When I began vacuuming today I noticed my two year old son sitting on the rug by our stairs with a book in his lap. The book is about one-third the size of his entire body. As he sat there pouring over the pictures in his book, a peaceful yet intent expression on his face, the sun shone it’s light through a nearby window and highlighted the tips of his pale-yellow hair. The image was so sweet and genuine that it caused me to feel a little choked-up. It also got me thinking about memories I have of each of my children, and of how those memories will likely keep me company throughout life, even when I am old and grey.
I recognize that not everyone is inclined to want children, and that is just fine. The world needs adults that are not so tied down to one spot or one situation. People are needed in the far reaches of the world to administer medical care or help with famines. On a more local note, employees without children can often be relied upon to fill in the gaps when another employee’s child is sick, thus keeping that employee home for the day. In other words, adults that are childless are free to do things that parents are not, and there is certainly value in that. However, there is great value in being a parent, and adults with children get to experience all sorts of things that their childless peers do not.
I have been there for the first steps of all but one of my children, and the smiles they shared with me at those times made my heart swell with happiness and pride. Rocking them to sleep in the middle of the night and feeling their warm little bodies and steady breathing calmed me to complete contentedness. Listening to them learn to speak individual words, and then to combine those words in rudimentary sentences has been a joy to my world.
Three of my four children are in the double-digits now, but I still take joy and pride in their growth and successes. My oldest son enjoys drawing and coming up with his own card games. Seeing him hunched over a sheet of paper with his pencils and erasers scattered around as he intently and skillfully draws out his characters helps me to see the dedication and control he is capable of. My second oldest likes to go out on bug hunting adventures. When I look out my kitchen window and see him scouring the grass and sides of buildings, looking for an insect or arachnid, I am reminded of myself at that age. My only daughter thoroughly enjoys a good book and rarely misses a chance to sneak off and hide away as she devours it. Her interest in reading reminds me of my mother and inspires me to pick up a book more often.
My memories of my children are not always based in exact moments or events. Oftentimes they are impressions and feelings that I have. These impressions and feelings are inspired by their smiles, laughs, words, interests, and skills. It is difficult for me to explain, but I am sure some other parents out there know what I speak of.
It is my opinion that children generally are not valued as much as they should be. There are so many things in our lives today that distract us from our kids and their wellbeing. Work, entertainment, money, friends, hobbies, they all carry the potential to rob time away from these gifts from God. As parents, we must be diligent and deliberate in setting aside not only our time, but our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual energy for the purpose of using it for our children’s benefit.
I have said my piece for now, and I should get going. My toddler is crawling up to me, tongue lolling out of his mouth as he pants, pretending to be a puppy. He wants me to throw his ball for him, the smile on his face is broad and bright, my love for him dictates that I comply. More memories are sure to follow.