What Kids Can't Do Without
* Uninterrupted Quality Time
One thing I learned in the past few years raising my own children is that kids absolutely love quality time with their parents. They need/want this more than grand vacations, big presents, or promises.
I can remember Julia as a toddler holding my face still with her two little hands to get my attention. She wanted ALL of me. She wanted my complete attention with eye contact and no distractions from a computer or phone.
This week on vacation as the kids were swimming and splashing in the lake they would call my name and say, "MOM, look at this!" And of course I would turn to watch for a second or two and nod my approval or give a thumbs up sign before continuing my conversation with another adult near by. Finally Mark yelled, "MOM, stop talking and watch me!!!" He didn't want me distracted with a conversation, he didn't want a thumbs up sign, he wanted ALL of me.
Even Micah, with his cute, chubby little one-year old self, will waddle over to us and put both his hands around our legs and just cuddle us right where we are. If I am sitting he will place his head right in my lap and hold my legs tightly, he doesn't want me to move, he wants ALL of me.
I loved watching John with the kids this past week while we were in the mountains away from home, work, and all the distractions of life. He just poured into the kids, a luxury he doesn't always have time for with his busy work schedule. And they each just drank it in. They wanted ALL of him.
* To Feel Totally Loved
Unconditional love is a sacred thing. I think I still am learning exactly how precious it is. To know someone loves you no matter what, no matter how you look, how you behave, how well you do in school, they just love you for simply being you, is such a great feeling.
I know I could do a better job of encouraging my children and giving them a positive word when they least expect it.
Telling them "I love you," right before bedtime is such a sweet thing, but at a meal, or while they are brushing their teeth, or reading a book out loud, is also perfectly acceptable. For there is never a time they don't need to hear it. I have found telling them "I love you," after they are in time out is also a perfect time...just so they never doubt for a second.
We all think our children are the smartest, fastest, brightest, sweetest, funniest little people on earth, and I think there is nothing wrong with telling them this ALL the time. I love hearing compliments from people who love me. It just means so much more coming from someone who knows you and loves you. Reminding your sweetie pie that you think they are the Bees Knees is sure to make them feel honored and loved, and special. I always want my kids to know I am SO proud of them...whether they write their name with perfect penmanship, can sing a great tune, or swim underwater for a few quick seconds.
* Laughter in the Walls
As our children grow, they won't remember all the things we taught them, or all the toys we bought them, or all the trips we brought them on...but I do know that they will remember those special moments when we gave them ALL of ourselves, when we invested in quality time, and they felt really loved. My hope for them is that they remember the laughter in the walls.
Do I take time to just laugh and enjoy my family?
Do I give my children ALL of me?
Do I compliment the big things and the little things?
Do they know they are loved?
Do I watch and listen every time they call?
Do they know how proud they make me?
Will I ever, as a mom, get it completely right?
Perhaps not, but I do know this... I love them, they make me so proud, and I am the lucky one.