I do so very much love my children.

I returned home from four days away and found all three of them pressed against the screen door, waiting for me. Rylie pushed the door open and stood on the top step with her arms outstretched and legs wiggling. I think she was humming. It was very sweet.

Gideon reverted to his dog impersonation, which is his go-to overwhelmed expression of love. He paused long enough to hug me around my neck and whisper, “I did miss you long time, Mom.”

Awww. Me, too, Buddy.

Now, Abby June… that girl. She hung back. When she finally made it out onto the steps she hopped up and down, which is two-year-old for PICK ME UP… so, I did. She sighed and kissed my cheek. Sighed and kissed me again. And then she buried her face in my neck and mumbled, “I did draw on your cabinet.”

The other two dropped the heads in defeat and marched back inside.

Now, I had been warned. I knew there had been a major incident that morning involving all three children and a permanent marker. Standing in the Atlanta airport listening to Curt’s brief run-down, I secretly rejoiced. IT IS ABOUT TIME this kind of stuff happened on his watch.

Oh, y’all. I had no idea.

The kitchen table was stacked with toys scarred by a fat, black Sharpie. Trucks and wooden blocks and matchbox cars and magnets. Rylie’s work was clear… her name scrawled across wooden blocks left no room for denial.

Gideon was a little more subtle, though it surely took more work to color entire vehicles. It could have taken weeks to notice the orange and red and blue cars that were now black… but the child forgot to color the BOTTOMS of them. No coat on the undercarriage. Rookie.

Abby’s contributions were the most traditional and the most painful. My beautiful vintage cabinet. Rylie’s door. The wall leading down to the basement, now graced with a single wavering line about 18-inches high.

I took it all in silently.

Curt made sandwiches.

The children… sat.

I turned around and put my hands on the island.

“Wow,” I said.

“You are mad?” Gideon asked.

“Take toys away?” Rylie offered.

“Well, I don’t know yet. Dad and I will have to talk about it together. I just, I don’t know guys. I honestly don’t know what to do.”

From the corner of the kitchen came a tiny but sure voice as Abby explained, “Dad already did give me a big spankin.’ He did.”

“I will take that into consideration. Thank you, Abby. Seriously, though, guys. What were you thinking? Rylie, you know better! Abby? Gideon? What in the world?”

Their Disney eyes grew wider than usual in silence. And then Gideon dug deep.

“God did tell me to do it, Mom. God did tell me to draw on my cars.”


While I do not question my son’s potential prophet potential, we are now accepting all forms of ideas for a consequence for the above described childhood vandalism. We’ll deal with the ‘messenger’ situation another time.


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

7 responses to “permanent

  • Miss Laura

    Oh, I’m just crying. And secretly rejoicing with you that this happened on Curt’s watch – I GET THAT. I’m so sorry about the door and the cabinet, but…oh. This is truly the heart of it. Someday when the kids are out of the house you’ll remember this fondly over a cup of coffee with your neighbor.

    I think the thing that gets me about your kids is the way they are so decided when talking about their actions – “I did do (fill in the blank).” Every time. That “did” adds an extra layer of acknowledgement and ownership. In this case, that’s a very good thing…other than maybe Gideon passing the buck to the Heavenly Father, that is.

    Glad you got a chance to get away for a few days!

  • Amy L

    Parenting…never a dull moment.
    Hope you feel refreshed after the time away!

  • Lucy Higuera

    “Welcome home, sister! They REALLY missed me!”

    Smile and say that when you spy black. Then buy a magic eraser.

    Oh, and Curt, being a man of action, has already handled the discipline. 🙂

  • Missy

    Oh mama! OH MAMA! Just this very day, I found a zip case chock full of sharpie markers!

  • localgoodness

    Oh my goodness Katie, this cracks me up! When we were kids we took permanent black markers to the birch paneled walls. I will never forget the entire incident. And honestly…I’d say just let it go. They know they made a mistake. Give them rags and make them clean some part of it every day. {as if you as a mama are going to make them clean every day for the next gozillian days}!
    It was such a treat to meet you at Allume and I can’t wait to check out your blog!

  • localgoodness

    Also, I forgot to mention that my 6 year old son impersonates a bird whenever he gets nervous from social anxiety. Fun times when dropping him off for church and school and he runs around acting like a some type of flying animal!

  • mamajoyx9

    Ditto on the Magic Eraser suggestion.

    Totally get the fact that it was good it finally happened on his watch.


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