My grandson, Christopher, always loved to play in boxes, baskets, cupboards, or any other possible hiding place. I’m not sure why he liked these places, but I do know that picture after picture of my grandson finds him grinning happily from his hiding place as he peeks out to see if anyone is watching him, or if his parents can find him.
I am always amazed by the things toddlers see as being all important. Little ones are continually watching their parents and other adults around them to see what they are doing. Little did we know that our every move would be watched and mimicked…until we had kids that is. It makes you want to think about the things you do and say, doesn’t it? Children interpret the actions of adults as being what the cool kids do. Then they do everything in their power to imitate those people who are so important to them.
We always found that with Christopher, the household chores were the most important part of his day. His waking hours would find him “folding clothes” or should I say, unfolding the ones Corrie had in the basket or taking the unfolded clothes out of the basket, because there was something about that basket that made it very important. If it was a good enough place for the clothes, it was good enough for Christopher…so, clothes removed, enter Christopher, and there he would be sitting in the basket grinning…with the clothes all around the basket.
Christopher was also very interested in the kitchen work. Given a free moment from taking care of all the family’s laundry, Christopher would make his way into the kitchen to start dinner for the family. Pots and pans would come out of the cupboards in preparation for the days meals. Sometimes, it seems the pans had moved to the back of the cupboard…as pans will find a way of doing, but little trooper that he was, Christopher would simply climb into the cupboard and crawl back to the back to retrieve the exact pan necessary to making the meal he was working on.
When you are taking care of your family, Christopher always found that the day’s work was never really done. He “worked and worked” all day long…as his parents went along behind him picking up the clutter left behind…but really, how could they be upset when Christopher would present that precious, grinning little face. After all, we can always use a little help in the kitchen…right?
I was thinking about something my Aunt Sandy said to me a while back about talking to my mom about the old stories before it is too late…before she forgets them, or before she were to go home to be with the Lord. Then I was listening to some tapes by Jesse Duplantis, while on a long drive to and from Denver for a class these past couple of days. Jesse Duplantis talks about a minister, or evangelist being a gift from God placed in your life to be a blessing…to get God’s word out to you. That got me thinking abut the other gifts in our lives…our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
Early in our lives these people nurture us, teach us how to grow up, take care of our physical needs, and our emotional needs. They might babysit us, or later, let us spend the night. They are role models for us, to teach us right from wrong, and social etiquette. We learn our early sense of style from them…at least until we are old enough to want our own style. We get our early religious training from them, whether it is to go to church or not, it usually comes from the adults around us. There are so many characteristics, that can be traced back for our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
They do all these things for us and yet all too often we think of them as outdated, behind the times…especially in technological matters, annoying, interfering, and…well, anything but a gift. And yet, that is exactly what they are, and we get to have them for a very short time…too short. Just ask anyone who has lost their parent or parents, and see how they feel about them now. Do they regret that they didn’t spend enough time with them? Yes, because no matter how much time you spent, it wasn’t enough. If I could spend one more day with my Dad, would I do it? Absolutely, and I would treasure it…you have no idea how much I would treasure it, but I can’t. That gift is no longer here, but sometimes in thinking about the gift I have lost, I forget to see the gifts that are still in front of me. Sometimes, I see them as more of a job than a gift. Most of you know that I am a caregiver for my mom and my mother and father-in-law. Sometimes, I let myself lose site of the purpose of that caregiving…which is to keep the gifts in my life, in my life for a little longer. Do yourself a favor, and see the gifts in your life…cherish them…and as my Aunt Sandy would tell you talk to them about all the stories of their past…your heritage, that only they can tell you, and once they are gone, the stories are gone too. Whatever you do in life…cherish the gifts you have been given.
Once a month or so, my cousins Susie and Shelley, hold a get together for my mom and her brothers and sisters and their spouses. My mom is the middle child of 9 children, so the ages are spread from 83 to 66. While all of them that are still with us are in good health, the fact that they are getting older means that there will be less years whereby they can get together, so I think it is a wonderful gift that my cousins are giving to them.
Susie and Shelley make a lunch for them and my mom, aunts, and uncles get a chance to talk about the old days. They reminisce about things they used to do, and laugh about the funny things. They talk about their parents and their sister, Deloris, who passed away in 1996, as well as other family members who have passed away. They talk about what is new in everyone’s lives…new babies, marriages, and sadly some divorces too. Basically, they have a chance to reconnect with each other in a relaxed setting, where none of them has to try to put it all together, because these two wonderful sisters, my cousins, handle all the details.
I sincerely hope that they know how much this monthly gathering means to their parents, aunts, and uncles, as well their cousins, because we all see how much our parents enjoy this time. It is just such a giving, selfless act on the part of my cousins, and whenever I hear about the things they talked about, it really warms my heart. As our parents get older, the time we have to do things for them gets shorter, and we are all so busy. Many of us work, and it is very hard to put the kind of time together that it takes to plan and carry out these gatherings. I want to make sure that credit is given where credit is due. I really appreciate my cousins taking the time out to do this. It means so much to my mom, as I know it does to the others too. Thank you Susie and Shelly for being the sweet angels you are. I hope you know how much you are appreciated. Love you both.
