You think we have it all together. We must. After all, no one in their right mind would have seven kids unless they were either crazy or really good parents. In our family, it it is probably a little of both . . . but definitely insane in the brain! And not a day goes by where my children don’t teach me about parenting.
Time to relax. A few months ago, I was hoping to catch a movie with the kids after dinner, after their showers, pillows and blankets spread across the floor. (…Admittedly, that is code for “Let Daddy lie down on the couch and rest his eyes while purportedly spending time with the kids.”….)
I put the movie in the DVD player, I fluffed my pillow, and I pressed play. Everyone was situated for the family movie except for Faith, my #5, who was trying to squeeze her small frame into my blanket, pillow and body.
“Faith, sit down. The movie is about to start.” This time I said it calmly. Next time I wouldn’t.
“Dad, I’m trying. But there is no room,” she cooed softly.
I didn’t bite. “Faith, sit on the floor. There’s plenty of room.” Yes, this time I snapped.
“But, Dad, I just want to sit by you.”
Most people would have melted with those soft blue eyes, but not me. I wanted everyone to sit in this spot and watch the “family” movie quietly so that I could get some rest.
“Faith, there’s no more room next to me.” I thought about that statement. How can I deal with those words, yet still get my sleep? Let me try this: “What do you want me to do Faith?”
“Well, you could could put your arm around me.”
She smiled. Innocence.
Sometimes parents need to be told what to do. In a split second, my heart was pierced and my mind went racing. She’s right. She just wanted to spend time with me, but I had something else in mind. And with those nine little words she solved her problem . . . and mine.
You see, as parents our world is filled with total chaos: dirty diapers, meals, spilled paint, broken glass, laundry, sibling fights, naps, naps interrupted, soccer practice, violin practice, church, more dirty diapers . . . you get the picture.
And yet in the midst of this chaos, we have a job to do. Unconditionally love our children. That’s a tough job when you have your list of things you want do for yourself. Even though we know, as parents, what our role should be, it often takes a few words from our children to remind us of our job. For Faith, she just wanted to have her Daddy hold her. For Dylan, he just wants to play a board game at 9:00 pm when I am tired. For Alie, she just wants me to listen (and not talk).
What about you? What are your children telling you? Slow down. Play with me. Listen. Laugh.
That’s all they really want . . . is . . . a piece of you!