My husband recently grew a beard. Not your typical, nicely groomed beard. But a long, scruffy, full-on mountain-man beard. What’s interesting is that I get approached ALL the time—by friends and strangers alike—with the exact same question: “So, how do YOU like the beard?” This is usually posed by wives who can’t believe I “let” my husband have a beard or husbands who are trying to convince their wives to give a green light to facial hair. The first time I was asked, without even pausing to think, I blurted out, “His beard? Oh gosh, I have way bigger fish to fry than to spend time hating on Jon’s beard.” My response surprised even me a little. But it was true. Time has a way of offering perspective. Years ago, I would have absolutely cared. Who wants scratchy kisses? I mean, really. But then time passes, your husband has a brain tumor, survives, and then you realize that the person who wants scratchy kisses is you. I want them. I want his kisses in whatever form they present themselves. It’s interesting how time plus life experiences have a way of doing that.
Choose Your Battles With Your Children
When I was a new mom, my son wanted to wear his Superman costume to the grocery store. “Sweetie, that is not appropriate. We wear clothes to the store, not costumes.” Fast-forward eight years as our fourth child heads out the door in her princess dress. “You look beautiful, Snow White! Let’s go shopping!” I exclaim, much to my daughter’s delight.
Perspective. Oh, how I wish I would have had more of that from the beginning. How much time did I spend ‘majoring in the minors?’ Too much. My six-year-old daughter begged to cut bangs for a full year. “But honey, bangs are more trouble than they’re worth. Growing them back out is such a pain.” But one day, I took a deep breath and thought to myself—bigger fish. So we cut the bangs. And she looked beautiful. She loved them. And I did too.
I want my kids to show kindness. Compassion. Generosity. Forgiveness. To love mercy. To walk humbly. I want their hearts to break for those who are in need. I want them to know that God loves them. No matter what. And I do too. I want my husband and I to have a thriving marriage. I want us to encourage each other in our passions. I want to be a loving light in our community. Basically, I want our family on the right path with God as our guide. Those are my Bigger Fish.
SO. If something conflicts with those things, I give them time and attention. Boundaries and hard lines are drawn. If something doesn’t conflict? Then we cut the bangs. Grow the beard. Dress like our superhero.
There is so much freedom in majoring in the majors. Being driven by what others think is exhausting. Moralizing personal preference (a hairstyle, a clothing choice) can suck the life out of a relationship. Choose your battles with your children wisely and with intention.
And so today I will run errands with Belle and Ariel. I will tell my six-year-old how beautiful her bangs are. And I will grab hold of my husband’s long, scruffy beard, pull it toward me, and smooch those lips. If I can find them in there. Oh, and just for the record, in case he reads this: Yes, babe, “no motorcycle” is still on the GIANT FISH list. 😉
I’m still a work in progress … 😉