Oh my word. So you've all heard the different phrases, "kids say the darndest things", "he stuck his foot in his mouth", "out of the mouth of babes" etc. Having been a Mom now for eight years, I am just beginning to pay for my raisin'. So years ago when I was about ten or twelve, my family had gone to Disney World. While we were in Orlando we stopped to see my parents old friends Lamar and Janie Lifer, who had been the pastor of the church my parents had attended as a young married couple. Mom had worked as Brother Lifer's administrative assistant for several years and knew he and his wife very well. Needless to say she was excited to get to see them again and to spend the evening catching up.
Now, here's a little background information to help you understand this story better. Brother Lifer was a Baptist minister, a very kind and godly man and my dear sweet, Mother, who is known to most people as a compliant, rule following, woman of the Word (whom I had NEVER ever seen drink alcohol--that is a fact it is not a side bar--and is the very core of this story). Well, they were thoroughly enjoying catching up on old friends and sharing fond memories of yonder year when brother Lifer said something that made my mom laugh pretty hard and he responded "Jane, I just love to hear that laugh of yours!" The story would be so perfect if it could end right there, with ole' Brother Lifer putting his arm around my mother's shoulder and them sharing a precious moment together. Oh but NO, the story can't end with just a happy rapturous moment, oh no, this ten or twelve year old know-it-all had to interject her own stupid commentary. My mother and I both wonder to this day why on God's green Earth, I had to open my mouth, but I did. And here's what I said, ya ready for this, "Oh, Brother Lifer, if you think she's laughing hard now, you should've seen her last night when she was drinking her margarita!"
Really? Seriously? Did I just say that, to a Baptist minister? Yes, and by the look of my mother's bright red face and stunned appearance, I knew I had opened my mouth and inserted my foot. That was the first time I'd ever seen her drink, it was a special occasion, we were on vacation, and it's completely OK to have a drink every once in a while. Those words, that one little sentence, will forever live in infamy.
I tell you this story to help solidify the fact that "out of the mouth of babes" come unbelievable comments. Unfathomable, unwarranted, unwanted comments. Two days ago, I got to live out this moment in my own special, dreadful way. It was just an average afternoon with carpool lines, snacks and water bottles prepped and ready for our trip to the park since the blessed rain finely stopped! We were meeting two other moms and their kiddos, friends that we regularly do life with and with whom I dearly love! We'd just arrived at the park not ten minutes earlier, the kids had all made a bee-line across the park to play near the woods. I was pushing Ava Jane and Emerson in the swing, the sun was shining, the birds were probably chirping, my good, good friends and I were sharing about how our days had been when all of a sudden one of the older girls came barreling across the pea gravel to share the oh so horrible and devastating news that my son-- my honest, thoughtful, quiet in crowds son--had just shared with the whole group of kids what S-E-X is! What? Oh.my.word?!! Are you freaking kidding me?!! These are the thoughts that were running through my mind. I was stunned, I was numb, my black Antonio Melani ballerina flats were rooted to their spot. I was in a state of shock, it felt like a while, but it could've only been seconds before the next oldest girl came running across the playground asking her mom, "did you and dad really do that?" Oh my gosh…it was true, he'd spilled the beans, told the "secret", opened a can of worms. I couldn't believe it was true! In that moment my margarita comment from years earlier came flooding back to me, I was once again dealing with a big fat mouth with a huge foot inserted into it. This time it was my sons.
We'd only shared "The Talk" with him just two weeks prior. He is extremely responsible, he'd been asking very direct questions to which we finally felt we should give him a direct answer and not just a "scoot around it" kind of answer. He is usually pretty quiet in crowds, he is our high justice, do the right thing all the time, kind of kid. So, when Adam told him that this information was for his ears only and for him to not talk with our other kids about this particular topic, we thought for sure, his "OK Dad, sure, I won't tell" would be stronger then oak. We'd told him he could come to us and ask us any questions that he has and we'd be completely honest with him. We could have never imagined that he would be the one to share this sensitive information to a crowd of children!
It still gauls me, I can't fathom the scenario in which he thought it was OK to share this oh so sensitive news! After we worked through the initial shock and awe of it, there were tears. He had them as well as me. He felt terrible that he'd shared the news, he felt like "the worst kid ever". He was devastated, I was devastated and I'm certain my sweet friends were undone, by the words my child had spoken that could not be taken back. They were out there. Spoken. Heard. There was nothing to do but address the topic to which he'd so openly shared.
He knew immediately that he'd done the wrong thing. After he apologized to both the moms we stayed a few minutes more but fairly quickly packed it up and headed to the house. He cried the whole way home, I was quiet. What is a mom supposed to do in moments like this? You can't really discuss it or de-brief about it in the car with all the other kiddos too, so we drove on home. Once in the house, the others scattered to their rooms and the playroom while my precious son and I had a heart to heart.
We of course talked about the "why"? Like, why did he feel compelled to share this news with all those kids? But more then that, we talked about trust--what trust is and how trust is built. I explained that Daddy and I had entrusted him with this sensitive information that we felt he was ready to hear. I told him that though I was very disappointed in his choice, that I still loved him, that we all make mistakes and that it was ok. I then had him quote several of the verses he's been memorizing. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" and I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." He continued to cry, so I told him, "Buddy, both the other Momma's forgave you when you asked their forgiveness, I forgive you and Jesus will forgive you too if you ask him. He quickly said, "I already asked God to forgive me." So I said, well Buddy that's great! Why the tears then?" His response was, "Well, I'm afraid of what Daddy's going to do when he finds out!" Which was really quite a comical statement given the circumstance. He rightly has a healthy fear of his Dad (which I'm glad for) and we did have to discipline him for directly disobeying what we had asked him to do. Thankfully we are 48 hours out and the episode is behind us. The take away for me is simple, parenting is just plain hard. It is humbling and humiliating at times. It is not for cowards, it is not for the faint of heart, it is just H.A.R.D! And every day is an adventure, you never know what curve ball is going to be thrown at you, you just have to stand there, ready to take whatever comes! And I'm grateful for my Meema's words that echo in my ears, "This too shall pass." Thankfully it will!
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