My sister (the brilliant photographer I feature on this blog and the only person on earth who can capture a decent shot of my obnoxious children) is pregnant with her first child. So far, she hasn't come seeking any motherly advice from her big sister, probably because she doesn't want to hear what I have to say:
You can't screw your kid up if she's in utero for the next 18 years.
It's too late for me, though. Which explains why my four little blessings are such a mess. I feel like it's on my daily "To-Do" list: Make sure the kids have plenty to discuss in future therapy sessions.
I not trying to make such a muck of motherhood. Really, I have the best intentions.
I recorded Soul Surfer a few weeks ago, thinking I would finally see the movie my mom keeps hounding me to watch. Ella, of course, found it while scrolling through our DVR list and immediately started begging me to let her watch it.
Ella. The girl who doesn't like "Grandma's Beach" because it had a jellyfish. Once.
So a film depicting the aftermath of a shark attack on a young girl DID NOT seem like a good idea for my young girl, who is going back to Grandma's Beach in 3 weeks. So I held firm and said no, until she wore me down last Saturday and I said yes.
I did all of my due diligence for the movie first, reading reviews and skimming through various web sites to see if there was anything I needed to prepare Ella to see. I guided her through the film's location ("FAR away from Grandma's beach") and prepared her for what she was going to see ("A shark is going to bite off Bethany's arm, but then everything ends up happy"). Finally, we sat down to watch the movie. Ella got a little scared at one point, but then she ran upstairs to put on her bathing suit and rash guard.
Which she hasn't taken off since.
She also found a small paddle board in our pool bucket and practiced "surfing" on our family room carpet.
I got pretty relaxed about the whole thing once I saw how Ella responded to the movie. Or perhaps I should say "lax," since Emily, Evie and Ty wanted to get in on the Soul Surfer action and I didn't stay on my game.
This weekend, while I thought the kids were watching the innocent antics of Tom and Jerry, Ella was actually showing everyone "the movie about the girl who gets her arm bit off and doesn't grow another one." Which confused the twins, because they just assumed it would. Grow back, that is. Once they got past the initial shock, though, they were okay, and I took the opportunity to explain how God can take the bad things that happen to us and use it for good.
Clearly, my message took, because last night I walked in on the girls in the bathtub playing "Shark Attack." They were all taking turns, with one girl playing the part of the shark and the other two sticking their arms behind their backs, screaming "My arm is gone! You bit it off!!"
Ty's got it all figured out, too, because at the store today he tucked his arms in his shirt and announced, "My arms got bit off!" Then he whipped them back out and threw them in the air. "Oh, there they are!"
Oh, God. Well, I just hope He can use all those future therapy bills for good.
And that my sister doesn't give birth before 2030.