Kids do so many funny things, but one one the funniest is learning to feed themselves. Food gets poured out and wiped on the face and the hair. It gets dumped on the floor and thrown across the room. And that is food they like!! So just imagine the food they don’t like, or think they might not like. It is quite the picture.
Many people in recent years buy a little cake for the first birthday, and turn the baby loose on it. Oh boy, is that a funny thing. Here is the baby looking at all these people who usually aren’t there at mealtime, but for some reason they are today, and then they give you this huge cake, and tell you to go to it. Well ok, sounds good, right? Absolutely!!
Yes, learning to eat can be quite the ordeal for the parents and quite the laughing matter for a baby. Some times the baby just wants to play, and what better way to play than to squeeze the food between their fingers and watch it ooze out. And even the parents must admit, that it can be funny to watch the whole process.
Well, Christopher was a wild one when he ate. The food went everywhere, and sometimes I think he liked putting on a little show for his parents. He has always been a bit of a clown. Maybe its just a boy thing, because as I recall, Caalab and Josh were pretty good at it too. Shai, on the other hand mostly didn’t like being messy. She was a girly girl from the very start. So, to see her really messy didn’t happen as much, but when it did, it was quite funny.
Unfortunately…or maybe thankfully, babies soon learn to feed themselves without all the mess, and those funny little moments are soon over. Perhaps, we should cherish them instead of worrying over them so much. I think that parents sometimes get caught up in the idea of having a perfect child, and they forget to enjoy the funny little imperfections that make up the child and make that child unique. All too soon, those days will be over and the child grown…but then you get the opportunity to go through it all over again with the grandchildren.
When kids are little, all they want to do is be like their parents. Little girls want to wear their mothers heels and makeup, nail polish and dresses, and boys can’t wait to have feet as big as Daddy’s or be as tall or they want to use the same tools or play the same sports.
Kids are so cute when they are trying to be their parents, and wearing their shoes, or the shoes of some other adult. They clomp along, trying not to fall…in shoes that are several sizes too big. And when they do, they just laugh, get up, and totter away again. If they can manage to get up on their own with the shoes that they have on. Most of the time, it seems that they need help to get back up…especially in boots. We look at them and laugh, not just because it is so cute, but because it reminds us of ourselves when we were little. And of course, they are laughing too, possibly at the absolute hilarity of it all. They know how goofy it is and yet they seem to think that you might not realize that they know.
I also find it funny that every time kids put those shoes on, they put them on the wrong feet…every time!! Unless we help them, that is. How can that be? You would think that, at least part of the time they would get them on the right feet, but it seems never to happen. It’s like they plan it or something…maybe, just to be funny. Do kids ever get their shoes on the right feet? I think not, so why should it be different in their parents shoes?
I don’t know what is going through their minds, exactly, but I do know that it is common for them to want to copy the person or persons who have had such a big influence in their lives…at least so far. These are such fun years, and they are so quickly over. Before we know it these little ones are driving and dating and married and having babies, who then try to fill their parents shoes.
Thirty five years ago today, my youngest daughter, Amy was born. She was born 11 months after my older daughter, so for 1 month out of every year, they are the same age. It is something that I think the girls have both loved and hated, but I hope that they will come to enjoy the uniqueness of it. I have always thought it was very cool. I found out that there is actually a name for that…Irish Twins…a bit of trivia that I find interesting.
Amy has always been a short girl, so all of the various nick names were applied to her. I called her Strawberry Shortcake, and her dad called her squirt and shorty. Amy also had big eyes, blond hair and little bird legs, so I called her Tweety Bird. Nick names seem to be a way of life with most parents, and they quickly become little endearing terms. I don’t think parents ever forget the nick names we give our kids. They are just so cute that they are precious memories to us.
When Amy was about 2, I started bowling on a morning league with a nursery for the kids. Corrie had a great time, but it wasn’t quite so good for Amy…at first. The other kids thought she was a “walking doll” and they wanted to carry her around…an idea she didn’t go for, so when I heard this blood curdling scream that I recognized as Amy, I went running to the nursery, only to find that she was fine, and the kids would not try to carry her around again. Problem solved. As I said, Amy was little, but very capable of taking care of herself.
Amy has long since outgrown all of the little girl stories, even if she didn’t grow tall. She is a loving wife and mother, as well as a very capable insurance agent. I am very proud of all she has accomplished. She is a sweet and loving daughter and granddaughter, who is always willing to help out wherever she is needed. There is a saying, “Big things come in small packages” and that fits Amy very well. She may be small, but she is big hearted, a big help, and a big success. And I am very proud of her. Happy birthday Amy!! I love you very much!!
