Yesterday was the first day of vacation bible school at our church. The kids aren't used to getting up early and it was a little rough for some of them. When I suggested that Lucy brush her teeth, she rolled her eyes and groaned. It went down hill from there--shoes couldn't be found, eyes continued to roll, tempers were lost, tears were shed. It was a mess.
"We are going to church to learn about Jesus and being nice, and we need to pull ourselves together," I screamed. "Now get in the damn car!"
Not my best parenting moment to be sure, but admittedly not my worst either.
After the screaming and the crying, it was off to church to learn about Jesus and kindness and maybe most importantly about redemption and love. And play games, sing songs and get a snack.
Even though yesterday morning was pretty messy, I am not overly concerned about my kids or my parenting. Bad mornings are just a part of it all. Parenting isn't this glossy exercise in perfection. At least that isn't my parenting, or life, experience.
Watching the movie as a parent was a little different. I was struck by how different the kids were, how independent but loving. Kids in a lot of TV shows and movies these days are snarky and sarcastic and rebelling against stupid parents. The kids in this movie were funny and smart. The adults were complicated and troubled but not stupid. Elliot and his brother and sister cared about each other and their mother. They didn't want to upset their mother because she was dealing with their father leaving her, leaving them.
"You'd totally stand by one of your brothers if they came to you and told you they had an alien in their closet right?," I asked Lucy after we got back from church yesterday.
"What?," she said with a mild eye roll, like she was exhausted by my question.
"You know, like E.T., you guys would be like those kids and help each other out, right?," I replied earnestly.
"Okay, yeah, we'd totally hide the alien from you," she said laughing.
"Good, I hope so," I told her. "I hope you kids have each other's backs."
I've spent a lot of time with my kids this summer. A lot. While we are so god damn far from perfect, I think they are pretty rad. Even when the hormones of the tween and teen kick in, there are no people I would rather spend my time with. And I truly believe they would hide the alien and help each other out.
You see, we aren't some glossy, big-budget, out-of-this-world, special-effects-filled new movie full of perfection. No, I see us as more of a sort of throwback to a simpler, clunkier, low-budget movie that is full of heart and story. And kids that would stick together and figure it out and have some kick-ass bike-riding skills.
THE bike scene from E.T. (Click here to watch.)