The white sheet snapped like a sail in the wind and drifted down to the bed. Hurry up, I scolded myself, just make the stupid bed already before somebody hears you. Then came the footsteps, tiny ones, and I knew it wasn’t rodents. Or at least I hoped it wasn’t.
SNAP! The second sheet floated like a spectral vision before my eyes, but it was too late to hide behind a ghost. The general rule of hiding is to try to find something that’s not transparent. (Oil barge = good. Sheet = bad.) My three year old son was by my side in a flash, uttering those three words every parent fears: “Can I help?”
I quickly calculated the choices:
A. Let him help me and make the chore take twice as long, then have to fix everything again later when he’s not looking.
B. Do it by myself because it’s easier that way.
C. Pretend to be invisible.
D. Run for the hills.
Even though multiple choice strategists say to choose C when in doubt, I struggled through the logic of pretending to be invisible. How would I explain to the kids that I was really a superhero with powers that suddenly manifested when forced to do chores with them?
Not being one to break my child’s heart, I decided to let him help. The five minute act of making the bed then turned into a marathon.
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by having to roll a massive boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this for eternity. What were the Greek gods thinking? This punishment was nothing compared to doing chores with a child. Sisyphus, come make the bed with a three year old, then we’ll talk.
Fabric softener commercials should get honest and stop showing the happy mom throwing sheets up in the air in slow motion and joyfully making the bed. Where is the mom struggling with the fitted sheet while her toddler jumps up and down on the bed? Or show what happens to me, as I stand there pulling on one side of the sheet, while my son pulls on the other, and the fitted ends pop off until we resemble an I Love Lucy episode gone awry.
What would Lucy have done in this situation? Something ridiculous, no doubt. I suddenly felt inspired to keep one end of the sheet fitted to the mattress, and use the opposite end like a slingshot to sail away to the hills.
But my little boy looked so proud that he was “helping” me. I remembered the time he came to me saying, “I was trying to help you, Mommy.” He looked so guilty that I knew something had gone terribly wrong. After trying to help with the dishes, the kitchen was practically flooded. When he helped me with the garden, he broke my flowers in half. One day he decided our white radiators looked “boring,” so he colored them in for me. To help, of course.
While we were trying to make the bed, I remembered Psalm 121:
I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Of course God is in “the hills.” That’s exactly where I want to run to when my children want to help me. Imagine how God feels when we are always getting in His way trying to “help” Him. First, He tries to make the bed for us, but we’re too busy jumping up and down on it. Then, just when He has the sheet fitted perfectly on one end, we pull from the other side, and POP! We have just messed everything up. God is perfectly capable of helping us, we just need to get out of the way and let Him make the bed.