Are You Taking Time To Appreciate Your Kids?
One of my favorite times of the whole day is going into the boys’ rooms to check on them before bed.
Abel, our 3-year-old, is usually in the same place we tucked him in, with blankets nicely laying across his chest covering his body. Asher, our 5-year-old, is sleeping perpendicular with his bed. Maybe near his pillow, maybe not. He’ll have one of four blankets on him over his head. If it’s one of the small ones he’ll be in the fetal position so it covers his whole body. His room seems to get colder than the rest of the house.
As dad, I get to move him into a position that is more conducive to not falling off the bed in the middle of the night, then spread the normal-sized blanket over him to keep him warm.
Last night I sat down next to Asher, and had this moment of feeling unworthy to parent such an amazing kid. My mom has often recounted to me the difficulties I presented as a child, but how much she loved me and couldn’t get enough of me. Asher is incredibly similar, and now I’ve experienced exactly what my mom meant.
3- and 5-year-old boys don’t really stop until they sleep. These brothers are no exception, and they just happen to be best friends. Their days are spent building “cities” with blankets in the playroom for the Hot Wheels cars to live in. Each car is assigned to various people in their lives. Then they make up stories about what is happening, who is visiting who, where they’re going, and what they’re eating.
Somewhere in the midst of it a fight will break out. A little yelling, maybe tears, then be back to play time.
Today they went outside, as it happened to be sunny and near 60 degrees in February in the Pacific Northwest. They played t-ball and ran all over the yard, then drew murals with chalk all over the deck.
Just constant movement.
Only when they sleep do they stop.
Abel may stop to watch TV, but Asher never slows down. He watches TV standing, or sitting and bouncing, then walking around the room. He is constantly talking and moving, asking questions, telling you his thoughts. Since he moved out of a high-chair I can’t think of a meal where he has sat through its entirety.
But last night as I sat next to him sleeping, I realized I have the opportunity to just sit and admire him and love him. To simply be with him.
Perched on the edge of his bed, not trying to disturb him with my weight on the mattress, I stared at his sweet face thinking about the day he had. I prayed for him and blessed him. I thought about all the mistakes I made parenting over the last several weeks and how I need to be better tomorrow. My kids deserve the best. If I’m better they’ll be better.
I know I don’t regularly appreciate how wonderful my kids are. I talk about their awesomeness, write about them, and tell other people how great they are. But what is rare is sitting quietly to ponder and reflect on how special and unique our little offspring are.
As time flies I don’t want to miss enjoying who my kids are. I don’t want to miss opportunities to sit before them in amazement that I get to be their dad. I have the privilege of speaking into and shaping the lives of these incredible people who will one day be adults.
Enjoying Asher’s peacefulness was the first time I had done so in probably a year. I tell him I love him often, but I don’t sit and appreciate him as often as I’d like.
Checking on him at 11pm is usually a task to be done. Something to check off the list of to-dos before going to bed.
That all changes now.
Every night I go into the kids’ room from now until they move out (yes I will check on my kids when they’re old even if they think I’m weird) I will sit and appreciate them. I will appreciate who they are as a person. The value they bring to our home by being a part of our family, and their unique set of traits that helps to shape this tribe.
I will enter their room, sit, think, and admire. Then I’ll realize how small I am, only to dream of how big I hope to help make them.
I encourage you to do the same.
Find a window in your day, or your week, to sit quietly and appreciate your children. Let it warm your heart. Feel the feelings of joy over these little people you get to shape into adults.
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