One advantage writers have is that every situation is viewed through the eyes of our internal writer. Frustrations, heartaches, joys, and all other events of daily life find their places on our ‘to write’ list. The truth is, smooth sailing doesn’t make for good reading. So when someone tells me a frustrating story, internally I’m wringing my hands and saying, “This is going to be great on paper!” Not that I don’t feel sympathy, but it quickly fades when my devious writer begins to emerge.
Such a story crossed my path the other day. A friend we’ll call Jane had a difficult day not long ago. Jane drove down the road in her brand new SUV. The new car smell still hung in the air. Her three boys were cutting up in the back – as boys often do. One was eating hard candy. Knowing hard candy and whooping and hollering don’t mix well, she said, “You need to calm down while eating that. Or you’ll get choked.” Her warning held his attention for about twenty-five seconds.
Less than a minute later, she heard a gagging sound, and sure enough, her little boy was choking on the candy. Before she could respond, his internal bodily functions solved the problem. The candy was dislodged when he threw up all over the back seat of her new car. A new smell hung in the air. The neighborhood was now in view, so she rushed to get home to clean out her brand new SUV.
Jane’s second son suffers from a very sensitive gag reflex. The sight of his brother puking had a spontaneous response. You guessed what happened next. Just as Jane turned into her neighborhood, boy number two began to spew. Oh, if she hadn’t fed them a kids meal on the way home. Now Jane rolled down all the windows. Partly to clear the smell, and partly to give her boiling rage a place to escape.
While she shouted at her son for not listening and causing all of this, her four year old notified her of his eminent eruption. The sights and odors made him sick and he started to gag. That was it! Jane slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. Screaming like a woman possessed, she snatched her youngest from his car seat and deposited him on the curb. She reached in and jerked the other two out, shouting loud enough for the world to hear as she did. Then a wonderful idea hit Jane. She could just leave them where they stood.
Over the sound of her screeching tires, she could hear little voices crying, “Mommy, don’t leave me!”
The SUV whipped into the driveway, and she stepped out. Still screaming, she yanked open the doors of the vehicle to air it out. Then the world around her came back into view. Her husband was on the porch with a look that said, “Have you gone completely mad?” Curious neighbors stepped outside to see why three boys were wailing at the top of their lungs while running down the street toward her house. A house where mom stood outside of her car with two fists full of hair.
Well, there goes my Christian witness. This is how a real homeschool family works.
When I told this story to my wife, she laughed evilly. “At least it’s not just me,” she said. “And at least I’ve never left the kids on the side of the road.”
Yep, our nuclear meltdowns only happen indoors, and she just bangs their heads on the floor. Okay, not really. But I know she has thought it a time or two. And I just bang my own head on the floor. When the neighbors ask about that banging sound, I shake my hair out from between my fingers and say, “It’s just the sound of my Christian witness.”
If you have been moved with conviction by this testimony, feel free to confess in the comments below. We promise not to laugh. Okay, you’re right. We will laugh, but we promise to laugh with you.