I don’t remember whose idea it was. But I know it wasn’t mine. I’m not a leader. I’m a natural-born follower. I didn’t often get into trouble when I was a kid. But on this particular day I listened to the wrong voice. I don’t remember whether it was the voice of my older sister or the voice of my younger sister that led me astray. But the one thing I do remember is the sound of our mom screaming.
A man had stopped by the house and brought mom some elderberries. They were talking and working with the berries when mom’s “must check on girls” alarm went off. She came around the corner of the house and she suddenly turned as white as a sheet. She screamed and almost fainted when she saw all three of her little angels perched on top of the roof of the house.
The man came running when he heard mom screaming. He glanced up and saw us lined up on the roof. He did the same thing that our dad would’ve done if he’d been there. He doubled over with laughter. Mom didn’t want to yell again for fear that it would make us fall off the roof. So she calmly asked us “What are you doing up there?” One of us gave the obvious answer. It was the answer that made complete sense in our 3-year-old, 5-year-old, and 6-year-old minds.
“We’re having a tea party!” And once again the man doubled over with laughter. But not poor mom. There was absolutely nothing funny about it. But let’s be honest. Doesn’t it take a lot of imagination and creativity to come up with such a splendid idea? Why have a tea party inside of the house when you can have one on top of the house? We thought it was fun. Mom just didn’t understand. My 5-year-old mind thought that she seriously overreacted to the situation.
The man walked over to the TV antenna tower and climbed up to retrieve us. That tower was what started this whole mess. It wasn’t a tower that held up the TV antenna in our minds. It was a ladder that led us to the best tea party that three little girls ever had. I wish we had a picture of our tea party on the roof. But it was 1976 and mom didn’t have a smart phone in her pocket that she could use to snap a quick picture. She didn’t have time to run in the house and grab the Polaroid. She had to watch as each of her darlings were rescued from the roof. Once our six feet were back on the ground mom’s face suddenly looked normal again.
Nearly 40 years have passed since the tea party on the roof. I now realize that mom was just doing her job. It’s a mom’s job to protect. It’s her job to worry. It’s her job to scream and even faint if she needs to when she finds her girls up on the roof. I’ve never seen any of our girls on top of our roof. But I’ve screamed and almost fainted a few times. It’s just what moms do.
I’ve cringed as I watched her fail to stop her roller skates. And then I took her for x-rays and a pretty purple cast. She leaned on the sliding screen door and I watched her fly out onto concrete when the screen fell off the side of the house. And, yes, I screamed and I almost fainted. I’ve had my “must check on girls” alarm go off and realized that not everyone was inside the house. And there was a little darling out in the middle of the street playing with our cat. I screamed and a nice man named daddy saved her. And then he bought dead bolts so little sweethearts couldn’t get out of the house. That’s what dads do.
The heart of a mom is full of fierce love for her child. It’s a love that makes her scream when her child’s in danger. It’s a love that makes her wish she could trade places and wear the pretty purple cast. It’s a love that wants to dive onto concrete to save a child from injury. It’s a love that God put in our hearts that no one can ever take away. The heart of a mom is a beautiful thing.