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The Blue Line

The combination of the warm morning sun and the aroma from the kitchen oven awoke Molly. She sat up, took a sniff and eagerly darted off her bed. Her nose followed the smell of Mommy’s cinnamon chocolate chip cookies. She skip hopped down the stairs, ska hopped into the foyer, into the living room and well on her way to the kitchen. Just when she’s about to enter the kitchen, Molly found Mommy on the floor. Molly was busy laying a two inch thick painter’s tape on the floor. The tape created a boundary at the entrance between the living room and the kitchen.

“Mommy, why are you putting blue tape on the floor?”, asked Molly curiously.

Mom looked up at Molly “Morning sweetheart. This blue line is a boundary.”

“What’s a boundary?”, Molly questioned.

“A boundary is a line between what’s acceptable and what’s not.” Mom pointed to the now finished blue line. She continued, “This blue line is an invisible force-shield to protect you from going into the kitchen.”

Without hesitation, Molly crossed the blue line into the kitchen.

“Molly! Didn’t you hear what I just said?”, Mom frowned.

Molly pretended she didn’t hear anything, “What, Mommy? I didn’t hear anything.”

“You didn’t hear it, huh!”, Mom narrowed her eyes.

“Nope!”, Molly said with a straight face.

“Well, it must be all the wax inside your ear. let me clean that up for you.”, Mom said as she picked up Molly with one hand and tickled her ear with another. Molly begged Mom to stop, “Mommy, please stop tingling my ear. Ah ha ha…”

Mommy carried Molly to the living room and settled her next to a brand new kitchen set.

“Ta Ta!”, Mommy

“I know you always love to help and play in the kitchen.”

“I do Mommy!”

“But for the time being, you can play with this toy kitchen here to your heart’s content.”, Mom said.

“But Mommy, This is not like the real kitchen stuff: with real spoons, real glasses, real knives, real stove…”

“Sweetheart, remember yesterday. Mommy didn’t see you standing behind me. I almost spilled hot water over you.

“But Mommy…”

“No sweetheart. The boundary is set to protect you. Starting today, you cannot cross the blue boundary until I say so, understood?”, Mommy firmly commanded.

Molly folded her arms, stomped her foot and turned her cold shoulder toward Mommy.

Mommy sat down and started demonstrating the features of the play kitchen set. It was a very nice kitchen set and in no time, Molly fell in love with her toy kitchen set.

Molly was friends with the neighboring girl, Betty, who’s also three years of age. Because Betty lived next door to Molly, they can see each other through the windows and they always greeted each other through their windows. One afternoon, while Molly was busy preparing cookies and afternoon tea for two with Mommy in her play kitchen. She was so excited about her tea sets that she wanted to show Betty through the windows. Molly looked up and she saw Betty was freely walking in and out of her mother’s kitchen. Molly fixed her eyes on Betty, watching her take out a real knife to cut her apples, watching Betty stepped on a stool to stir hot soup from a pot. Seeing Betty in the kitchen truly robbed Molly’s joy. It made her jealous. It made her envy. It made her angry. Tears filled Molly’s eyes. She dashed from the playroom toward the kitchen, where Mommy was. Mommy met Molly at the blue line.

“What’s the matter, Molly? Mommy asked as she met Molly at the blue line.

“It’s Betty!”, Molly said as tears poured down her face.

“What about Betty? Do you want another play date with her?”

Molly dragged Mommy out of the kitchen and into the living room’s window. Mommy saw everything.

“You are upset because Betty can goto the kitchen and you can’t?”

Molly nodded repeatedly and cried, “Why can’t I play in the real kitchen like Molly?”, Molly cried on Mommy’s shoulder.

“Because it’s dangerous. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“But Betty’s Mommy let her. Why can’t you? I am almost four years old.”, Molly reasoned.

“You are right. Being four is a big girl. But there are things in the kitchen that could hurt you.”

“I’ll be careful. I promise!”

“There’s fire that could burn you. There’s knives that could cut you. And glasses that could shatter on you.”.

“Betty’s Mommy let her go to the kitchen.”

“Honey! It’s for your own good…”

“Betty’s kitchen doesn’t have a blue line.”, Molly interrupted.

“I am doing this to protect you…”

“Betty could go in and out of the kitchen.”, Molly interrupted her Mom again..

Mommy took a deep breathe and said softly, “Honey! You must trust me. I am doing this for your own good.”

“Not fair!” Molly shouted and ran back to her play kitchen.

Every morning, Molly would be in her playroom and be perfectly content until she saw Betty waltzing into her kitchen. Some days Betty would climbed on a chair to get a glass and pour herself a glass of milk. Another day Betty would grabbed a steak knife to cut fruits. Molly could only envy from afar. The blue line made her sad. It made her angry. It confused her. The only thing she could do was to obediently listen to her Mom. She honored the blue line.

Weeks gone by. The blue line became almost a part of the routine. Molly found new ways to entertain herself with her play kitchen and she got an additional oven and plate sets for Christmas. Even though her play kitchen wasn’t the real thing, but she learned to enjoy it. She trusted that one day, Mommy will eventually let her into the real kitchen.

One morning while Molly was playing in the playroom, she heard a loud siren. She looked up to find a paramedic at Betty’s driveway. “Mommy! Mommy! Come.”, shouted Molly. Mommy ran to see what happened. Her face paled and said, “Molly, stay right there. I’ll be right back.” Molly glued her face to the window trying to make sense out of the situation while Mom ran to Betty’s house. In no time, the paramedics took Betty out in a stretcher that’s full of blood while Betty’s Mom frantically climbed into the ambulance with Betty. It was a scary morning.

During lunch Molly can’t help but asked, “Mommy, what happened to Betty?”

Mom put down her slice of pizza, tried to formulate words that her four year old could understand and then said, “Betty cut her fingers really badly.”

Molly’s jaw almost dropped. “Why would Betty do that?”

“She was in the kitchen. She wanted to crack open a walnut shell. Instead of using a nutcracker, she used a knife. The knife slipped and she cut herself.”

“That’s horrible Mommy!”

“I know, honey! I know.”

Tears poured down Molly’s face. She’s both empathic and in fear.

That evening, as Molly stood by the blue line, staring at the blue line and starring at Mommy cooking in the kitchen. Molly shouted into the kitchen, “Mommy!”

Mommy turned around and said, “Yes sweetheart!”

“Thank you for putting the blue line. Thank you for protecting me.” Molly said and then returned to her play kitchen.

As Molly walked back to her play kitchen, Mommy quietly said, “You welcome sweetheart. I am so glad you finally understand.”

Molly looked at the blue line, the boundary, very differently from that day on.

The boundary was never meant to isolate her. It was there to protect her.

The boundary was never meant to be a punishment. It was there as an act of discipline.

The boundary was there because of her mother’s love for her.

Molly felt truly blessed and never complained about the blue line ever again.

On Molly’s 8th birthday, Mommy finally removed the boundary, allowing Molly to freely go in and out of the kitchen.

Molly is now a mother of two young children. Every time Molly steps foot into the kitchen, she remembers and appreciates how much her mother had protected and loved her by setting the boundary. In Molly’s home, she also set up a blue line for her two young children. She knows that one day, they will learn to appreciate the boundary.


Inspired by an Interview of Arlene Pellicane by Focus on the Family

Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

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