Tuesday’s Tale From theTailboard

Who’s in Charge?

One of the hardest transitions for me, as a fireman’s wife, was the change in roles that occurred every-other-day. When Bob first started on the fire department we had a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. I never wanted to be the kind of mother that threatened “you just wait until your daddy gets home”.  And at five and three there weren’t any huge battles to be decided.

However, with the passing of years and the addition of two boys, dynamics changed. Add to that, two daughters diagnosed with an incurable neuromuscular disease and all that entails, and there were times when it got really heavy. 

Attempting to balance what I could control and what I couldn’t became very much a tightrope performance. Even harder was knowing WHEN I was in control, and when I wasn’t.

It wasn’t hard for me to be in charge on Bob’s duty days. And while the rules didn’t change when he was home, the roles did. 

Those who know us, are also very aware that we are on opposite ends of the personality poles. Bob is, and was, very much the ‘walk and speak softly and carry a big stick’.  On the other hand, I carried a big stick, stomped a bigger foot and was never accused of speaking softly. 

Parenting is hard no matter the occupation. 

While I’ve never intended for these posts about being a firefighter’s wife to be devotionals, or short sermons. Allow me this one rant!!

There are a whole lot of single parents out there struggling to be both mom and dad. Whether they’ve chosen that role or not doesn’t lessen the struggle.

There are also two parent homes where the roles are so blurred the kids have no idea who is in charge, so take on the role themselves. And a child should never have to be the parent.

The next time you are annoyed by screaming kids in a restaurant, or crying kids in church, or trantrum-throwing little ones in the aisle of the grocery store…before you pass judgment too quickly, stop and consider that maybe, just maybe there’s been a major disruption in their lives, too.

Yes, there are disobedient kids. Yes, there are loud and obnoxious kids. There are times when you might think to yourself that “what that kid needs is a good spanking.” (please don’t call Child Protection Services)

And yes, there are loud and obnoxious parents. And more than once I’ve wanted to ‘smack’ them, too. 

But there are also times when a child just is that—a child. And we’ve all been embarrassed by behavior that in no way reflected the training our child received. 

We had a child wipe his snotty nose on a neighbors newly-starched white muslin curtains. 

We had a kid (same one, in fact) who blew the paper off the end of their straw only to have it go down the BACK of a lady’s dress three tables over. 

We had a daughter who went potty in a paper cup in the front yard. 

We had a child who hid himself in a roll-around display of dresses and thought it was funny to roll away from me when I attempted to catch him, and had other shoppers dodging the action. 

We had a child who pardoned himself for ‘tooting’ in the restaurant and when we ignored it he announced it a second time, both the toot AND the apology.

It is in THOSE moments when I could switch roles very quickly: i.e. “that’s YOUR child.” 

Who’s in charge?

Well, God and I have had many, many, many conversations regarding this very subject.

Guess what?

It isn’t, and never was—me.

And it isn’t, nor ever will be—you.

Never before in history have young families needed prayer more than this very day, this very moment. 

Just do it!!