So this happened...
A few nights ago, my wife yelled from the other room, "Hey hon, the balls are in the bag by the door."
I caught the eye of my middle schooler.
Commence uncontrollable giggling.
My wife walked into the kitchen to find the two of us doubled-over with laughter. With her eyes rolled way back in her head, she said, "Seriously? You are such a middle-school boy. Balls. Balls. Balls. Balls."
That did not help squelch the snickering.
Like the mature parental unit that I am, in between my wheezing laughter, I pointed and blamed my daughter, "What?! She laughed first."
Not one to take the fall for her dad, Middle said, "Yeah, but I have an excuse... I'm actually in middle school."
I let Middle read this story before publishing it and, as she giggled through my retelling, she asked me, "Is there some lesson to learn or is your post just about balls?" Sheesh, does everything have to have a lesson? Tough crowd.
Judge me all you want about my junior high giggle reflex, but there is something very sweet about my girls (three daughters) being able to tease me about boy stuff. In these moments of laughter and through the conversations that will follow over the years, I we are helping to create safe space where our kids can/will actually talk to us about issues of sexuality and intimacy. We are also developing "inside" jokes and memories in which we can seek refuge during times of extreme boredom or family drama. Most importantly, I am laughing and being silly with my kids, not an unimportant activity when somber events of the world can so often overwhelm our playful spirits.
So the lesson: giggle with your kids more.
Hey Middle, "Balls."