One afternoon last week I sat at the table spoon-feeding Knox. I couldn’t help but keep my eyes locked on him as he flashed a smile between bites. Our home is always full of noise from the brothers…fighting, pretending, running. On this particular day I vaguely remember hearing Watts singing. Suddenly something smashed against my back, alerting me to pay more attention to my surroundings.
I turned around to witness the following scene: a naked bottomed boy spinning in circles, his Pull-up held high above his head, belting out the Muppets Movie hit song, “Me Party” (for those unfamiliar…the lyrics are, “I’m having a me party, a party just for one. A me party.” Over and over).
Technically there is no problem with a preschooler singing naked in the comfort of his living room. Unfortunately, in this case my son’s Pull-up had been full of pee. By “had been”, I mean while swinging the diaper (cuz really that’s what it is) above his head the pee-soaked granules were flung out. Which would explain the substance I felt hitting my back.
I quickly surveyed the damage trying not to freak out. I found granules on my laptop bag, on an Avenger Croc, piles splattered around the floor and even a tiny piece sitting on Knox’s high chair tray. Awesome.
After telling Watts to “never, ever do that again”. I considered how to clean up a mess I had never, ever encountered. An exploding Pull-up? Seriously.
As I carefully swept each little piece into the dustpan (like cleaning up rice or pasta, this material smeared when pushed), I heard Quade say, “Mom what’s up there?” I looked up to see a huge chunk of Pull-up mush stuck to our wall right next to the lovely Christmas wreath I had hung on the window.
I laughed. Out loud. In the middle of the mess. Because I knew I had the choice to laugh or cry (or yell). Any other day I probably would have yelled. Maybe even thrown down the broom in frustration and run to my bedroom to cry. Not that day. That day I laughed. And I liked it.
Last Thursday night, I stayed up too late listening to an author share stories from his life. I felt an odd sense of freedom when he said, “If you take yourself too seriously, you will be miserable.” He was right.
With the weight & responsibility of rearing four young boys and keeping up with life in Dallas, I’ve taken myself too seriously. It’s not a joyful version of me.
The next morning each time I wanted to respond to a little thing in a big way I repeated in my head, “Don’t take yourself too seriously”. 10 minutes later the same phrase. Then again 20 minutes after that…”Don’t take yourself too seriously”.
That same morning evil walked into a school on the east coast and did the unimaginable. The truly serious happened making my overreactions seem even more ridiculous.
Because when you come up against a legitimate mountain the one you created from a molehill looks ridiculous. My prayer for you and for me is to take ourselves less seriously because life is serious enough on it’s own. We don’t need to add to the weight with our unrealistic expectations.
In these days leading up to Christmas even though we grieve with those who grieve, may you find joy in your children. I know I’ve hugged mine even tighter. Enjoy the humor of “A Christmas Story”-leg lamps & tongues stuck to flag poles. After kids are safely tucked in bed watch the “mostly clean” humor of Jim Gaffigan’s “Mr. Universe” on Netflix. Or laugh out loud to Buddy the Elf’s childish antics in big, serious New York City. Whatever brings you joy this season…do it.
“Joy is the serious business of heaven” C.S. Lewis