He's tugging on my jeans, a car in his hand, saying: "Mama, play cars? You play cars? You play?" And I am standing at the sink in front of a pile of dishes which mirror the pile in my mind. The pile of to-do's, deadlines, laundry, dreams.
He wants to play. He's 2 and he wants to play.
And my 9 year old son is in the background reading Harry Potter on the couch. He hardly asks me to play on the floor with him anymore. Board games and kicking soccer balls, maybe, but mostly he wants to play with his peers.
I am at a crossroads. I can tell my 2 year old I'll be there in a minute, hoping that minute turns into 20, that maybe he will get lost in play, and I can get some things DONE. Because nothing ever seems done in motherhood.
I have a choice.
And I am thinking about giving thanks and getting grateful and his little, sweet, squishy hand and his angel-blonde hair and big blue eyes and his plea to play are in front of me.
I set it all down. Get down on the floor. Lay down my lists. And play down on my knees.
Gratitude wells up when I get down.
And aren't we grateful? Because children know how to play. They know how to Zoom! and how to giggle and how to make up grand stories and ideas and tell me that I am pretty in my sweats and a ball cap.
Children know how to ask for things. Children know how to create things. Children know how to invite themselves (and everyone else) to everything. Children know how to wonder and tell over-the-top-stories and how to slow life down. It would do us some good to take notes from these little teachers.
For those of us with Littles under our roof, we may not think there is "soul-healing" happening when we are with our children, as Dostoyevsky suggests. If we are an honest bunch (please, let's be an honest bunch) then the idea of soul-healing might be a day away, a night out, a Saturday morning off. No shame in that. Craving rest is real.
Teaching children, raising children, helping children is not for the weak. It is for those who can get down low, eye-level with the WORLD, and stop. It takes the strong to stop. To get low. To play.
When I look into little eyes and hearts and hear little stories and raspberry little bellies and see that they carry no care in the world, I am thankful. I am thankful that we have not hoisted our worry and our weight upon their sweet little shoulders and they can play with freedom and joy. They can play without a watch on their arm and without a deadline in their mind. They can play in lands of fairies and pirates and race-cars. And it's healing.
Their freedom brings healing.
Their silliness lightens the scene.
Their innocence helps us sing.
We can get grateful about that. Today, may we look at a child, square in the eyes, and get down low with them. Listen to a story they have, join them in their world, feel the weightlessness they feel. And see what healing comes.
God, thank you for carefree, creative and colorful children. Thank you that they are resilient and full of wonder and questions and thoughts to share (so MANY thoughts to share!). Thank you that they are free and funny and little and light. Thank you that you made them and you love them and you have plans for them. Good, good plans for them.