Sunday, January 01, 2006

Who's In Charge?

I was over at Amy's Humble Musings, a blog I recently discovered, (yes this discovery took place at, like I have said before, I love that blog) and came across this post. Very cute.

My husband and I were talking recently about taking a short trip. As we do with most everything, we have our discussions while the children are underfoot. We don’t whisper in the bedroom and then inform them of family plans the next day at dinner. We’re pretty casual around here, and while the kids know that we have the final say, sometimes they’ll offer their opinion on a matter that we’re discussing.

We’d decided, in the end, not to take the trip, but we never informed the kids. We really didn’t know that they were eavesdropping as much as they were. So, this week I overheard the following conversation in the hallway, as I stood listening in around the corner:

My oldest son, age 7: When Mom and Dad go out of town, I’m the one who is in charge. I have to be The Dad.

[Note to Florida DCF caseworkers: I am absolutely unsure why they thought they wouldn’t be going with us, as we take our children everywhere. We’ve never left them home alone.]

My oldest daughter, age 6: Okay. You can be The Dad, and I’ll be The Mom. You have to get the baby out of bed in the morning, though, because I still can’t lift her out of the crib. She’s too fat. But I can still be in charge too.

They then began dividing duties and discussing all the things that would need to be done, especially what my daughter would be cooking during my absence. I kept my appearance hidden around the corner; this was too good to interrupt.

As they were discussing roles, I knew the most influential reference they had to draw upon was the relationship between my husband and me. In this moment, I was about to be graded on how well my example taught them who ran the house, who was ultimately responsible for the household, and the difference between the two. I cringed, as I hoped to pass the test. In the end, it all went down like this:

Son: You can be in charge of [the four-year-old]. I’ll help you with the baby, and you can sleep on Mom’s side of the bed. But, I’m still in charge.

Daughter: Yeah, but I’m in charge too.

Son: Okay. But, I’m really in charge. I’m the oldest.

Daughter: Okay.

My husband is almost eight years older than me. I decided not to ask them if my son trumped by virtue of his role as the father or by virtue of his birth order. But I did inform them that we’d never leave them home alone and that macaroni and cheese wasn’t acceptable for every meal.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:22-27)

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