We were gathered around our youngest daughter’s crib. She had on her favorite lallow jammies, hugging Blanky, Binky and her elephant, “Fop.”
Because she is highly skilled at delaying bedtime beyond human endurance, we were finishing up a long conversation about kings, queens, princes and princesses.
“Is Daddy a king?” we asked her. “Daddy’th a king,” she whispered. “Is Neely a princess?” “NeeNee’s a pwinceth.”
“Is Beamer a princess?” “Beamo’th a pwinceth.”
Then it was my turn. I decided to razz my husband: “Is Mommy the BOSS?”
Maddy looked left. She looked right. She looked left again.
And then she chortled: “MADDY’S the boss!”
We all roared. But you know something? She’s right.
Our family’s “boss” has a Pebbles Flintstone vertical ponytail. She insists on wearing her ducky rubber boots with her Fourth of July skirt and University of Nebraska football jersey, size 2T. Hers is a fashion style that can only be described as “schizophrenic interdenominational.”
She sits at the lunch table talking to her roast beef sandwich: “Are you the meat?”
“Hi, meat. I’m Maddy.”
“Who’s eating me?”
And THIS is our family’s boss. I mean, does YOUR boss talk to meat? Don’t answer that; I probably have stock in your company.
Actually, she has excellent executive skills. She has mastered the art of exaggerated nonverbal communication. She has an intimidating unibrow scowl if anyone should dare to give her any bad news, like we’re out of Froot Loops.
She is very pro-active, as a boss should be. She is a do-er. She says she “do’s the puzzles” and she loves to “do the piano.” Her favorite thing is to go out on the driveway in her ducky boots after a rain, and “do the puddles.”
The trouble is, there are things Mommy likes to “do,” too. And it’s hard, with a little one always there, tugging at a sleeve and hugging your shins.
One day, I was trying to “do” a little work at the computer. It was a bad-hair day and I was struggling. For a while, Maddy was busy with her toys. But then she started clamoring for attention. She pulled open my desk drawer and knocked over the cup of paper clips. She pulled on the arm of the chair to swivel me around. She tried to grab the keyboard.
I confess that I literally turned my back on her, blocking her, and kept writing, because I was hoping to get SOMETHING done that day. Something “important.”
OK, guilty. I tried to blow off my own daughter.
But like a good boss, she didn’t yell. She didn’t whine. She didn’t cry.
She just said: “Mommy, don’t do ‘puter. Do Maddy.”
I swiveled around. She beamed at me, and tilted her head.
In the long run, what would matter most, getting a few words together on paper for people I don’t even know who may not even read them? Or investing my time and my self in my own child’s heart? No contest.
So I clocked out of “important” things and clocked in to motherhood once again.
We put on the ducky boots and the winter gear and went out into the season’s first snowfall. She sat on the sled and I pulled it a jillion times around the back yard. We followed bunny tracks and had a snowball fight and made a snowman, or at least a snow blob, with grapes for eyes, a carrot for a nose and a little slice of red pepper for a smile.
We laughed and fell down and afterwards we threw our wet stuff into the washer and she got to “do the buttons” to make it go, and then we had cocoa and story, and she took such a long nap that I had ample time to “do the ‘puter” as I had wanted to. It was a very good hair day after all.
I did something “important.” For both of us.
Little ones will do that: grab your attention, make you see what counts, and lead you to spend your time doing things that may seem mundane at the moment, but have eternal significance. Really do.
We’ve all got to listen more to the little ones in our lives. Focus on them. Hear them. See them.
So don’t “do” your grown-up stuff so much. If you’re lucky enough to have children in your life, “do” THEM.
Let them be the boss and choose what to do. You’ll both gain.
Even if it doesn’t involve pulling on ducky boots and talking to sandwiches, chances are, where children lead, you’ll love to go. †
. . . (A)nd a little child shall lead them.
— Isaiah 11:6d
(From the book, “Radiant Beams,” available on www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com as well as Parables Bookstore in Omaha)
By Susan Darst Williams | www.TheDailySusan.com | Radiant Beams Vol. I | © 2016