1. Important conversations sneak up on me and punch me in the face.
I think I imagined that as a parent I’d have these intentional moments where I would sit down and throw some knowledge at my kids. All, “Full House” style. The answer to this dillusion has been a big NOPE. Important conversations that really matter have just smacked me in the face. Like when Elliot brought me a book about Jackie Robinson at Barnes and Noble and we read it and I kept crying while I read. We had an awesome conversation about history and equality and all the work there is yet to do. One a Monday morning at Barnes & Noble. This is not what Danny Tanner would have planned! Friends, be ready-- these moments are amazing and scary and coming at you whether you like it or not! It’s way better than anything we would have scheduled.
2. Even silly conversations matter, or silly conversations especially matter.
Some might think that we don’t take our faith very seriously around here. We use these fabulous Faith Talk cards at dinner time to start conversations. Last night there was a question, “If God came to your house right now for a visit, how would you greet him?” Our 3-year-old said, with a huge grin, “I would say hello, then I would give him a raspberry on his face!” I’m sure the writers of this question were thinking a little more deeply… but whatever. My son wants to basically spit on the face of the Creator of the Universe… with love, of course. Raspberries are high level intimacy for a 3-year-old. I’ll take it.
3. Be real, Tia.
When my grandmother was near death, she called me one last time. She was having a hard time speaking, but we had this amazing and lovely conversation. It was just like any other conversation. I told her what was going on with the boys, we talked about memories from when I was growing up. She laughed a little. But we both knew that this would probably be our last phone call. When I hung up the phone, I immediately burst into big, loud, tearful sobs. I don’t remember crying like that ever before. It just came out. My 5-year-old, rounding the corner, stopped in his tracks, wide-eyed. I felt this immediate need to stop, to get it together, and to protect him from whatever giant emotions I was having. But I couldn’t really. Instead, I explained to him what was happening. Great-Granny was getting ready to see Jesus, and I was sad, I was going to miss her. We snuggled up on the couch. I cried a little bit more. He put his little hand in mine. He did a lot of thinking. Finally, he said, “Mom, maybe your tears should be happy tears. Do you think Great Granny will use her walker in heaven?” I’m glad I didn’t hide away my struggle. I’m glad I didn’t try to orchestrate some kind of “sit down” where we talk about life and death and heaven. Real life is better.
These are tiny lessons that I’ve learned so far. There’s a lot of life ahead of us. I love never knowing what they will ask next-- or what I will say. I love seeing Jesus grow in their hearts. I know we’ll figure out the sibling rivalry, the nose-picking, the temper tantrums, and the general business of raising kids. I am most interested and excited to see how they are becoming disciples of Jesus. It’s going to be a fun ride.