From Grumpy to Grateful
It isn’t a large pool by any means. Five feet wide. Nine feet long. Three feet high. It is big enough for an adult to do water aerobics or for a few kids to splash around in the Central Valley summer. My husband bought it last year and put it up again last week, as the highs crept into the hundreds. He fitted it with a filter and put a removable shade above it so the kids won’t get too much sun when they’re out there.
On Monday, the kids spent all afternoon splashing around. Tuesday, the same. They carried Trio-block boats and Lego men out there. They wore goggles and made currents.
This afternoon, first it was “dirt in the pool.” I assured them that any large swimming pool has far more dirt, as does the lake they swam in last month.
Then it was the weather.
“It’s too hot.”
“The water’s too cold.”
It’s summer. It’s going to be hot. The water is supposed to be colder than the air. Otherwise it wouldn’t be refreshing to play in it.
Then it was issues with each other.
“He’s splashing me.”
“She keeps bothering me with the net.”
I threatened with no videos for the rest of the week if they didn’t stop complaining.
Finally, I went inside, upset. My husband had spent hours putting up the pool, fixing the filter, building a sunshade. No gratefulness. Just complaints. If I heard one more issue, I told myself, they’d have definite consequences. My husband had just gotten home and I told him what was going on. He went into the bathroom and I heard the shower running. Two minutes later, he dashed out of the bathroom wearing his swimming trunks. He ran outside and jumped into the pool with the kids, splashing them and singing a silly song.
They’re still out there. I hear the splashing and occasional shout.
My kids aren’t perfect, but why is it that when they take after me in the good things I’m happy, and when they take after me in the not-so-good, I’m indignant? I might not think I’m voicing my complaints, but I don’t think I’ve said much positive about the Fresno heat or the influx of flies this season. I observe when their rooms are messy, but fail to praise them when they remember to make their beds or clear their plates from the table.
And then there are my kids themselves to be, oh, so grateful for. The purpose they give to my days. The companionship and friendship they offer to me and to each other. The ways they are growing and the questions they are asking that show what amazing things God is slowly working in their minds and hearts.
There is also their dad. My husband. Who works all day only to come home to a grumpy household … and dons swimming trunks to jump in a kid-size pool and make his children laugh.
It’s a life and a family I wouldn’t trade for three hundred swimming pools filled with chocolate, chai, and cheesecake (not mixed together, of course). God help me to count my blessings, especially if I expect my kids to count theirs. Help me to realize that what I do and say speaks far louder than what I tell them to do and say.