"Matthew Porter, if you jump out at me from behind that armchair, I will NOT be impressed!"
Even though I couldn't see him hiding there, I just knew he was crouching low, waiting to pounce with an explosive, "RAH!" the minute I walked past. Sure enough, the words were no sooner out of my mouth than a flash of 16-year-old male bounced awkwardly from behind the chair and stumbled across the room.
"Aww, that's not fair!" Matt complained with a laugh. "You couldn't have seen me there. How did you know I was hiding?"
Walking past my son, who by then was lying spread-eagled in the middle of the floor, I gave him the benefit of my most enigmatic smile together with an "all-knowing" nod of my head. Then, in a voice that dripped with parental superiority, I simply said, "I just knew."
Matthew was puzzled but basically let it go and accepted my apparent ability to see through solid objects as being just one of those "Mum things".
That was the first day.
The next morning we were together again -- this time for the trip to school. Matt was in the driver's seat, getting some more experience, and I was acting as the supervising driver in the passenger seat beside him. As was the usual case on this daily jaunt, we were chatting and enjoying the little slice of time we had in each other's company before the busyness of the day began.
Every now and then I'd remind Matt to watch his speed or some other little thing, but for the most part he was driving to his usual standard, which is an excellent balance of confidence and carefulness.
It wasn't until we came to a little row of shops on a busy street, that the second opportunity to astound my son occurred. As we drove past the cars and trucks that were parked along the kerb in front of the shops, I casually said, "Matt, I think a man is about to step out in front of that truck, so you might want to keep an eye out for him."
Just one second after I predicted it, a man appeared around the front of the parked truck.
To say that Matt was surprised would be an understatement. To borrow a good, old, British term, he was gobsmacked ... which really isn't a desirable reaction from a learning driver while in control of the car.
"How did you know that?" He asked, in slack-jawed wonder.
Once again I simply smiled mysteriously, winked and said, "I just did."
By now I was thoroughly enjoying the fact that my son was starting to wonder whether his dear, old Mum was in some way omniscient.
I did actually attempt to explain how it was that I knew, but Matt seemed to prefer his own version of events, particularly after the episode of "x-ray vision" the day before.
So that was the second day.
It was the next night when I delivered my unintentional coup de grace. After dinner Matt pulled out a little cardboard sheet of unbelievably bad jokes that had come as part of the packaging of a dairy snack I'd bought that day. All the "jokes" were a play on the word "moo" or "cow", such as:
Question: What do cows like to ride?
Answer: A COWasaki MOOtorcycle.
I did warn you they were bad!
After dinner, Steve and Kylie escaped, but Matt decided to stick around and continue on with the same theme. Before long we were both trying to come up with our very own bad cow jokes, which led to such gems as:
Question: What board game do cows like to play?
And not forgetting the very best of the worst (in my humble opinion) ...
Question: What do you call the Mad Scientist's cow?
Answer: Frankensteinís MOOnster.
After that low point, I must admit that we both got a little silly. Or sillier, if you want to be pedantic about it. That's when the jokes became completely ridiculous with "MOO" and "COW" being inserted into words that didn't even remotely come close to being similar. Such as:
Question: What's a cow's favourite film?
Answer: The MOOtanic.
It was all pure nonsense that left us weak with laughter ... and that's when it happened.
Matt started his last riddle. "How does a cow ..."
Without letting him finish his sentence, I pointed to the window and giggled, "Through a MOOndow!"
I wish I'd had a camera with me right at that moment. The expression on Matt's face was a classic Kodak moment! He never asked how I knew, but instead stood in front of me with his hands on his hips and a face that showed complete and utter disbelief. Then he turned and walked away, muttering something about it all being just too weird.
So am I an all-knowing, all-seeing Mother?
Well, as much as I would love Matthew to think I had eyes in the back of my head, the reality is that each "astounding" moment had a very simple explanation.
How did I know that my son was hiding behind the armchair? Well, it was basically just a good guess. Prior to that he'd been bouncing around me like an overly energetic puppy, following me from room to room and talking non-stop as I hung freshly ironed clothes in everyone's wardrobes.
As I came back into the lounge room I noticed that my companion had suddenly disappeared and that the house was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. It was really just a matter of knowing my son very well and putting two and two together.
The second day was even simpler, with no guess work involved at all. From the passenger side of the car, I had a clearer view of what was happening on the footpath. I saw a man who looked like a truck driver walking toward the truck and simply made a supervising driver type of comment.
Finally, the old "MOOndow". How did I know that my son was going to ask, "How does a cow see outside her house?"
Well, it wasn't really anything weird or spooky at all. It's just that at that moment Matt would have made a terrible poker player. Just before he asked his question, his eyes had been searching around the kitchen for something to use. I saw his last glance go to the window and then he started his question. It didn't require Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the answer was elementary!
It's a well known fact that mothers and fathers generally become fairly good at reading their offspring. However, they are a long way from being omniscient -- which must come as a great relief to children everywhere! The thought of an "all-knowing and all-seeing" parent would leave most people (whatever the age) terrified to move in case they accidentally took a step out of line.
Sadly, some people feel exactly the same way about their Heavenly Father, believing that His eye is always on them for the express purpose of exacting punishment when they misbehave. But this just isn't true.
When we recognize that we are sinful and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we immediately become God's dearly loved children (John 1:12). At that very moment, God's view of us is changed completely and forever. At that split second in time, He no longer sees us as unholy and unrighteous, but instead sees us ablaze with the holiness and righteousness of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
I've always had a bit of a problem with the song, "From a Distance", because it always makes me feel as though God is watching us like "bugs" under a microscope. The wonderful truth is that our loving God is not dispassionately keeping an eye on us from afar. He is right there in the midst of our every day; actively involved in every aspect of our lives. As the Psalmist wrote:
For the child of God, who understands their position in Christ, there is no fear in knowing that the one and only Almighty God is watching over their lives. Instead, there is a great joy and peace knowing that He is always closer than a prayer and nearer than a heartbeat.
Mothers may not be all-seeing and all-knowing; but praise God, He is!
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