Every year, my children ask if we can carve a jack-o-lantern (or a "punk-o-lantern", as the four-year-old calls it).
And every year, I say "Yes, but I'm not cleaning out the pumpkin guts--you have to do it yourselves."
And every year, they say "Sure thing, mom!"
And every year, I open up the top of the pumpkin, they get a good look at the guts, and then they run for the hills.
And every year, I am left to finish the job, because I paid $3.98 for that pumpkin and I should be a good steward. (Also, because I am a pushover.)
But not this year--for real. When the kids asked for a punk-o-lantern last week, I told them yes, but then I gave an Oscar-worthy speech about how they are growing and maturing and they should be able to handle pumpkin guts, and how the fact that God gave me three strapping sons is surely a sign that He never intends for me to kill another bug, move another piece of furniture, or clean out another pumpkin for as long as I live, The End.
They agreed, and when I finished the carving, they took a deep, courageous breath and looked into the bowels of the pumpkin.
They gave me a look.
I gave them A Look.
And in a moment of creative, problem-solving energy, they decided to minimize their contact with the guts by involving those guts in the final design. They took spoons and pulled the innards out through the mouth, leaving them in a small pile. Internet, meet the end result: Jerry the Barfing Pumpkin.