It’s easy to have a heavy heart in this job. Some days we feel trapped in sadness and despair when we look at the outcome of these children and families. But one of the strengths we share is humor. Jonathon and I both love to laugh and joke and tease. It was the basis for our friendship, and now it gets us through our crazy life. I may cry most days, but I also laugh my head off. Kids are funny. Their innocence, awkwardness, clumsiness, and ingenuity create hilarity. We know for a fact that it wouldn’t take long to get burnt out of this job without the ability to see joy in every day. So, you may not laugh as hard as we do about these stories, but we hope you can see the joys of living our unconventional life.
To start, here’s a list of things we never thought we’d say:
‘You cannot dip your shoes in your juice.’
‘Get your head out of the freezer.’
‘Stop biting the couch.’
‘It’s not safe to tie those shoelaces around your body.’
‘Why did you color in the hymnal?’
‘You can’t take a shower in the sink.’
‘Why did you color on your pants?’
‘Please give me all the nails in your bed.’
We learn so much as parents everyday, but mostly about how not to laugh in their face at some of these statements.
‘You’re lucky I’m not old enough to show you my middle finger.’
‘Is asking a girl out hard? I hear it’s pretty hard to do.’
A child asking me a “private question”: ‘Are my armpits supposed to smell when I take my shirt off?’
Brothers: ‘Can we sleep in the drawers under the bed?’
A picky eater: ‘What brand of pizza is that? I only eat certain brands.’
Mr Jon saw the child’s school picture with trees as the background: ‘You went out into the woods to get your pictures?!’ Child: ‘Ummmmm . . I don’t remember. It was in the gym??’ Mr Jon: ‘Well, in this picture you’re in the woods. Did they bring trees into the school??’ Child: ‘Ummmm. . I don’t even know, Mr Jon!’
3 Year old whining, Mr Jon: ‘What happened, buddy? There’s a bunch of hair in your mouth.’ Child: ‘I licked Phoebe all the way to her tail’
Elementary boy: ‘I called a girl Squidward from Spongebob and my teacher said I liked her.’
3 year old: ‘Miss Heidi, these are my NIPPLESSSSSS!’ (lifts shirts)
‘Miss Heidi, close your eyes! It’s a zombieeeee!!’
3 year old: (in timeout) ‘Imma take my pants off!’
Mr Jon doing morning routine while Miss Heidi gets ready for the day. Once I come out, the 5 year old says: ‘Miss Heidi, you like to sleep? You always want to sleep.’
At church: ‘Are they drinking blood? Miss Heidi, is that wine?’
‘Miss Heidi, there’s these things. They’re sheets, but not normal ones. You have to get them in the corners just right. But once they’re on there, you don’t even think the corners are there. It’s pretty complicated.’
7 year old girl: (with a mouth full of food) ‘all I want to do is just eat garlic bread’
‘Our teacher said a bad word today in class. It was really bad.’ (gets his textbook to show us the word “asexual”)
Middle school boy slams: ‘I don’t make sense. I make dollars’
(lots of stuttering) ‘Don’t even laugh. I can’t fix all that. I even forgot what I’m supposed to say.’
‘Miss Heidi, your dog is freaking me out. Every time she looks at me, her eyes are brown’
‘Miss Heidi, the thing I want to be most is a nut cooker. The guy who cracks peanuts with his hands and throws ’em in a pot and cooks ’em. Like a nut cooker.’
‘Miss Heidi, I would never smoke the cigarettes. It’s a gateway drug.
From middle school boys singing Oklahoma in the shower to 2 year old’s picking their nose at the table, we think our life is pretty comical. We thank God for the ability to see humor. He makes good things come out of bad situations. I thought of that as a long term plan, but in this role, we see it daily. It’s in the small things. It’s a bit unconventional, but God uses dance parties and farting and middle school awkwardness to help our whole house see something good in all the chaos.