Today, I learnt a few lessons from my four year old, Max.
Max has always been my favourite boy's name (sorry baby Owen, but Dad named you). I've never loved a boy's name as much as Max. It is seriously the best! And, I have to say, the name fits my boy to a tee. He lives, he runs, he plays, he snacks, he cries, he exists to the MAX. Everything about this boy of mine is maxed-out, dirty and loud.
My disposition prefers things clean, quiet, and calm. Sometimes, that means we butt heads a little bit. But today, today, I remembered to look at him, and see him beyond the chaos and mess. Here's what he taught me today:
1. Puddles are for Jumping (and bonus lesson: Don't forget the camera, fool!)
Today, at school pick up, Addi and Owen were fast asleep in the car. Max wasn't. I was hoping that by the time I arrived at the school 20 minutes or so before the bell, all three kidlets would be sleeping and I could get a bit of work planned out (or.... nap....). The wide-eyed four year old in the back row of my mini van, practically bursting out of his car seat dashed those hopes to shreds. I unbuckled him quietly and he slipped out of the van. I lifted him over the playground chain link fence so he could play while I kept an eye & ear on the littles snoozing in the van.
Eventually, Max found his way to the biggest, deepest, dirtiest puddle of the school-grounds. He shuffled to the edge, eyes set on the murky water. He bent his knees and brought his arms up behind him. And, as the words "NO! WET! MUDDY! DIRTY" gurgled in my throat, he ceremoniously jumped in. My entire body tightened. He was going to slip, He was going to fall. He was going to scream. This was going to end in misery. But... it didn't. Max was too far away to hear my gasps, he was totally oblivious to the lessons he was teaching me. Instead of soggy socks and muddy jeans, Max's puddle jump escapade had the sole effect of reminding me a little bit of what it's like to be four, and free, and alive.
It was a beautiful moment of candid childhood and my camera was at home on my kitchen table. Oops.
2. Prayers are Answered
It snowed yesterday for the second time this winter. Yes, I did think about staying home due to the inch of snow dusting the world around me, but had people to get places so decided to be brave. It was a nice normal drive, until it wasn't. On West Saanich Rd, I thought for sure we were done for (sidebar: when I told my husband this story, I exclaimed that "I thought we were going to die!!!" and he corrected me, saying "you mean you thought you'd end up stuck on the side of the road like the other cars?" so maybe it wasn't as dramatic as it seemed -- then again, being stuck with three kids under on the ice is pretty dramatic). The road was a sheet of ice and stranded cars lined the ditch. I came to a steep hill - down, then up. If we didn't slide off the road on the way down, there was simply NO WAY I was going to make it back up the other side. Pumping the brakes frantically, my three tiny passengers and I made it down the ice slope without dying (or getting stuck).
I took a deep breath, and we started up the incline with trepidation. The van was running out of steam and the tires had zero traction so I found myself unable to accelerate at all. I uttered a hurried prayer and then called back to Max and Addi with an admonition to pray! Max immediately prayed for help. More specifically, he prayed for help that we would get to the Dr's office fast (hahaha oh four year olds!). When he was done, I was still slipping everywhere. Max said, "Mom, I hear Heavenly Father's answer!" Immediately, we were on the crest of the hill and the pressure on my chest had lifted. Twenty more yard and the road was totally clear, it was sunny, winter was over, and our crisis averted. The crisis that my children didn't even realize was a crisis at all was averted and my heart was calmed. It's always easy to see coincidence in retrospect or to downplay our need for divine help after the fact, but my little Max's remark lingered in the air. To him, it's easy, you ask for help and help will come - and it will come from the person you asked. This scene was imprinted in my memories and in my heart. His prayers were answered and we were safe and for likely the first time in his little life, he knew it. Sometimes, I pray for help that I need, and then things seem to work themselves out and I think to myself something along the lines of "oh, never mind, it's taken care of, thanks anyways!" which I think is a mentality that misses the mark greatly. To the simplicity of a child's mind, He asked, help was provided, and so obviously, the help came from whence he had asked.
Okay so my point here today (in case my writing is bad and you missed it) is not to say you need to let go and jump in some puddles (though you probably should do that) or to say that you need to believe in God or answers to prayers; but rather, my point is that you should look to your children, you should SEE your children, because they have some invaluable lessons to teach us. These are just two of the lessons I learned from one of my kids today.
Maybe I've been blessed with four children because I have lots and lots of lessons to learn from them!
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