The Real Reason People Believe in God

I’ve figured out why religion came into being.

This just in time, as it turns out, because I’ve changed careers and am now a licensed (someday to be ordained) minister in the United Church of Christ. (If you’re snickering, stop. Programming nerds can TOO be pastors…it just means every third sermon we preach has a story line from BtVS, which I happen to think is a GOOD thing.) 

At any rate, since I haven’t written AND I’ve been missing this space, I’m going to cheat. Below is an as-reported-in-real-time-Facebook-post of a conversation with my three-going-on-four-year-old daughter.

Here’s what this new pastor tells her kid when asked a serious theological question:

WhyThe Girl: Why did you say I couldn’t eat the cookie?
Me: Because you threw it on the ground.
Why did I do that?
Me: I have no idea. I think maybe you wanted to give it to the birds.
Did the birds want to eat it?
Me: Yep.
Me: Because they are hungry.
Why are the birds hungry?
Me: All creatures eat. Maybe they hadn’t had breakfast.
Why do creatures eat, Mom?
Me: They just do. They eat for energy.
But why do they EAT food, Mom? WHY?
Me: Because their bodies tell them they are hungry.
Why do their bodies tell them they are hungry?
Me: Because that’s how it works.
Why is that how it works?
Me: Because that’s the way Mama God made it.
Why did Mama God make it that way?
Me: Ask Her yourself. I can’t answer any more questions right now.


I’m sure that one day I’ll cringe at my lack of theological depth, but right now I’m feeling proud of my ability to stay in the WHY for as long as I did. That was at least 6 seconds, folks. And I didn’t go to my usual place of “why are you asking why????” as in: what exactly about my explanation of concrete mixers and the origin of sand don’t you understand? 


What kind of spiritual wonderment is part of your parenting life? I’d love to hear from you!

Unexpected Outcomes of 3: The Preschool Formula for Managing Your Expectations

brandonhill-beard-formulaThere’s a big black dog currently circling the island in my kitchen. He is not my dog. He is a friend’s dog. His name is Stan, but we call him “Stan the Manly,” “Stanislaus,” “Stannis,” or “Manley Stan.” Today I asked my daughter, who is now 3.5 years old (STOP THE PRESSES!) why Stan the Manly had a red foil star on his head. She looked at me like I’m a moron and replied: “Because that’s the color he picked, Mom.”

Somehow, at some point between potty training and the start of preschool, I became MOM.

If I do something she doesn’t like (like humming, drinking coffee, or turning left) the girl shouts: STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE, MOM! If it is particularly horrific, such as, say, combing her hair, then she adds: BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART, MOM! BEFORE YOU BREAK MY FLIPPING HEART.

We have taught her to say flipping because her Mommy (that’s my name, thankyouverymuch) used to use another word that starts with F, before she saw the very public error of her ways.

The Girl also rolls her eyes, puts one hand on her hip, shakes her finger and SIGHS. She says “Seriously?” and “You have GOT to be KIDDING ME” and “For HEAVEN’S sake, Mom.” I have no idea where she got that behavior. She also uses the word behavior, as in the following exchange:

Me: Please stop putting your lip gloss on the dog, honey.

The Girl: Why?

Me: Because I said so.

The Girl: Because you said so? I’m not stopping my behavior because you SAID SO, MOM.

Superior parenting at work, folks. Looking at the nuance of that inflection. Genius!

The dog has been “breath-ing” (like breathy, but with an “ing”) a lot around our house. His arrival delayed the acquisition of a Christmas kitten, causing a very unexpected tiny level of trauma (mostly on my part), which just proves that the formula for preschool meltdown is this:

ExpectedOutcome + RationalExplanation – (Hunger + Thirst + Exhaustion) * WhoTheHellKnows = ActualOutcome

This formula means that you can predict a meltdown with about the same level of accuracy as “scientists” who deny climate change and sea rise.

On the plus side, wow, does The Girl ever look stunning in her holiday dress and HALLELUJAH she agreed to wear it on Christmas Eve. Another unexpected outcome, because lately she is 3 going on 39, preferring her juice in a thermos and “soft pants” when she leaves the house. In her defense, they DO have a yoga class at preschool…of course, that’s only on Thursday afternoons, for about 30 minutes, but who am I to judge?

All of this to say that I’m grateful..for unexpected outcomes, for the floatsam and jetsam of preschool parenting, for a good glass of wine…and a slice of pie, a shot of tequila…you know, whatever it flipping takes.

Enough about me….how are YOU?

The Words, The Words, The Words

keep_calm_and_use_your_words_by_topher208-d56nitfOur daughter is THREE. A friend on FB tells me to write down the words, because moms get so busy momming, they forget, and then – blink – your kid is 45, pushing your wheelchair through the crowd at your granddaughter’s junior high graduation.

So here are some of the words – full sentences now because she is THREE, but with spelling faithful to the pronunciation.

“These binocleears are for watching birds with Granny.”

“NOOOOO!! I can do it MYself.” [forty-five times a day]

“I can’t eat yogurt from this, Mom. I said I need the green bowl. Not the pink bowl. The green bowl. [pause for emphasis] This bowl is pink. I said the GREEN bowl, Mom.” [In my defense: I’m not color blind or deaf. The green bowl was dirty.]

“Only kids can use this water [in the birdbath] for painting this [the iron railing on the porch stoop]. Grown-ups don’t know how to do this. Only kids know how, Mom. Only kids. Not you, Mom.”

“You can’t drive until I’m done with the buckle, Mom. STOP DRIVING! I have to figure this out.” [she unbuckled her car seat to ‘fix’ it]

“Get away from me.”

“I want to have you.”

And there, my friends, are some of the words. Lord knows I have enough angst within me I could analyze them. I could talk about how broken the adoption industry remains, count the annoying comments from strangers, express the disappointment that our agency – ours, the one we like so very much – still can’t grok the way we built our family…but it’s late and I’m tired and just want to rest in being grateful.

But please do remember this: families are built in lots of different ways and until birth family has the same power as adoptive family, authentic “mutual regard” is pretty impossible. It’s like trying to tell the truth to your boss: sure, you might think you have a great relationship, but your boss can fire you. So really how honest can you be? Don’t forget that please, adoptive parents, k?

And in the meantime, “I want to have you,” so drop me a note and tell me what parenting (grand or otherwise) is like in your orbit.