The morning had rushed on in a flurry of kitchen clean up, and bedroom clean up and paper sorting and baby care. Each task I found myself engulfed in was accompanied by the steady cadence of an internal reminder…"As soon as I finish this I will _________ with Ella."
The blank was filled in with a variety of activities; read, color, play a game, ask her what she would like to do.
And just as I would finish one thing, say unloading the dishwasher, the baby would cry or have rolled over to the library book basket, pulled out a book, stuck part of it in her mouth and managed to rip a corner off the last page.
Ella looks at me with wide eyes and alarm.
"Yup. We'll just tape that right back on and it will be as good as new."
Before you know it I'm on to something else and I STILL haven't sat to play with my sweet, round faced four year old. I wish I could say that this is just the pattern of one singular day, but sadly, it seems many mornings go this way…you know with a nursing baby, and a 1st grader to get off to school and the craziness of three young girls…and the messes and laundry and meal making…
I try, try, try to be intentional with them, but the flurry of needs and activity can leave me wondering how whole days have gone by and a book hasn't been read or a page colored.
Sometimes, I've come to realize, creating intentional moments in the midst of raising young children can feel like trying to play a chess game outside in the middle of a hurricane.
It's kind of hard to focus. And the pieces start to topple over. And you're chasing them across the yard. And you're not sure which end is up. And just when you get the blown over game pieces set up again…Woosh!
Maybe it's just my life, but never the less...
(Forgive me if you feel like I've said this before, or some version of it too often lately, but it seems to be the dominant theme of this season of life and I'm trying to figure it out as I go. So thanks for listening again!)
On that particular day, the baby eventually went down for her afternoon nap and Ella and I cuddled on the couch to read books and play a game and do workbook pages. We had a fantastic time together and I felt grateful to have had a few moments to connect with just her.
Just as I was about to say "Alright, before the baby wakes up I need to go do some laundry" I spotted the large, poster board sized post it note pages that Scott almost threw out the night before but deemed potentially kid-friendly.
"Hey Ella, want to color a picture?"
Her eyes lit up. "Sure mom!"
Despite the fact that massive amounts of laundry did need to be done, and ideally before her older sister got home (because then things get really nutty), I looked at her and thought…"Oh gosh…she goes to kindergarten next year and then she won't be here during these quiet moments to color with. She'll be coloring with an art teacher and 19 other energetic kindergarteners."
I put one of those pages on the wall in our hallway and grabbed a box of crayons. I suggested a Christmas tree (it seemed the obvious choice at this time of year) and soon we were sketching tree branches and ornaments and piles of presents under the tree.
Apparently, in her mind anyways, this tree was outdoors because she added a moon and birds.
I told her we needed some stars.
She decided we needed some wind.
And so with her sweet, still slightly pudgy four-year-old hand she drew crazy wisps of wind all over that page. Wisps that to the bystander might just look like scribbles. They were not scribbles in her world. Every scratch of crayon on that page had intention.
I love her imagination and her creativity. I look forward to seeing where that creative mind will wander and what she will create and pursue someday. I hope this moment and many others in her days at home create a foundation and a passion for the creative that will always be with her.
I think about her intentional wind and how crazy it looked. And I think about our lives right now and how crazy they feel.
And yet, within the craziness, despite the craziness, in the midst of the craziness, we must intentionally carve out moments to spend in real meaningful ways. Like that Christmas tree and those birds and the stars in our picture, standing steady and beautiful in the face of blowing wind…
Like the presents she drew underneath that tree…if we unwrapped them…if I unwrap them…there might be small ornaments or trinkets within those packages with words delicately written: abundance, blessing, beauty, joy…
Even on the windy days.