The Silly Way

Last night, I drove my kids home from a party “the silly way.”

Can we go the silly way?  Mom, can we, can we?  It’s FUN!

For those of you who don’t spend a lot of time in my car, the Silly Way is any way other than our usual route.

In the summer, the Silly Way runs just slightly out of town for a side-trip to see cows grazing in a field.

In the fall, we drive by the scary Halloween house.

Now that it’s winter, we venture out almost daily to look at as many Christmas lights and decorations displays as possible.

I’m a total sucker for the Silly Way.  I mean, sure, it’s a waste of time in an era when we feel compelled to rush to accomplish the next thing.  But I get weird little tidbits about and glimpes into the minds of my children when we take those few extra moments to go a different way.

All month, Cai (4) has been singing his original song called “Beautiful Lights.”  He does this in a clear, high falsetto voice that would do justice to the boys’ choir at St. James’ Cathedral in London.  The lyrics are “beautiful lights, beautiful lights, beautiful lights,” etc., etc. and so forth into infinity.  His siblings believe it’s the most irritating song on the planet.  I think it’s so sweet that it makes me cry.

Last night, we saw this display at a neighbor’s house:

You know who that is, right?

So did Cael (4).

Look, Mom, it’s Santa and Mary!

All the kids seemed to agree with Cael’s interpretation.

Maybe I should be concerned that my son is mixing his secular and religious characters.  Maybe I should care that Mary, the Mother of God, is hanging out with Santa Claus instead of holding sweet Baby Jesus.  I mean, Santa may once have been St. Nicholas, but now he’s the harbinger of all materialistic evil, right?  That’s no company for Mary.

Besides, “Santa and Mary” is not the route we usually take to the Christmas story.  That’s kind of weird.  It’s a little bit irreverent.  And it’s silly.  All of which means that I like it very much.

This Christmas, my family is talking about Baby Jesus.  Again.  Like we always do.

This Christmas, we’re waiting and wishing for our visit from Santa.  Again.  Like we always do.

And sometimes, we’re going to do things the Silly Way at Christmas time.  We’re going to make up our own songs and rhythms.  We’re going to see our faith and our secular world hanging out together.  We’ll find that we either irritate people or they agree emphatically with our strange conclusions.  And, frankly, either one is OK in my book.

As for my family, we’re doing this life the Silly Way.

And, oh, it’s FUN!

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
11 comments
  1. in case Cai’s interested: her name is Roos (which is Dutch for Rose) and she loves pink&black, argueing over nothing with her older brother and disrupting other people’s conversation by singing loudly! (she might also like long walks by the sea, not sure, we don’t live near the sea… I can ask her though 😉 )

  2. Oh my goodness, I think I might’ve just wet myself laughing after&while reading the above… I’ve finally found some time (I’m on a break from teaching right now and the kids were such pains in the behinds this morning that I decided to hide out in my classroom for the remainder of the day 😉 to read some of your older blogs and Beth, loving you&your family more&more every day! Thank you for writing and making me laugh!

    Carina

    ps: we actually have a 4 year-old daughter who sings songs like Cai’s ‘beautiful lights, beautiful lights’, we call her ‘queen of improv’ at our house, maybe we should introduce them sometime? 😉

  3. Your son’s “Beautiful Lights” song, reminds me of my brother [when he was 4] and his “Shiny pennies” song which got on the nerves of my sister and I.

    It went as follows:

    “Shiny pennies. Shiny pennies! Shiny pennies. Shiny pennies!” etc. Ooooh. Maybe it’s a 4 year old boy thing 😛 Your blog is cute, and I really enjoy reading it!

  4. What do you mean Mary’s not holding sweet baby Jesus? Who else would be in that basket?

    1. Oh, great! Way to challenge my faith, Jeff. If Mary’s shoving Baby Jesus in baskets and covering him up with towels, someone needs to intervene.

      1. Yeah, where’s Pharaoh’s daughter when you need her?

        1. I’m sure there’s some sort of spiritual analogy here for sending Jesus down the river.

      2. That’s better than sending him somewhere in a hand basket!

        1. Dear Mary,

          I write this message out of love and only the most well-intentioned concern.

          You seem to have a problem with where you’re putting Baby Jesus. I mean, over the years we’ve managed to accept that you stuck your baby in an animal feed trough despite the fact that if we did the same thing we’d be reported to Child Protective Services. We’ve made allowances for your culture and circumstances. Hey – we moms do the best we can, right?

          Nevertheless, we’ve learned recently that you’re now shoving Baby Jesus into your handbasket. We acknowledge that Moses’ mother set a precedent for this and also sent Moses down the river. We’re not entirely sure, though, that this is the best example for you or that you can successfully debate that your circumstances call for the same approach to child-rearing. Although things turned out well for Moses (other than the whole killing a man, wandering in the desert for 40 years and not getting to enter the promised land bits), please don’t think that Baby Jesus should be treated in the same fashion.

          In conclusion, if you must put Baby Jesus in a basket, please don’t send him down the river. Or anywhere else people go in a handbasket.

          Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen

  5. Hmm. In the spring, I should arrange a side trip/tour for you of my friend’s place — complete with Shetland sheep and yaks. Yes, yaks.

  6. Oh, now I get it! Last night as I drove the kids to my house from the sitter’s they took note of all the lights along the way. They were probably asking for the silly way, and in the chorus of 4 simultaneous voices I didn’t pick that out. But we did do the silly way, anyway, when we passed a particularly interesting display too fast, and when one person spotted a huge inflated Santa, and no one else saw it. So around the block, one more time, while Aden and Ian kept talking about Alice in Wonderland, and I asked about Winter Wonderland, (singing part of it), until Cael set us straight by saying, “Aden, you mean Wintow Wondowland, not Alwiss in Wondowland.”

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