohickey. The obvious culprits are the older girls, but of course, they all insist that they always put them back in Anna’s room.

Stuff like this – someone not doing what they are suppose to do and you not knowing who it is – can get under your skin. I am supposed to be parenting my kids and training them to be responsible but I can’t figure out which kid needs trained. The dangerous thing is that I can start having negative feelings about suspected culprits. I mean, come on. We all know who is not flushing the toilets. And the hair doohickeys, well I will give you a hint – Miss Bookworm never wears any frilly things in her hair.

But in America it is innocent until proven guilty and I need to learn to do the same in my own home. The disappearing hair doohickey situation is a good reminder. We finally found the culprit; it was Patches, our cat.

Here is a photo of Miss Bookworm with Patches after she happened upon Patches’ secret stash of hair doohickeys under the couch.