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.