One of the things I am most thankful for is my family. From the godly heritage of parents and grandparents who love the Lord, to wonderful siblings, to my beautiful and amazing wife with a godly heritage of her own, to my ornery and adorable children – I have truly been blessed. Each of these relationships continues to grow in its own way, but it is probably my children that astound me the most. The fact that they can frustrate me beyond belief and then melt my heart in quite literally the very next moment still surprises me after all this time. They teach me a great deal about God and life and love, but they also provide an almost unending source of entertainment.
I mean, the things these kids do and say can be so random and off-the-wall and just downright hilarious. Almost every day I find myself laughing at some quip or shenanigan from one or the other of them. Recently, we had one of these experiences as we visited some lighthouses on Lake Michigan.
As we pull into the parking lot, I can tell the kids are excited. I can tell in part because the baby is giggling and Josie is talking a thousand miles per hour about something related to “what a good plan” this is and how thankful she is. Mostly, though, I can tell because Zeke and Gabe are in the back doing their best Cheech Marin impressions as they exclaim at full volume, “If this is torture, chain me to the wall.” Laughing, Christina and I look at each other and I think “this could be really fun”.
As we venture out onto the ice, Gabe takes off like a shot and Zeke is following behind more tentatively. Tentatively, that is, in his speed but not in his volume. He’s still loudly and excitedly proclaiming something about torture, but he’s so cold and excited that most of the quote is lost and he just sounds a little creepy. I laugh a little less now as I look around, wondering what people must be thinking about the parents of this little kid. I distance myself a bit as we continue out on the ice toward the lighthouse.
As we get closer, I take the girls up the walkway while the boys follow a parallel path on the ice a bit faster than Christina thinks safe. While she instructs them to be careful, Gabe determines to prove everything’s safe by dancing on the ice. To be honest, dancing is probably generous. It was more like wildly convulsing as he flung every limb in opposite directions repeatedly, all while yelling about how safe he was. About the time that I shout, “Cut it out concussion boy!” (we were only one week removed from an ER visit and concussion diagnosis) I see him fall. It was kind of a belly flop on the ice. I suppose it embarrassed him a little, so he tried to get up really fast by flinging his legs around in front of him, switching quickly to his bottom then his feet and leaping into the air. “Nice recovery”, I thought to myself. Well, at that exact moment some teenage girls were walking past me and looking out onto the ice. They must have caught the end of Gabe’s little episode, because I hear one of them say to the other, “Look at that little boy out there breakdancing. Isn’t that adorable?” At this, I could no longer contain my amusement as I laughed out loud to pretty much myself and Madalyn.
When we all safely made it back to the van, I was anxious to tell them all what happened. Everyone thought it was funny, except Zeke. He just looked at me with this really puzzled look on his face and I anticipated a question about what breakdancing was. As I prepared to explain, he says in a very frustrated tone, “But they’re supposed to say I’m the adorable one!”
And that is just a tiny glimpse into the never-a-dull-moment, always-entertaining and oh-so-blessed world in which I have the pleasure of living every day. A world where laughter is just a breath away and falling on your face just might turn into breakdancing!