Friday, May 9, 2008

Childhood Bliss

I learned something today. I learned that I rarely blow bubbles, watch the clouds fly by and/or play candyland with my kids. But give me someone else's kid-- and by gosh-- not only will I blow bubbles, watch the clouds fly by and play candyland (vintage collection of course), but I will also play hide and go seek, dress-up with dolls, and have a simple yet profound lesson about God and his love for us.

It was truly an amazing few hours for me. My soul was happy. I felt refreshed and experienced such love for this little person that was not mine, yet she was mine for those moments entirely. I didn't worry about whether or not my dishes were done, if my checklist was getting completed, or how soon this moment could be wrapped up because I had to start dinner soon. I simply lived through the eyes of my childhood again, and I was happy.

In the midst of this fabulous play date with my little pal and I, I did feel some guilt that it was not MY child that I was popping bubbles and giggling with. I felt inadequate as a mother and sorrow that I couldn't live in the moment with my own children more. And then a thought occurred to me--that THAT just isn't always possible.

Yes--I do blow a few bubbles here and there, but it is usually in between my doing the dishes, editing photo shoots, being irritated at the existence of our dog Spike, mounds and mounds of paperwork, and yelling at my children to stop yelling. Let's not even mention the fact that I worry about if they are eating the best foods each day, whether or not I am teaching them the right things at the right stages of life, if they are getting enough sleep, if I would be a better mom if I got more sleep, whether or not I am reading enough books to them, doing enough artwork with them, letting them experience the goodness of life as God intended for them etc. My mom list goes on and on and on. And so I think that it is just really truly honestly impossible for me to always have those precious moments with my children in relaxful bliss.

Oh, I know that you cynical people are now saying, "those are the moments that your children will remember and you have to make time for what is most important." Bah humbug. I'm ME, for gosh sakes. That means that I try to do everything perfectly but I just can't. And that includes spending wonderful moments with my children--living in that moment--and loving it at the same time.

(At the risk of offending many of you out there), I SAY that I have a plan that can make us all happy! We can give our children those memories, take away the guilt, and give us mothers a chance to enjoy that game of candyland. Interested? Want to know more? Keep reading...

I call it a KID SWAP. I take care of your kids for a day and you take care of mine. This isn't going to work if it's just "babysitting" because then you also have your own kid(s) to take care of as well (and we know just how super-fun that adventure is). Nope--it needs to be your kiddos with me and then you go play with mine.

We'll go out for ice cream, get dirty in the sand, ride a carousel, and pick up hundreds of dandelions in a field to bring home to you. The laughter and radiance of the day will surpass all others. The children will remember the day forever and think on their childhood with such fondness. And then--and this is the genius part---we tell the kids that WE were the ones that spent that day with them. It goes like this:
Brianna is 12

"Hey mom, remember that day that Kai and I spent with Rachel? That was such a wonderful memory for me and I will love her forever for it."

"Why darling, I am shocked! I remember that day perfectly because it was I who spent it with you and not Rachel".

"But I could have sworn it was her because...."

"Don't you remember how we went ice skating and you fell down and cut your knee, so then we found a band aid in my purse and went out for ice cream, and got more whipped cream on it than I would usually ever allow, and then played bumper cars and rode the ferris wheel, and went out for pizza and blew bubbles in our milk, and got our toenails painted and went to a Hannah Montana concert? How in the world would I know all of that if I wasn't the one who spent the day with you?"

"Oh--ya--wow--I guess I was wrong. Thanks mom! That was one of the best days of my life!"

"Mine too, darling."


And then I sneak away, thankful for the list my friend Rachel wrote for me in explicit detail of their day together.

Fabulous. Need I say more?

(Aaron thinks I am wicked for writing this and is so so so so so so embarrassed and says that I need to mention that I am just kidding. Bah humbug.)


Hillybug said...

I am cracking up and would be happy to swap kids if we lived close by! This reminds me of how it is easier to clean someone else's house and not your own, why is that? I can only assume it is because we are serving and therefore we are more willing. Why then do we get tired of serving in our own homes? Maybe I will never know, I can only remind myself that one day the eyes of my understanding will be opened and I will no longer care about cleaing, I will be able to "think" my mansion clean! Wow, that thought makes me very happy!

Summer said...

I love that idea! So great. Okay, so a year from now, when Grace is older, I'll come pick up your kids and you'll take Grace. Deal!

Just the Three of Us said...

Carrie! You crack me up! Only you could think of an idea this awesome and this crazy!

Agnes Minerva said...

I love it! Except that I don't think we should try and disguise it as our own. I think our kids need those precious moments with other adults sometimes. I was totally feeling guilty about not being the one blowing bubbles and playing Candyland. But what was I doing instead? Making cupcakes for Calvin's birthday party. Doing things that moms do. While my daughter and my friend were having a lovely time together. I hope that Charlotte will always have wonderful women - besides me, of course - in her life to look up to. And I promise to do my best to be that way for Brianna, too!

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