My youngest son has taken quite a shine to music during his short life, and, honestly, he is quite good at picking up a tune and repeating song lyrics…over and over…and over…all day long. His favorite right now floats between International Harvester by Craig Morgan and One Toke Over the Line by Brewer & Shipley (the kid spends a lot of time with his grandpa jamming to the 70s). However, Luke’s version goes something like this, “Sittin’ downtown at the railway station, one ‘toot’ over the line. Sweet, Jesus!” Which then turns into endless giggles because what little boy isn’t infatuated with toots and farts?
So, our entire summer has been filled with singing, a little dancing, and late nights. Last week, we had the good fortune to roast out at the County Fair for four days. For his dedication to school, my oldest son was awarded a wristband to ride all the rides at the fair for free on Sunday afternoon. This Mom of the Year agreed to chaperone him and his cousin while the little one took a break at the farm with his other cousins. It was a great day! I spoiled the big boys with cotton candy, ice cream, snow cones, and Mountain Dew, all rare treats. After one heat of demo derby, the boys and I decided it was time to head home. I needed to make a pit stop at the home of a client on the way. Not being far from Bressler Park, I dropped the hoodlums off so they could burn off the last of their energy while I handled my 20 minute appointment. Much to my dismay, I came back to a park shelter roof littered with trash. After a scolding, I piled the boys in the car and headed home to get a ladder. They ended up cleaning off that roof and spent the rest of the week cleaning a lot of other things. Of course, everybody in the park that night knew they were mine. Ugh. My Mom of the Year badge was quickly stripped.
All that naughtiness after I had spent the day spoiling them for doing good things. How can it be?? Each time they act like that, I swear we will never take them out in public again or do anything fun. Is this a right of passage or just a way to get me committed? We constantly walk on the edge of being one ‘toot’ over the line. Sweet, Jesus!
Fast forward to this week. Back at the same park. I was already hesitant after our last visit, but I figured the Holy Spirit would watch over us this time. After all, it was a church sponsored picnic. You can about envision the table filled with all of the very best potluck dishes, salads, and desserts. Of course, my brother and I managed to bring five cousins who refused to eat because they wanted to play. Before supper even started, one of mine was back with a skinned knee bleeding like a stuck hog. Forty minutes later, my teary-eyed niece hobbled back to the shelter with a fat lip bleeding like a stuck hog. And twenty minutes after that, my nephew was heading to the ER with a broken arm. One toot over the line. Sweet Jesus! We may never be invited to a church picnic again for liability reasons. (Side note: my younger brother once managed to slide head first into a door at our church as a young child and had to be rushed to the ER on a Sunday morning as well. Obviously, these traits are inherited!)
God and I talk back and forth on a regular basis, so I had a hard time figuring out where the Holy Spirit was in all of that hot mess while we were in the midst of it! What I later realized is that these types of hard situations are designed to keep us humble. I felt the burn of my parent’s shock and embarrassment from 30 years ago when a fellow member came running to find my mom with a bloody rag plastered against my brother’s forehead. I flashed back to a sword (corn knife) fight with my younger brother in the middle of a bean field that sent him to town for stitches with mom while my dad made the rest of us finish the round to prove a point. I now know how tired my parents must have already been from working all day, yet they were right there beside us suffering through the punishment together. I need a constant reminder that I am not superwoman, nor do I function alone on an island. My family, my business, and I are all surrounded by an amazing network of friends who help us make it through these daily struggles in spite of the embarrassment suffered or the pain endured. Wow. Thanks for bringing my floating ego back down to Earth. Sweet Jesus!
I do want to take a moment to thank the folks at the park on the weekend of the fair for not calling the cops on my juvenile delinquents. Also, thank you to the many church members who not only welcomed our families to the picnic, but aided in getting the kids home and also checked-in yesterday to see how everybody was doing. It’s not everyday that two pastors accompany a trip to the emergency room. My nephew is going to make a full recovery thanks to the prayers and well-wishes. For now, the kids are on lock down to try and keep everybody safe until school starts. And one final note, if you see me waiting downtown at the railway station, one toot over the line, just leave me be. Welcome Home.