Yesterday, I heard the words every parent dreads.
“Dad, I did something embarrassing this morning.”
I was in the bathroom at our Sunday School, and I was hoping I had misunderstood him. “What?”
“I did something embarrassing in Sunday School this morning.”
It’s amazing how many thoughts can race through your mind in a matter of just two seconds.
Did he pass gas? Did he hit someone? Did his pants fall down? Did he wet his pants?
Or worse, maybe he revealed something that happened at home. Something about me! Maybe he confessed that I let him watch Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda!
“Wha, umm, what did you do?” I asked very tentatively.
“Well, the teacher had a packet of M&Ms . . .”
Ahhhhh! I bet he snatched the candy from the teacher and ate them all REAL fast!!
” . . . and we were supposed to guess how many M&Ms were in the package.”
Hmmmmmm, this isn’t sounding too bad, but I didn’t want to commit to safety yet. “And what happened?” I was scared to hear what came next.
“Well, I guessed 18 . . . ”
Ahhhhhhh! He made a terrible guess!! Oh wait, that’s not too embarrassing.
” . . . and the teacher said to write our answer on our sheet.”
Oh no. Please don’t let this have to do with him saying a word that sounds like the word sheet. Please don’t let this have to do with saying a word that sounds like the word sheet. Please don’t let this have . . .
“But I thought she said CHEEK. So I wrote the number 18 on my cheek.”
That’s it? That’s what was so embarrassing?!
Whew! Another bullet dodged in this little adventure they call parenthood.
A sense of relief fell over me like I haven’t felt since . . . . well, since I found out I passed college biology.
I couldn’t believe it. I started to laugh. I wasn’t laughing at him. But I was so relieved that that’s all it was. And it was kind of funny. Pretty funny, actually.
We were alone in the bathroom, and I laughed harder than I have in a long time. My laugh echoed in the small enclosure, and my son joined in, a bit hesitant at first.
“Son, that’s really not that bad,” I said. “And when you do something like that, all you can do is laugh a little at yourself.”
I wanted to tell him about all the mistakes I had made over the course of my life, but school was starting in just a couple of weeks, so I didn’t venture down that road.
Plus, I knew that there would be plenty more mistakes that he would make in his life. Mistakes that he would find a lot more embarrassing than an “18” written in pen on his face.
The same kind of mistakes that I’ve made. Mistakes where you can only laugh at yourself and hope that you learn from them.
That, and of course, turn the other . . . well, you know.