“Family meeting kids! Everyone on the couch!”
Maybe it was the tone that this was said, the look it was said with, or the smoke coming out of my ears but when that announcement rang out, all people measuring under three and half feet wasted no time jumping onto the couch with expectant little faces.
“Here’s the deal, guys,” I began, my face somber, “When I am upstairs rocking your little brother and sister to sleep, please don’t make enough noise down here to be heard in the neighboring galaxy! And PLEASE don’t come upstairs every minute that I’m up there, because every time you do, the babies wake up. The only reason you should come upstairs during the SHORT time I’m putting Gabby and Daniel to bed is if it’s an emergency.”
To be on the safe side, I decided I better define emergency.
“Emergencies are anything involving blood or fire. Got it?”
The three kids stared at me, wide-eyed and attempting to mirror my own serious expression. My four-year-old shot his hand in the air to ask a question,
“Oh, and we can come up if there is a lion out of his cage too, right?”
“Yes, that would be okay.”
That idea got my five-year-old thinking, “What about if a tiger is out of his cage AND inside our house, then can we come up?”
“Yes, if a tiger or lion is IN our house, that would be an emergency too.”
My two-year-old’s lip jutted out and began to quiver, “Pink princesses no like tigers and lions!!”
“It’s okay EvaLee,” I assured her, “More than likely, a tiger or lion will never be inside our home, don’t cry, okay?”
And with that, everyone began talking...and crying at once. There was talk about lions and tigers ...and fire! I was so busy reassuring EvaLee that tigers couldn’t get into our house and confirming with Gideon that one should stop, drop and roll if their clothes caught on fire that I totally forgot why I had even called a family meeting about in the first place!
Later that evening, after my little fire-safety and anti-tiger kids were tucked in their beds and fast asleep, I couldn’t hold back a chuckle at the memory of my pathetic attempt of a family meeting. I wonder sometimes how much of what I am teaching (or trying to teach!) my children actually makes it through with all the distractions that pop up along the way.
Sometimes I think I have it backwards when I review my day and consider what I DIDN’T accomplish because of the many distractions caused by the kids. What if I considered my children the priority and all the OTHER stuff (dishes, phone calls, laundry, projects, errands, MY agenda) the distractions?
Then I wouldn’t be so disappointed if, at the end of the day, there were still dishes in the sink but art projects drying on the counter. I’d care less about stains on their clothes and care more about the good memories made in their hearts from sharing a messy banana split! I’m working on working a little less so I can be “distracted more”...even if it means I get interrupted while rocking a baby to sleep with a missing Hot-Wheel’s car “emergency”!
I think another family meeting is in order. This time I’m going to sit everyone measuring under three and half feet down with a serious look to tell them something very important. They should know their momma is never too busy or doing something so important that they can’t interrupt every now and then. There’s no need to wait for escaped lions, tigers or FIRE to get my attention!