How often have I been guilty of listening to my daughter but not really hearing her? I'd respond automatically, a yes, a oh wow!, however I would not stop and look her in the eyes. The dishes in front of me needed washed, the floors swept, the bed made, the list could go on and on. While those things are all fine and good, isn't stopping and looking into those baby blues even gooder? :)
My daughter knew I loved her, but did she feel the love? Was I showing her she was important in my life? Worthy of my time? I believe our children are people as well, persons who deserve our respect. What was I conveying to her through my lack of true interst? Do I want to play CandyLand with her when there are a million tasks beckoning at me. Truth be told, I do not. Do I want to create lasting memories with her and have her remember that Mommy took time for her? Absolutely.
I've ebbed and flowed through seasons. I'm currently out of one of the darkest seasons of my life (a story for another day), and while in some seasons it seems easier to make that time for them, it is always worthwile.
Yesterday, I awoke her early from a much needed nap, and asked her if she would like to help me prepare dinner. She gave an enthusiastic yes and leapt out of bed. While we minced garlic and browned rice, mixed up the coating for our chicken and applied it, she kept telling me how much fun she was having, how much she loved Mommy and Amaiyah time (without little brother being present) and how much she loved working in the kitchen. It blessed my heart so much, yet made it ache at the many opportunities I've missed. When I'm so caught up in myself, my selfish “needs”, my own feelings. Oh baby girl, I'm sorry! I'm going to look ahead, not dwell in the past, and hopefully with the Lord's help be mindful of these few short years I am given with these little ones at home.
We have been given the privelage of raising our littles. It is our responsibility to train them. I also believe it's our greatest blessing to make this time enjoyable. I firmly believe these younger years are so critical to how they will respond to use during the later years. A child who had been given your time and knows you genuinely hear them when they talk to you will be way more apt to come to you in those turmolous teenage years.
I know I talk a lot about making memories. If you hear me speak in real life, you know that is definitely true! But rest assured, memories do not have to cost money. While taking our kids to the zoo, the movies, the beach vacacation, etc, can all be well and good the best kind of moments (in my humble opinion), really do cost nothing. Baking a cake, making dinner together, family game night, reading books together, exploring the woods, gardening together, all of these are such sweet, sweet opportunties for them to learn and grow while bonding us even closer together. My daughter loves little tea parties, they both love dancing in the living room to old records, they love going to the library. Really, I hope the everday stands out first and foremost in their minds.
The greatest gift we can give our children is LOVE.
We love them with our attention, time, and genuine interest. I truly, truly believe this.
So, be blessed friends and go love on those littles of yours!