Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Planting Time!

A few months ago, I called my parents. "You've finally gotten your revenge," I announced as my dad picked up the phone.

"How? Are you pregnant again?" he asked.

"No, no, no! What a sick and twisted mind, you have," I giggled. Then I proceeded to tell my mom and dad what had just transpired.

Earlier that evening, I had noticed a strange sound. At first, I was hard-pressed to identify it, but eventually, I realized it was silence. In a panic, I scrambled about in search of the kids. The baby was fast asleep, but I found the boys feverishly working on a project in the TV room. Heads down, pencils in hand, they were concentrating all their attention on popping scores of holes into the top of a padded leather trunk we use as a toy chest.

As I related this detail to my parents, they broke into ringing peals of laughter, then into hoots, and finally full-fledged tears of delight. You see, they'd had a similar experience many years ago.

When I was four or five, my dad had a Naugahyde recliner, which he prized above all other possessions. One day, I was sitting in the precious chair, clicking away on the button of a ballpoint pen. I was fascinated by the point that popped in and out and in again. Then something neat happened -- the point pushed right through the chair covering -- there was just this little bit of pressure and resistance and then pop!

I must have made a dozen more holes before my mom caught me. In a most uncharacteristic move for my firecracker of a mother, she didn't didn't dish out an immediate whippin'. Instead, she simply said, "Wait until your father gets home," and turned back to the kitchen. I knew I was dead because Mom never waited for Dad to come home. This was serious.

Now, my dad is usually a quiet kind of person when he's happy. But that day, I learned something new about him -- when he's really about to give it to you, he gets quieter still. My dad just talked to me in that calm, level way that does so well. I didn't get spanked or punished. Just the talk that made me want to fall through the floor.

As you can see, this past incident was the reason for their present hilarity.

"So what did you do?" my parents asked, barely constraining their laughter.

"Well," I explained. " I wanted to freak out on them, but there was a nagging little voice in my head that kept asking me 'What did your parents do?' Then I looked at those two little bodies, and I thought, 'Yeah, I've done this.' And when I listened to their explanation about how it started as an accident, but it just felt so good, I thought, 'Uh huh, I know that feeling.' What could I do? I gave them a good talking to, and left it at that." I joked, "Your grandkids are lucky you were merciful to me. That's why you still have them."

Over the years, I've often heard, "You reap what you sow." I never thought, though, I would reap the destruction of furniture in a manner that so closely imitated my own. On the other hand, my parents planted mercy that day, and it too bore fruit in a similar (though perhaps less calm) way.

This Mother's Day, I'm wondering what other seeds I'm planting in my kids lives. Hopefully, there are seeds of gentleness and kindness, of forgiveness and patience. One day, I'd like to witness huge fields of love, joy, and peace in their lives.

Just for the record, I also wouldn't mind if I walked into their houses and saw a bunch of furniture with poke-holes. :-)

Happy Mother's Day!


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