Saturday, April 27, 2013

Narblies, Elephants, and Family

"It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in."
This morning I found myself saying this to one of my coughing kids, and as I was saying it, I could hear my father saying it to me. 

There are things I say to my kids that my parents said to me at one point or another  and things we say to our kids or that our kids say that make no sense to people outside of our family, unless they know us very well.
Just the other night at choir rehearsal, sitting next to my mother, after someone asked how many days were in April, I started, 
"Thirty days hath September, April, June, and no wonder all the rest eat peanut butter except Grandma, she drives a Buick." 
My mother joined me partway through, and everyone in attendance looked at us as if we'd lost our minds.
 
In my family, we often remove narblies from things. The word narbly originates with Alexander, who used it to describe the stringy things on bananas, which are actually called phloem (pronounced flom). From there, it went on to describe any string hanging off of something. It's not odd to find a child asking if we can cut a narbly off their shirt.
I bet you didn't know that you need to make sure you have your elephant with you if you go out in the rain. Normal people call such things umbrellas, but not my Mom. Well, not that one time, anyway, and we've never let her live it down.

Then there are q-tip emergencies. I have what my five year old calls "leaky ears" and every once in a while, need a cotton swab and fast. This, my friends, is a q-tip emergency. When a q-tip emergency is announced, my kids stop in their tracks and the one closest to the bathroom dashes to bring me some cotton swabs to deal with my ear issues.

It's also not uncommon for someone in my house to say something, and for one or more of us to burst out in song. 

"I don't know what to do."


What to do? What to say? Shall you carry our treasure away?  
~Les Mis
Or

"Listen!" 


Listen! Listen God is calling, through His Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort and joy.
           [Copyright: Lutheran Theological College, Makumira, Tanzania]

(or my kids' version, "Listen Mama's calling ...")

To anyone outside my family and adopted family, we must all look like lunatics. Perhaps we are. But it's this silliness that binds us together, that makes us who we are - family. 






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