Kids Who Touch the Cactus

Traveling through the Southwest for Thanksgiving Break has confirmed we have two kinds of kids: those who believe a cactus is sharp and those who have to touch it themselves.
Kids who touch the cactus are also the ones who feel my hot curling iron, who pick up the hotel phone hundreds of times to make sure it works, who grab snow bare-fisted to check if it’s cold, and who teeter at the edge of a cliff to see what the side of the mountain looks like.
My other two kids don’t need to walk in front of cars to make sure they’ll stop. Upon sitting down in a white-tablecloth restaurant, they don’t have to bang their spoon on the crystal glass, just to see what sound it makes. They don’t need to take a bite of the New Mexican red chiles, to test if they really will burn their tongues.
We are on Day Six of our vacation, and my two curious kids are wearing me out.
This is what life must have been like for the mother of Peter, the disciple. He must have been impulsive and curious his whole life. We see it throughout the gospels (How would it feel to walk on water? I’ll give it a try…). I’m just guessing his mom had some stories about Peter trying to ride the wild donkey, touching the lepers, to see if he would get sick, and taking the dark, dangerous path to investigate where it led.
Just like in every family, the impulsive, passionate kid has a steady, sensible brother. Peter’s brother, Andrew, never cuts off anyone’s ear. Instead, the Gospels don’t mention him much. That’s because he probably stayed close to Jesus, listening to His instructions and rolling his eyes at his brother.
At least that’s what happens in this family. For every Doubting Thomas, who has to touch to believe, we also have a Nathanael (literally), who takes life at face value.
Even though our family’s Peters might be exhausting, they also make some remarkable discoveries. Burned fingers or not, they keep touching, exploring, talking to strangers, tasting, and otherwise blazing through life.
So, while I’m a little nervous that my little Peters look longingly at M’s beer and say, “Can I drink that?”  I’m also amazed at the discoveries these two make. Taking Sam and Catie anywhere, especially on vacation, is an exhausting, entertaining adventure.
Just yesterday, Catie descended on a frisky dog running around the hotel grounds. Ten minutes later she had interrogated the dog owner’s family and extended family. The rest of us stood by while Catie asked two of the family’s group, “Are you married?” (They were not. They had just starting dating, and this was their first trip together. Which made the whole exchange a little awkward.).
While visiting the hotel’s horse stable, Sam asked the Clydesdale handler if he could ride the skittish horse. Before M or I could point out the horse was unsaddled and clearly agitated, the trainer hoisted Sam onto the horse’s bare back and instructed him to “Hold onto the mane!’ while they went for a jog around the stable.
The Peters of life make it so interesting. These two will need to taste the beer, meet the strangers, go on the crazy road trips, and see for themselves what happens on the other side of midnight.
But, at least I’ll also have two kids who stick close, who don’t need to see how it feels to ride on the hood of a car, and who don’t have to experience Tijuana after dark.
What about your family? Do you have a Peter and an Andrew?
Or, Lord help you, two Peters?


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