My children are utterly delightful. Lately God's been reminding me to just slow down and watch them and take it all in. And its so delightful.
Lillian talks nonstop. I mean literally nonstop. It would be jaw-dropping to know the actual number of words she says daily. And don't get me wrong - it's exhausting. There comes a point many times each day when it takes great effort to continue listening. And yet, it's utterly delightful. She talks endlessly about fairies and dresses and princesses and dinosaurs and scarlet macaws and traveling to Africa and books and all her dreams for when she grows up and friends at preschool and Bible stories and, and, and. It's amazing, the insight we have into her thoughts. And to imagine that the stuff she vocalizes is only a small part of the vast array of thoughts she has all day every day.
Evelyn does more of her thinking internally. When she finally asks something out loud, I can assume she's been thinking about it for awhile. Yesterday she and I took some time alone - a rarity in our household - because she wanted to teach me a new rubberband bracelet design that she had learned the day before. So we sat together on her bed, just the two of us, as the others played in the family room, and we made bracelets together. She taught me - what a joy it was for her to teach me how to do something new. We weaved and we talked. She told me her heart felt so peaceful just spending time alone. It was utterly delightful. Have you allowed a child to teach you something new lately? It's pretty awesome.
Gregory is rarely just a boy. He's usually a crocodile or a dinosaur or a bulldozer or a freight train or a bear or a snake. This morning he was a crocodile. I was in one of my feeling-annoyed moods so I banned crocodiles from my kitchen. I just wanted to enjoy my hot coffee without getting chomped at by the crocodile's jaws. But really, thinking back on it now, it was pretty delightful. How funny that he can't settle for just being a boy. It's innate in him to be something powerful and strong and mighty, because that's how God made him - to be powerful and strong and mighty and he knows it deep down within. Later in the morning he and I built towers and knocked them over. Again, he can't do with the boring way with his hands. Oh no. He has to knock down his towers with his bulldozer. Why use your hands when you could use your bulldozer? Totally delightful.
Griffin has been really moody lately. It's tough with a toddler falling at your feet as you're trying to cook or do laundry or simply walk. He keeps falling and crying and banging his head on the floor every time Mama moves. It's tough to delight in that. But then when I listen, I can hear God's whisper to just stop. Just stop and hold the baby. And then Griffin melts into me, and that melts me. And If I find a paci and a blankie, I can get a good 10 minutes of snuggling out of the boy. And it delights my heart. His snuggles heal my heart of hurry and stress and exhaustion. This morning in the midst of towers being knocked over, Griffin laid down on his back on the floor, looked at me with twinkling eyes, and started tickling his own tummy - definitely using charades to say "Tickle me mama!" So I did, and he laughed the most wonderful belly laugh. Over and over and over. Pure and utter delight.
I use this blog probably too often as a way to pour out feelings of exhaustion. But the same children that cause me to be exhausted at a day's end bring me utter delight every single day too. So for all you mamas and daddies out there that are totally exhausted right now, just stop. The laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning are really not as important as we make them out to be. We will have those things to do every day until our days on earth are done.
But the opportunity to be delighted in the endless stories of a five-year-old or the one-on-one time with our school-agers or the crocodile fantasy world of our little boys or the belly laughs of our babies, those are the moments that are finite and limited. They are now.
By no means am I saying that we should abandon our work and spend every waking minute entertaining our children. It takes alot of hard work to keep a household running and it's our obligation and service to our families to do so. But, I think in generations past, as children and adults more naturally worked and played side by side, life was better structured for delighting in one another.
Now, in our plugged-in cultures where we co-exist but interact less, we have to work harder at delighting in the company of one another. It's a discipline that we have to think about and practice.
I'm learning that taking delight in your children is actually something we need to actively do. It doesn't happen upon us. We need to mindfully make a point of focusing on them and turning our backs on all the "stuff" that so easily distracts us.
Ironically enough, the thing that is distracting me right now is this very blog. I played with my kids all morning and needed a little break. So as the boys nap and Lily plays in her room, I am having some alone time. But now my alarm is buzzing at me because I promised Lily I'd come down and read to her at 2:00. We have a book about tornadoes that we've been waiting to read. So now it's Lily time.
And it will be delightful, because she always is.