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Lessons From Mr. Billy Bones

I always say that parenting teenagers is like a ride at Disneyland, half of the time you are laughing and the other half you want to cry. It often involves saying no, questioning motives, motivational speaking for the selective hearing and did I mention saying no. Whenever I have a chance to lighten the mood or throw a little fun into our day to day lives, I do it wholeheartedly! So when I came across an adult size skeleton staring at me from the aisle of my local store, I knew it was time to have some fun!

Mr. Billy Bones, as I have lovingly named him, took a ride on the conveyor belt and then the back seat of my car. I was leaving town before my family was to arrive home for the day so I dressed him up and left him sitting on the chair in the living room, waving gracefully in the direction my kids would walk into the house.

I think it’s very important for our children to grow up really knowing who we are. The good, the bad and even the parts they may call a bit crazy! I know I have accomplished this since my children, who are now teenagers, just smirk and giggle at my shenanigans. From dancing in the kitchen to Ice Ice Baby like I am 19, crying through the end of Disney movies, to bringing home skeletons and naming them, my kids know to expect these things from me. But this little shenanigan turned out a bit differently than expected.

The morning after I left town I woke up to a picture of Mr. Billy Bones sitting at the dining room table eating an orange for breakfast! The day after that I woke up to a picture of him sitting on the couch wearing a wig while holding a glass of wine and the T.V. remote! This continued through the week and when I arrived home at the end of the week I stumbled upon him “hiding” in my pantry dressed as Waldo! In the days since, he has been found doing homework, stuffed into a laundry hamper, bathing in the kids shower and most recently lying in my daughter’s bed (a gift from her brother). And there is always a loud burst of laughter from the one who finds him and a look of complete satisfaction from the one who placed him.

Watching Mr. Billy Bones move around my house without my assistance has taught me a valuable lesson about teenagers! Just as life can get heavy and stressful for adults it can feel that way for our teens as well. We place so many expectations on them almost as soon as they lose all their teeth and weigh enough to sit in the front seat. What if they need more time to adjust to the path of adulthood? It shouldn’t be like launching a rocket, it should be more like watching a caterpillar become a butterfly. As a mom it reminds me that my kids, even though they have new responsibilities, still need to find time to play. Even when it seems silly. Especially when it seems silly.

What a joy it has been for me to watch my kids turn my shenanigans into theirs and laugh hysterically between math assignments, social drama and school deadlines. When my younger two head off into the world I want them to understand the balance of work and play. So clearly this is something I need to teach more, which is why when I left town this morning Mr. Billy Bones was sitting on the toilet in the master bathroom waiting for my husband to come home!


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