Monthly Archives: July 2013
Yesterday while I was working at my little “office space” in the family room, my daughter walked up to me, talking strangely. It sounded like she had a mouthful of stones. It was actually a single loose tooth.
“I didot e’en know da toof wazh loosh,” she told me. (Translation: “I didn’t even know the tooth was loose.”
Less than five minutes later, she bounded up, molar in hand. “Look, it fell out so quickly! It wasn’t even loose yesterday and now it came out. It must be some kind of record.” She was thrilled.
Later that evening, she brought me a pink piece of paper, folded in half. The front read:
To the Tooth Fairy
Address Fairy Land or Pixie Hollow
She had written:
Dear Tooth Fairy,
I heard you like the color pink and you like Fairy Tales. I hope this is true because that is what I designed this as.
I got a loose tooth and lost it in only 5 minutes. It was so fast that I thought that you did not notice it so that is why I sent you this letter.
She placed it under her pillow, along with her tooth. For the record, my kids don’t believe in the tooth fairy. They know that I am the “tooth fairy” and not a very good one at that. There have been times they’ve put their tiny teeth under their pillows at night, dove under them first thing in the morning, and found nothing. I would cringe, tell them that the “tooth fairy” sent me a text message saying she would be late, and to look under their pillow in about five minutes. They never seemed to mind the delay; it was all part of the fun.
When my daughter looked under her pillow in the morning, she found a few coins, as well as a note in reply. I’m not sure exactly what the note said, something Jessica told me she had to keep a secret, because that’s what the tooth fairy told her to do.
Watching kids pretend is a lot of fun. Joining them in their magical world of make-believe at times is even better. It reminds me that not to long ago I was looking for fairy rings and wishing with all my heart I could see just one glimpse of something magical and other-worldly.
The funny thing is, I see a glimpse of that magic every day — in my children’s eyes and in their smiles, in the way they interact and play, in the things they learn and the questions they ask, in the great ideas they have and the joy that bubbles over in their actions.
Every child is a precious soul that has been entrusted to our care . . . otherworldly, yet with potential to change this world for the better, if we believe in them and teach them to believe in themselves and in a God who will always love them and guide them every step of the way.
I love this message by Bart Miller, the lead singer of MercyMe, especially when he says that every day he tells his children that they are perfect and that God has a special plan for them. I’ve told my kids that, but I definitely don’t say it every day.
If I want my children to discover and live their purpose, if I want them to know just how much they are loved, I need to remind them of that every day. Because they are just that precious … and even more.
Also on the theme of true beauty and worth, here’s Bart Miller, the lead singer of MercyMe, sharing why he wrote the song “Beautiful.”
There’s a certain pressure that girls are going to face that I don’t know if guys have to face so much. That’s when the world is telling you how to look, how to act, what to eat, what not to eat, and what you’re supposed to be from a materialistic and physical standpoint. It’s heartbreaking. I can already see it in my six-year-old girl watching TV: “I gotta do this; I gotta have this.”
I’m like, “Are you kidding me? I’m going to get rid of cable.” I’m freaking out. And I know it’s going to get worse as they get older.
The best bit of advice I’ve been given about being a father is that I’m going to have to figure out how to have…
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We had been in our new house (well, new for us) for a couple weeks now, yet the garage still held a number of boxes. I tried to get an early start one morning, carrying in my craft boxes to the family room one at a time, going through them and organizing them, and finally moving them into the closet. While I sorted through one box, my daughter Jessica noticed a container of beads.
“Can I play with these?” Jessica asked.
“Me too?” Aiden, the youngest, jumped up and ran over as well.
I gave them the container of colorful plastic letters and shapes and asked them to work on plates so the beads wouldn’t spill onto the carpet.
“I’m going to make something for you, Mommy, so don’t look until I’m done,” Jessica told me.
I finished with the boxes and, as the kids were still busy with the beads, I went into the kitchen to make them sandwiches for lunch. I was nearly done when Jessica came running in, showing me a string of color. “This is for you,” she called out. “The green bead is supposed to be the middle, because green is your favorite color. Can you tie it for me?”
