Today, as I sit on my back deck while my children play outside, I overhear them telling “scary stories.” They are sitting in a circle in hula hoops taking turns telling the same story over and over again while the other two gasp in “terror.”
It goes a little something like this:
Then there was a big storm, and another big storm and they were in a tent and they couldn’t get out and then when they did, they saw a rainbow.
After I got over the shock of them voluntarily taking turns, I thought, wow we have read way too much Noah’s Ark. My lasting thought however, was pure bliss that the scariest thing they can reference is a thunderstorm. Sweet innocence. So thankful that we have been able to protect them from the truly scary stuff so far. They know nothing of true hunger, abandonment, abuse or even great sadness. We haven’t even lost a pet during their short years. They know Sesame Street, trips to the park, afternoon snacks and bedtime stories. They cry tears of exhaustion after a long day at the spray park and tears of frustration over learning new skills. Happy tears for toddlers.
As they grow into this world our challenge will be to find ways to include them in service to those who haven’t been so lucky.
James 1:27 (NIV)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Yesterday I drove the kids out to my parent’s farm. It’s about an hour drive that we make about once a week. There is something so special about seeing your little ones trod the same ground you did as you grew up. I have so many memories of playing hide and seek, swinging on a tire swing, riding horses, working on 4-H projects, feeding chickens and bringing lemonade out to the guys who were baling hay.
It’s so hard to fully appreciate this upbringing when you are living it. You take for granted the silent nights with no traffic, the beautiful view, the fresh air. Then when you go back and see it with the fresh eyes of your kids you suddenly become more aware of the beauty that God surrounded you with as a child. You forget how long it took to mow the yard, how it always took “forever” to get to your friends house and how much you wished you had sidewalks to ride your bike on. Those things become far lesser important as you see your suburban kids enjoying all that farm life has to offer.
We spent the whole afternoon outside. We squealed on the tire swing. We moved dirt in our Tonka trucks. We checked out the tractor. We had dinner on the deck overlooking the valley. We sprayed each other with the garden hose, then let their little clothes dry outside in the sunshine. It was perfect. That farm will always have my heart.
It makes me curious what my little crazies will look back on fondly as adults. What memories of silly little things will they carry into adulthood and reminisce about later? I have a feeling that it will not be the Pinterest projects I attempt with them, the crazy over the top birthday parties or how clean I kept our house but it will be those summer nights that we took over the cul-del-sac and all the neighborhood kids rode their bikes, the special date nights we took them on to the grocery store, the way their daddy always read them a goodnight story before bed or the wake up song I sing to them every morning.
Today I will stress less and make simple memories with my kids.