I say I like silly things, but what I really mean is I like watching other people do silly things. I don't have any problem being weird with my own kids when I'm safely hidden behind the closed doors of my own house. But when it comes to being wacky in public, especially in front of my mom peers and other responsible adults, it's going to be a hard pass from me. My own pride just won't let me do it.
So how is it then that I found myself crouched in my neighbor's bushes wearing an inflatable T-Rex costume? My plan to jump out and surprise my kids when they got off the bus felt rock solid when I was standing in my living room. Yet now that I'm outside, where all of heaven and any random passerby can see me, I'm painfully aware of every flaw in my plan. I should have been outside for two minutes max, just enough time to hide, jump out and hear my kids tell me what a fun mom I am. But now the bus is late and my pride is becoming a lot heavier than this air-filled dino head. Just as I'm about to abandon ship, the man who lives across the street, who I've never talked to in my life, steps outside. "I thought I saw a dinosaur out here," he says, "What are you doing?"
"Just surprising my kids when they get off the bus," I reply, trying to strike a casual pose while yelling through the plastic window of the T-Rex neck. The man waves and wanders back inside. My ego is screaming to RUN AWAY before it's too late.
Suddenly, there's the bus. I watch my kids hop down the steps and start walking up the street. Just a little closer ... closer ... wait for it ... I leap out into their path and grab them with my little T-Rex arms. They scream and pretend like they're annoyed, but I know better. I can see in their eyes they are equal parts confused and delighted at this strange turn of events. As I swing around, the man in the bathrobe is standing on his porch watching us.
"You're a good mom!" he yells to me before closing the door.
I let his words sink in and shrink my over-inflated sense of self that almost caused me to miss this silly and ridiculously fun moment with my kids. I'm reminded that in John 10:10 when Jesus says, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. He is speaking not just of heaven, but my life here, in this moment, as well. When I worry more about my "mature mom" image or my reputation with my peers more than letting loose with my kids and giving them a glimpse of my authentic self, I am not living to the full. I realize how deeply I need more moments like this in my life - unscripted, crazy moments where I surprise not only my kid, but myself as well.