Sunlight exposes the crayon etched across the freshly painted kitchen wall. The green instrument of destruction lies broken on the linoleum floor. After a brief examination of the crime scene, I round up the usual suspects for interrogation. Suspect #1 is 4 year old Daniel a.k.a. Dan the Man. Suspect #2 is also a male, age 3, and goes by the names, Mitchell, Mitchie, or Meme. Both have a record with the local authorities (mom and dad). Each ones points the finger at the other, and so “The Case of the Green Crayon on the Wall” goes on the board until someone confesses, or I, the mom, get a lead.
I have always enjoyed reading a suspenseful mystery. As a child, I was addicted to the Nancy Drew series. Now, as an adult I appreciate the tiny bit of precious time I have to sit down and enter a world of intrigue and excitement. I like to pretend that I am a private eye assisting the main character in discovering clues, solving crimes, and apprehending felons.
Did I say I need to escape within a novel to unlock mysteries? Who am I trying to fool? As a mother, I participate in investigations daily. Some of the mysteries I deal with are crimes. They may not be of the illegal nature, but they are criminal to me! For instance, there was the time I uncovered which of my two cherubs drew green crayon on our pristine white walls. Then, there are the days when I try to detect who has taken a cookie from the cookie jar (It is usually dad!). Not to mention, the numerous times I must untangle the information to get to the bottom of how the latest fight started. Now that my boys are older, I am spending time determining which one has left his clothes and possessions on the bathroom floor, in the car, or in the backyard. It is a common occurrence for me to use my sleuthing skills while mothering my boys. Daily I search for clues and follow the trail.
I have found comfort in the fact that I am not the only mom who acts as a private investigator each day. A very close friend of mine has an unsolved cold case. Many years ago on one New Year’s Eve, she sprayed the Jell-O jiggler pan with a can of Pam cooking spray. She remembered setting the can down on the counter knowing she would need it a little later. When she reached for it, it had disappeared. She rounded up her usual suspects (ages 4 and 2) and proceeded to question them concerning this matter. Of course, they produced no evidence. Now, I ask you: How does a can of cooking spray walk off within minutes of use and remain unfound? I personally have not needed to hunt for a can of cooking spray, but I have seriously considered investing money in the Playtex Corporation because we have lost and bought more spill-proof sippy cups than I care to admit. They may not spill, but they still become lost! There have been too many times to count when I have come to the rescue for my family. It is usually I who has dug up the lost items such as books, belts, Bibles, baseball hats, homework, and shoes as my family members were about to leave the house with time pressing. Day after day, I am tracking down items in my home.
Sometimes the sleuthing I perform does not involve missing items. There are times I must delve into situations. For example, I was like Sherlock Holmes when my babies cried at night. I rushed into their rooms and did a process of elimination until I came to the source of the problem. I have felt for fevers and leaky diapers. I have sniffed for dirtied diapers and spit up. My concern provoked me to check for the possibilities of thirst, hunger, or sickness. On I looked and searched until I unraveled the cause of their tears. And that was just one night! When my children are sick, I rack my brain trying to remember where they have been, how they could have caught the illness, and who passed on the virus to them.
In addition to identifying culprits, finding lost items, and determining the physical reasons my boys have been upset, I, the caring secret agent, have had to uncover the reasons why they may be hurting emotionally as well. As my children are growing up, I am learning they still need me at times to be involved mentally and emotionally. As a loving detective, I must be wiling to care enough to probe and to ask the tough questions. I inquire deeply to learn the root of the issues that wound their hearts. Then, once the problem has been identified, my task is to guide and help them work through those emotions and situations in a Christ-like manner. The caseload is never-ending!
I should have been clued in on this job of detective many years ago at my wedding shower when my mom humorously gave me a shoe box full of socks with no matching pairs for my own home. (She had enough single socks to share!) Was it her way of initiating me into this line of work even before having children? Was the collection of lonely socks a welcome gift for joining the club of gumshoes? Whatever her reason for giving the goofy gift, I should have realized it foreshadowed what was to come. Caring mothers do detective work daily. Therefore, I must send my apologies to my favorite mystery writer because her latest novel will have to sit on the end table a little while longer for I have my own mystery to help solve today. Has anyone seen a white size 11 Nike tennis shoe?
1 Thessalonians 2:7 … like a mother feeding and caring for her own children.