I don’t come by fun naturally. It’s just not in my nature.
(By the by, if you asked my kids if this is true, they would -at the moment- agree.)
No, I’m too much of a rule follower. I am far too concerned that I might get in trouble. The slightest whiff that the fun may get out of hand or turn embarrassing and I am OUT.
I come from long lines of fun makers and havers. Riotous ones at that. Their laughter and free-wheeling echos through the years and chastens me.
“Stick in the mud,” they seem to say and all of my fearful moments come to mind. Like how Mama Syd had to force me and then take me to TP a house the first time. The first time? I’m pretty sure it was the only time . . . The opportunities for independence and adventure in high school I avoided at every turn and cried – CRIED, people!- when mom made me do things I didn’t want to do.
Anyway, fun has been a learned skill.
That said, I want my kids to come by fun naturally. Some are more given to it (Tess. . . ) than others (Phil . . .), but I want them to learn now, how to do it and do it right. Spare no effort and all that jazz.
One of my discipleship girls had a birthday this last week. As a group we wanted to celebrate her so we tossed around some ideas. We had meant to go and decorate her house the night before her actual birthday but the election was distracting and we forgot. When I remembered in the morning, I loaded up 4 kiddos and hauled them to the dollar store in the middle of the day (look at me throwing fun all over the place!) to pick out balloons to park in the b-day girl’s room.
There was a good deal of anxiety about the possibility of balloons popping so I’m not sure if that was fun for them or not . . .
Later that night, though, I broke out the big fun guns. I rendezvoused with two other girls with streamers and sidewalk chalk in hand to make a birthday greeting on the lawn. We attempted to be stealthy ninjas but it’s hard when you’re in winter coats and giggly and a mom is waiting in a running car at the end of the driveway. We stabbed forks in the grass and trailed crepe paper like pros. We wrote happy notes and took pictures and congratulated each other on a job well done.
It took 20 minutes to bust out all of that fun.
The girls loaded up in a warm car and went home (it was past their bed time) while I went back to the van to answer texts (fyi-hard to be sneaky when your pocket is chiming) and thaw out. After about 3 minutes, I put my phone back in my pocket, turned on the lights and steered the van around the cul-de-sac. One block later I saw a policia parked at an odd angle and knew – KNEW – he was for me.
Then I knew I was going to jail.
Here were my reasons:
1. I did not have my wallet with me. In the chaos of the night, we had been out, came home and I got kiddos ready for bed and gathered fun-making-supplies all in 4.75 minutes and ran out the door STILL running late to meet my partners in fun.
2. Even if I HAD had my wallet, it wouldn’t have mattered as my license is expired. Has been since June, turns out, and I am still waiting on my birth certificate (to go with the FOUR other forms of identification) in order to renew it. Me? BREAKING. THE. LAW.
3. I was driving a vehicle that did not belong to me. Sure, it was loaned to us by my in-laws while our water pump/timing belt/other expensive things were being replaced in our van, but it would appear suspicious.
I rolled down the window, took a breath and tried not to imagine what a strip search is like.
The officer was young. Okay, young-ish. Around my age. I smiled and he was friendly, holding to the ‘innocent until proven guilty,” by the grace of God. He didn’t ask for any ID and I tried to sound relaxed and calm when he asked to explain what it was that the “very freaked out and concerned neighbors” had seen. He took very official notes in his note pad while I reminded myself to breathe.
“I lead a discipleship group and one of the girls had a birthday today-”
“What’s her name?”
I told him, spelled it and continued.
“We thought it would be fun to decorate her yard and we okay-ed it with her parents and they pulled the blinds for us and left the lights on. We just put up some streamers and used some sidewalk chalk . . .” I trailed off and he asked some more clarifying questions about addresses and which church we were with and my birth date all the while grinning like crazy and trying not to laugh. He stared dumbfounded at his notebook for a minute then started scratching his head.
“Okay, well, uh, I’m just going to call this, uh, neighbor up and explain it all to her and, uh, let her know you had permission to be there and,uh, I’m sure that’s gonna be it.” Here HE trailed off and started walking back to his car.
I was . . . stunned. I leaned out the window, ‘Um, so do you need anything else from me or am I free to go/”
“Oh, no, I’ve got what I need! Have a great night! You’re free.”
I got the hey out of there speedy quick while observing all posted speed laws. then I realized I wasn’t going to jail, hadn’t died and was actually giddy. I was having fun! Quirky, silly, good clean fun.
I might be a natural at fun after all.