Five-year-old Li’l Bro comes to the dinner table in nothing but his underoos and a play cowboy hat. “Yeehaw,” he declares matter-of-factly.
Nine-year-old Big Bro erupts, “Don’t go in my room!”
Li’l Bro: “I didn’t…”
Me: “Umm… where did you get the hat?”
Li’l Bro, without taking a breath or batting an eyelash says, “I saw it on another floor and I picked it up and I put it on my head and I said, ‘Yeehaw.’”
[Dubious. But points for creativity and diversion.]
Meanwhile, I had a split-second decision to make: should I try to unravel what really happened (did little Sis maybe carry the hat from Big Bro’s floor to… “another” floor, for example), or should I go another route?
I chose the road less traveled. Instead of spending the next several minutes trying to sort out what really happened, where the hat came from, etc., etc., ad nauseum…
I decided it just wasn’t a battle that needed to be fought.
So, pretty much as jokingly dramatic as I could, I repeated Li’l Bro’s words.
“I saw it on another floor
and I picked it up
and I put it on my head
and I said, ‘Yeehaw.’”
We literally spent the remainder of the day and half the next repeating it–Big Bro, Li’l Bro, and I–in animated over-expression.
“I saw it on ANOTHER floor
and I picked it UP
and I put it on my HEAD
and I said, ‘YEE-HAW.’”
We laughed until our sides hurt. Even Sissy laughed and laughed (not because she knew why but because we were, I think).
So here’s the thing: In this adventure called motherhood,
sometimes um, oftentimes we have to play the referee or the disciplinarian or the detective or some combination thereof.
And occasionally we make a real-time decision that’s actually right. We choose to commemorate instead of correct, to inspire instead of investigate, to laugh instead of litigate.
Because [believe me] the squabble over whether or not Li’l Bro actually took the silly dress-up hat out of Big Bro’s room and whether that really mattered anyway since they share all the toys and are forever in and out of each other’s rooms without incident was quickly forgotten…
But we’ll be joking about that little cowboy saddling up to the dinner table with his “yeehaw” silliness for a long time to come. It was a rare moment of effective and perfect redirect. And as a mother, I will treasure it.
“A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
We’re all about that sort of medicine over at CampClem. Won’t you come over sometime and see how we weave laughter into our days?
So, how will you add a measure of “good medicine” to your time with your kids today? Do tell!