Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Am I Surprised?

I found myself experiencing honest to goodness, jaw-dropping surprise last night. We're on our way out the door (the girls and I) headed for a quick trip out to the Dollar Tree and Walmart. Kylie can barely contain her excitement as she has $2 that are burning a hole in her pocket. Caitlyn doesn't have any money, but she's not pouting and actually sharing in her sister's excitement as they talk about what Kylie's going to spend her $2 on. Then from the corner of my eye I see John David hand a dollar bill to Caitlyn, the only dollar he has mind you, and say, "Here, now you can get something." