By Joan Millins
It will come
The other night, our five kids cozied up in our room with their quilts and sleeping bags. It’s quite something when you get five kids together and realize that they are all yours. You remember each of them as a baby, and you look at them all with such love. Seeing your children grow up is one of the most rewarding experiences in this world. But there was a time in each of their young lives when I asked myself “Will this kid ever get potty trained?” or “Am I raising a social misfit?” What I’ve learned is that eventually, if raised in the proper environment, all children will in their own time learn to use the potty, share their toys, and do all the other things we parents are in such a hurry for them to master. The time we spend teaching and loving them is never wasted.
You fascinate me! Take today for example. We’ve had differing opinions about what makes for quality times with our kids, and I’ve always said that it had to involve something special like a project, a new experience, or a heart-to-heart exchange. I stand corrected! Watching you drive the tractor mower for hours today with three-year-old Shawn on your lap and in seventh heaven wasspecial—and it was a revelation to me. There was no dialogue between you most of the time, there was no elaborate project, just a father and son enjoying each other’s company. You are a wonderful father to our children. Thank you for loving them and giving them your all!
The Duplo War
Rules of the game: Find a target and pelt it.
Target: Who else but mom?
It started out rather innocently. The kids needed to clean up their Duplo mess after playtime, so we made a game of it. They had to try to toss the pieces into a bucket from across the room. Most of the pieces missed their target, of course. I playfully aimed one right for Tracy, my husband. I should have known better. The Duplo War was on, and all of the children joined in. All fire was directed at me until my three-year-old knight in shining armor took up my defense. The Duplo War lasted for all of five minutes. The floor was covered with Duplo, but the spontaneity and rush we all got from doing something that normally isn’t allowed and wouldn’t be repeated was fun and bonding. Afterwards, we all pitched in to clean up the mess, and we had the room spick and span in no time.
The lesson for me was that it’s okay to sometimes temporarily suspend the rules, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand and no one gets hurt or gets their feelings hurt. I remembered that some of the fondest memories of my childhood are of crazy things my parents let me try. For example, when I was four and we were living in India, I watched people from the humblest of circumstances walk barefoot on the street, and I wanted to try it. My mom explained that the street was dirty and hot, but when I insisted that I still wanted to try it, she let me. She carried my shoes so I could experience the road “Indian-style.” Boy, did I feel cool! I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to do it again, so I savored the moment. My feet got burned--not fun—but what a memory!