“One second,” I answered and turned to rinse my peanut-buttery hands. I heard rather than saw what happened. The untied string slipped and the beads fell to the ground, scattering on the tile. She bent down immediately and started picking them up without a word. “I’ll make another one,” she said, trying to smile.
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” I tried to reassure her. “It was beautiful and I’m sure the next one will be even better.”
I was cleaning my bedroom when she came in next. “This time I used the letters,” she called out to me. She reached forward and somehow Aiden crashed into her at just the right (or wrong) time. She lost her grip on the untied necklace. I didn’t even see the pattern before the pieces fell to the floor. This time, I saw the tears although she tried to hide them by picking up the beads once more.
“I bet it was beautiful,” I said. She shook her head. I gave her a hug. “Are you going to try again?” She nodded and ran off.
A little while later, she ran out to the patio where I was helping my husband set up a few things. She handed me something. “It’s a bracelet this time.” I quickly grabbed it before it fell and tied the ends tightly. The “bracelet” could have fit on a doll’s wrist. I tied it and Jessica noticed that it was a little small.
My sister, who had come for a visit, said it could be a ring. “Maybe it’s better as a ring,” Jessica said hesitantly. I slipped it on my finger and my daughter smiled.
Of course, I couldn’t keep a ring of beads on my finger, but I found a perfect place for it. On the top shelf of our computer table I keep a few odd items:
- A bit of PVC pipe and a ping-pong ball — visual aids from a writer’s workshop I attended last year
- A small plastic hourglass — a reminder to make the most of every minute
- A tiny drum ornament on top of which are a penny, a toy car wheel and a golden bee-bee — a unique gift from my son
And now, added to those, is a tiny bracelet-ring made of colorful plastic beads — to help me remember the gifts that come from the heart of a child: adaptability, perseverance, and love.
We just moved from an apartment to a house. The past month has been consumed with packing, boxing, cleaning, unpacking, and cleaning some more. Less than three years ago, when we moved to California from India, we had two suitcases per person, and a couple backpacks. Our earthly possessions fit in ten suitcases. I was shocked to find that 45 boxes and three trips by the U-Haul van still didn’t manage to transport everything we had gathered in the past three years from the apartment to the house. God is good and has definitely blessed us with a lot (and maybe we’ve kept a bit too much of it).
When my mom came to see the house for the first time, we all gathered in the kitchen to pray for our new home. My mom looked around at the kids and commented, “Imagine, you guys are going to be teenagers here.”
I laughed at the thought. It seemed so far away. But afterwards, I began to think about it. Teenagers? Our oldest is eight; the youngest is four. A couple years ago, he was still in diapers. Teenagers?
I pictured my sons, pushing six feet tall, consuming half of the items in the fridge in one sitting, drinking milk straight from the jug, asking to borrow the car keys, inviting their first date home. I pictured my daughter getting her first after-school job, starting to wear makeup, preparing for graduation and future plans. My mind went into temporary overdrive and rapidly proceeded toward a meltdown. I’m not ready for them to grow up yet. Whoever said they’re allowed to become teens anyway?
My youngest son came racing towards me, breaking my runaway train of thought that had been racing full-speed toward the future. “I just flushed the skeleton Lego down the toilet.”
I looked at him, trying to process what he said. “You what?”
“I flushed the skeleton Lego down the toilet because I didn’t like it,” he explained in more detail.
I wasn’t aware that they had a Lego man-skeleton and didn’t think I would have been very fond of it anyway. Still, visions of exorbitant plumbing bills dance in my head. “Please don’t flush anything else down the toilet unless you ask first,” I told him.
“Okay Mommy.” He raced off, probably happy that my reaction wasn’t more severe. I watched him run off, oblivious to all the concerns I had been projecting about their futures. They’re just kids, and I have a long ways to go before they enter those higher digits. Days of adventure and experiencing the world through their eyes.
I reminded my mind not to get ahead of itself. And my heart to just enjoy the moment. Every moment before it goes by and becomes yet another structure on memory lane. They’re just kids, and the world lies ahead of them, waiting to be discovered.
Returning to my unpacking, I resolved to be more mindful, more present in the passing moments, Lego skeletons and all.