Underwear Under Where?


When it comes to marriage and parenting, let me just say, I’ve read the book.  I’ve also gone on the retreat, watched the video, and received all sorts of advice.  After ten years of marriage and two children; the books are covered in dust, the first retreat was my last, I only watch the video on fast forward, and the advice has been filed away.  I now  live by just one rule.  Always state the obvious.

Completely out of the Newlywed fog, I never expect my husband to read my mind.  I don’t even expect him to read the directions on the box of macaroni.  I never assume that he will understand what I said, know what I meant, nor draw the right conclusions.  In my house there is no innuendo; just solid information that, while obvious to me, is completely  lost in his oblivion.

I no longer get bitter when I have to explain that “muffin” doesn’t translate to a healthy breakfast for the kids.  Especially when it’s described as giant, buttery, and loaded with three kinds of chocolate. I don’t argue about how he should have known that even though the lunches were sitting next to (as opposed to on top of) the backpacks, they were still supposed to go to school with the kids.  Not to mention that anything with Hannah Montana on it does not belong in my lingerie drawer. Still I try not to raise my voice when informing him that my daughter’s jeans are the ones with hearts stitched on the pockets.  Information that came too late for my son who went to school in size 8 skinny jeans. With a flare. 

Having survived colic, potty training, and all those terrible wonderful Preschool Christmas Pageants, my children are finally getting older.  My parenting still never relies on them knowing better.  I raise my children under the assumption that they know nothing.  A point they prove on a daily basis. 

I find myself needing to explain that half eaten bananas will rot when kept under  pillows, and that yogurt left in the backseat of the car for  three weeks should not be eaten.  I actually have to argue the point that the tag being in the front really does mean the shirt is on backwards.  Not to mention, inside out.   And I still insist daily that the oven and anything coming out of it is hot.  A fact my son still tests, despite burning half his face in an unsuccessful attempt to smell a batch of chocolate chip cookies. 

Even with all that, nothing deserves a Captain Obvious badge like my continued reminders about underwear.

I remind my children to put them on, remind my husband to remind my children to put them on, and finish with a quick check before they leave the house. 

Even then, my son spent his first week of Kindergarten going commando.  He finally confessed, but told me not to worry; he only told a couple of people.  My husband, who got him ready all week, pled innocent based on the fact that when I laid my sons clothes out I didn’t lay out underwear.  My mistake: thinking he should know that the kids need to put underwear on.

A friend recently posted on Facebook that her five-year-old habitually wears dresses, and forgets the underwear.  Another friend took her twelve-year-old brother to Disney World only to discover he packed no underwear.  My mom even claims that I, too, once needed underwear promptings.   I think she was just trying to make my children feel better.

Nevertheless, I sit here wondering if God ever feels like Captain Obvious, telling me to put my underwear on. 

I often face my morality as though it is some great mystery.  As though, doing the right thing or making the right decision is an impossible feat.  With God, the right and moral thing is also the most obvious.  If it is pure and brings peace, it is right. If it is gentle and willing to yield, it is moral.  If it is full of mercy and goodness, it is God. 

There is no mystery in the command to give to those in need, when we have what they do not.   It seems evident that we should bring aid to those who are ailing, and cannot help themselves.  Do we really need to be told, that forgiveness is the appropriate defense to anger?  God is willing to state the obvious, if we are willing to listen.

He has given me love, so that I would be loving.   He has shown me compassion, so that I would be compassionate.  He has extended grace, so that I would be gracious. 

God has given me everything I clearly need for Godliness.  I just need to put it on.