Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Mournful Death of Name and Integrity

Friday is my husband, Don's birthday. Two weeks ago Sarah celebrated hers. It occurred to me, several months ago, that it'd be a fun duo-gift, flying Sarah home for a visit. The last time Chris, Sarah and their kids were here, Grayson was content to lay on a blanket, watching life go by, and Addison was a gleam in her daddy's eye.

The original plan was to have Sarah fly home, with Addison in tow. I started thinking how sad Caiden would be if he didn't make the trip to Grammy's and Papa's. Caiden needed to come also. Then Grayson's big blue eyes showed up in my mind. No way could we leave Grayson at home. It's not that I didn't want Chris to come; he has very pretty blue eyes too. I just started out thinking of flying Sarah home, by herself. She's never by herself these days. She has all these little ducks waddling along behind her. Sarah told me, "Mom, I CANNOT fly alone with three children." Chris is a busy man. I knew it would be difficult to plan around his schedule. Hallelujah, he could get away, and was crazy enough to agree to the trip.

We decided to split the air fare since one ticket turned into four. They arrive in two days. We've planned a quiet dinner out with Chris and Sarah, a Sunday morning of showing them off to everyone at church. Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Grilling Chris' speciality - Chipotle chicken. I also have visions of smears on walls, goo on floors, pjs with feet, bedtime stories, bathtime, chubby little hands at our dinner table, kitchen counters messy with flour and drippy egg whites from baking. We can't wait, for all of it.

The last time Caiden was here, we bought a betta. He would live in my tank, but belong to Caiden. Caiden chose the name - Name. Middle name was Name. Last name was Name. So he was called Name Name Name. We gave him the nickname of Name Name, since noone, not even a fish, wants to be called by their last Name.

When Caiden and I talked a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the pets currently residing with us. Elway the dog, and Miah the cat. Then Name Name. Not wanting to bruise his little feelings, I stretched the truth and told him Name Name was still swimming around here in the tank. Okay, I lied. He's swimming somewhere at the bottom of the sewers of my town. So Caiden shared with Sarah, "Momma, Name Name is still there." Sarah, being a realist, promptly said, "No, he's not. He's dead." As we went back and forth, with Sarah in the background, I lied again. I assured him Momma was confused, and that Name Name was alive and well. Then - in the background I heard Sarah say, "Grammy's lying. He's dead."


A little voice said, "Grammy, are you telling the truth?"


I stammered, "Well, actually, not exactly. Actually, Name Name went to be Jesus' fish, and so he's not here anymore."

"Oh." One little word said it all. Grammy lies. Grammy can't be trusted. You can't depend on Grammy to be honest. I could almost hear 'Taps' playing in the background, as we observed a moment of silence, while my integrity died a quiet, slow death. Up to this moment, I was right there next to God, if I said it, you could depend on it. I felt myself become like everyone else. All the other people who lie. I didn't get to explain my motives, which were honorable, or at least tender. My actions stood alone, for him to see. No glossing over.

"We'll go together and buy a new Name Name when you get here. He can be red again. He can live in the tank. Okay?" I peddled as fast as I could to make up for my "offense".


In that one word, I was acknowledged as the sinful creature I am, I was forgiven, and I was loved anyway. Rebirth.

When I was a little girl, my father had a system of discipline. The first spanking was for the deed. The second, for lying about it, if you were so unwise as to take that path. Somehow he always knew when I had.

I didn't get a whipping because Name Name died. It felt like one when my integrity did. Thank the Lord, five year olds easily extend grace, when we least deserve it. Caiden has told the normal number of fibs for a five year old little boy. He's been found out, and forgiven. I'm thankful he's had those lessons. Thankful for the acceptance I heard in his little voice.

We'll be going to Wet Pets when he arrives, to buy another red betta. I hope this one makes it for the long haul. If he doesn't, when Caiden asks, I'll own up and tell him Name Name #2 is swimming in the sewer. At least my integrity won't be.


  posted at 9:33 AM

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