We all do it. Many won’t admit it, but it is true nevertheless. We all hear voices. They are the voices of our past. Our parents, grandparents, teachers, friends…whether they are living or not. Our mind is a big storage facility, a flash drive if you will, that holds the things we have heard, read, seen, tasted and smelled. If you think of a favorite food, that taste will suddenly appear, not as strongly as if you were eating the food, but you know the taste of your favorite food. You know it’s smell. You remember events of your life. Things you have seen, good or bad. They are burned into your memory. You remember stories you have read, or text books, maybe not word for word, but the knowledge you gained is still with you today. And you remember the voices, can even hear them very clearly, of loved ones who have gone on before you, or friends you haven’t seen in a while, teachers from your school days, parents, grandparents, speakers, singers, movie stars and even just the passerby who said something that struck you at the time.
The lessons my dad taught my sisters and me still ring strongly in my head. He told us things like, “Never let the sun go down on your wrath” and “go to church” to teach us the right things to do in life, but the things I remember even more, now that he had gone home to be with the Lord, are the teasing, funny things he said. He would do something, like tug on our hair and then pretend he hadn’t done it. When we would “retaliate” by flicking him with our finger, he would look at us in mock innocence and say, “You struck me!!” We would answer, “I wonder why??” He was an incorrigible tease. He thrived on it, and so did we. His teasing filled our lives with laughter. He never lost that…never. I can still see him coming out of their bedroom in the mornings and the teasing would begin. I would say, “Well, it’s about time!!” And he would shake his finger at me, looking shocked the whole time, that I would say such a thing. Our lives were filled with teasing and innocent pranks. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The pictures they create and the words I hear are with me always. He had an amazing imagination, and you never knew what he might come up with next.
I can also hear the things my favorite teachers said, as well as others who had an influence on me. Sayings with a positive impact are forever tied to the person who said them. I can repeat lines from movies and picture the scene, vividly. Songs I like run clearly through my head, sometimes over and over. Yes, like everyone else, I hear voice…every day. Voices from the past, as well as the present, run like a movie in my head, reminding me of right and wrong…of where I came from…and where I want to be. I would never change the fact that I hear voices.
I see so many people who don’t get along with their parents, and while I do know that sometimes that is inevitable, I believe most times it is simply a bad decision. Parents aren’t perfect, but if we will admit it, neither are we, their children. If children came with an instruction book, maybe things would be better, but it just doesn’t work that way. If kids would just try to listen to their parents and understand that while they might make mistakes in raising their children, they have your best interest at heart.
I am reminded of my own parents. While there were times that we fought, their lessons were invaluable. Of course, even when I thought I knew it all, they were patient with me…when, as my sisters have said, they probably felt much like choking me. I was probably on the list of difficult children, though I was never is any serious trouble. I just went against the grain sometimes. But had I taken a minute to see what was before me, I might not have fought so hard…no, we both know that isn’t so.
Whatever they weren’t, my parents were very moral people. Dad has gone home to be with the Lord now, but my mom is still here, and still training her children to do what is right, even though we are all grown and parents, and some of us grandparents. She still does her best to see to it that we live God’s way, and that our children do too. She and Dad cared so deeply about our spiritual life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Children may not always agree with their parents, and most would say that they don’t want to be anything like their parents, but in the end, when you have great parents, why wouldn’t you want to be just like them…I know I do.
I was thinking tonight about the next generation. Oh, I know, everyone thinks I’m going to complain about their dress, or attitude, or some other such thing, and while I would agree that those things can be annoying sometimes, that isn’t what I’m thinking about tonight. What came to my mind is the simple fact that at some point we will be passing the baton to this next generation.
Many people would cringe at the very thought, and when I think about some of the kids I see, I might have a tendency to join them in that. But we really can’t judge the kids by what they are today, because tomorrow, when responsibility hits them full force, they will change in a moment, just like we did. There isn’t one adult today, who can honestly say that their parents liked the way they dressed, the music they listened to, or the friends they had. They might have liked some things, but not all. And what parent hasn’t made mention of the dreaded next generation and scowled.
Well, just as we were that dreaded next generation and we changed into the establishment of today, so they will become the establishment of tomorrow, and they will look at their children and their friends as the next generation. And they will hope that as they changed into responsible adults, their kids will do the same.
As we did, most kids will grow into responsible adults. If we can instill in them the values we were raised with, and couple that with love and a respect for their feelings, most kids will blossom into adults that we can be very proud of. Kids are looking for approval…from someone. Now I don’t say to pretend that you love their clothes or music or attitude, but when they do something worthy of praise, don’t forget to praise them for it. If you don’t give positive reinforcement, they will act out to get your attention. We can’t be absent from their childhood and expect them to be great adults. We must love and encourage our kids, and most importantly keep their lives in prayer, because that is the most important thing we can do for them.