The Day Our Son Got Caught on Tape

Caught. I’m still laughing about the time our son got caught on tape.

Every parent likes to catch his kids doing good. We also desire that they will be caught if they’re in the wrong!

Every Wednesday morning during the school year, we mothers prayed for our kids. As part of Moms in Touch, we had a bond. There were two prayers one heard consistently in that room weekly as we stormed the gates of Heaven for our kids.

First and foremost, we didn’t care if our kids made it into Harvard; we wanted them to make it to Heaven. Harvard? Maybe. Heaven for sure. But that’s a story for another time.

This story is about the second prayer: that our kids would be caught if they were doing something they should not be doing.

We have stories we can tell, like the mom who found a test paper with her forged signature on top of her desk after her son left for school. Somehow he’d failed to put the test with the failing grade with her forged signature back in his backpack. You can be certain there were consequences waiting for him when he got home. But at Moms in Touch, we spent some time laughing as well as thanking God for answered prayer.

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photo credit: Kasey Rising Moore

Then there was the time our kids were sledding in the woods behind the house. They had built a fire at the top of the hill and at the bottom. Dave checked things out and then came back to the house where the adults visited and drank hot chocolate.

Weeks later, I came home from town one day and checked the answering machine. What to my wondering ears should appear was a story too good to be kept quiet – only it was meant for our son’s cousin.

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“Let me tell you, man! You can’t tell anyone about this!  I mean, if my dad finds out, I will be in big trouble!”

“No, man, I promise I won’t tell. They won’t hear nothin’ from me,” his cousin assured him.

In our absence, younger son had decided to put the rest of the gasoline on the fire to help it flame a little more [entirely allowed by their father who felt they knew what to do]. Only this time, he decided to shake the can until every drop was completely gone. Right. Over. The. Fire.

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The blast knocked a hat off the kid’s head as the empty can, now blazing brilliantly, rose to the treetops and sent everyone else scurrying. The boom startled everyone and the guilty child lunged, crawling away from the fire. In an instant, the night sky was ablaze and the fire rose, swirling over the treetops. Some of the kids said they felt their ear canal close up and others claimed (later, after we found out) they heard ringing in their ears for days. Our ten-year-old daughter, upon hearing the boom and seeing the sky light up thought Jesus is coming back!  All of them waited, quaking, for us to come running out of the house at the explosion, but we saw and heard nary a thing.

Every child present was sworn – and doubly sworn – to secrecy. No one was allowed to tell. No one was allowed to say anything about what had happened. No one wanted to tell, for no one wanted anyone to get in trouble!

No one broke the code of silence, except for the oldest of the group who had been designated as the responsible sibling. He was the one who had charged the others to keep their mouths shut.

A few days later he called his cousin to tell him what he had missed at the sledding party.

Somehow he managed to hit the record button on the answering machine when he called his cousin, and we got to hear exactly what happened, detail by detail. In between each detail, he kept saying, “Listen, man, you can’t tell anybody, you hear?” and each time the cousin assured him he wouldn’t tell.

By the time I was done listening to the recording I was laughing so hard – and remembering our prayer that if our kids did something wrong, they’d be caught. He was caught, all right. Only he didn’t know it yet. We had proof, and we had it all on tape.

That evening Dave asked guilty son what happened at the sledding party. Our son’s first response was to feign innocence. Then, when he sensed we knew about the explosion, he asked us who told because that sibling was going to be in trouble with him.

Imagine his chagrin when we showed him the tape and let him listen to his play-by-play account of what we were never supposed to find out.

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The funniest part was the way he tried to downplay the incident to us as being something totally inconsequential. Of course, the version he gave his cousin on the answering machine tape told a different story! Why I never kept a copy of that tape is beyond me. What fun it would be now to listen to it fifteen years later!

In the end, we thanked God for keeping our kids safe that night – and the many other times their stupidity could have caused harm or accident. We thanked God that, at least this time, our child had been caught.

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