“Ruby, what are you doing?”
Our ten-year-old lounged on the couch, eating an orange. She’d spent the day home from school, lying on the couch, catching up on old shows. Allergies plugged her ears. She sneezed as if on cue and rubbed her eyes. The thermometer read normal but she felt lousy.
“I thought you wouldn’t be home until 8:00!” she squealed. She sat at attention.
That was the plan. We’d asked her to take a shower and put herself to bed while we were at worship rehearsal. Zac, though conscientious with the -his-sister part, doesn’t do the “tuck in” ritual well. Ruby says so.
“You’re supposed to be in the shower now,” I said, with a dark mom glower on my face. The clock stood at 7:35 p.m.
“I forgot all about it,” Ruby squeaked.
Riiight. Parents, this is about the oldest excuse in the book, right next to “The dog ate my homework” and “The devil made me do it.”
Lately, Ruby’s had a hard time doing what’s asked of her with a good attitude. She grumps and pouts, slamming forks and knives and spoons on the table when asked to set it for dinner. Napkins go every which way. Looks like a bunch of squirrels played hockey there.
This morning was no different.
“What chore can I do?” Ruby asked. Our deal is you have to do a chore before you get to technology. This is after getting ready for the day, etc.
“You can take out the trash,” I said.
From the living room, I could hear her working. She lifted the bag out of the trash. She started to drag it to the back door.
“Don’t drag it,” Zac corrected. “You need to pick it up.”
“It’s too heavy,” she said. “I can’t lift it.”
“Like this,” I heard Zac say. He must have demonstrated how to carry the bag out the back door.
“I caaan’t!” Ruby whined. Somehow, she edged the bag into the trash.
I couldn’t stop laughing. So much drama. What’s next? Now she needs to put in a new bag. How will that go?
I heard her open the cabinet under the sink to pull out a new garbage bag.
“Seriously?” Ruby says. I can visualize red steam puffing out of her ears.
Jonathon’s cracking up with me now, safe in the living room.
See, the kitchen is under renovation. Jonathon will put new butcher block countertops in today. All the stuff that lived under the sink has temporarily relocated to the living room.
“In here, Ruby,” Jonathon called out to her.
Ruby stomped into the living room. I try not to look at her. She yanked straight up on the bag, pulling it free from his box. She walked back into the kitchen, gustily shaking the bag to get it to balloon out from sticking to itself.
Jonathon and I laughed. This early morning drama brought to you by your resident tween!
We will deal with Ruby’s attitude. But it’s so familiar, isn’t it? Those of us whose driver’s licenses prove adulthood status still struggle at times, exhibiting little tantrums over the small inconveniences of life. The too-long red light. The dirty socks in the middle of the floor – again. The empty coffee carafe no one bothered to refill at work. Will we lose our cool, or exercise self-control? Lord, help me remember to laugh and be part of the solution, not the problem.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – James 1:2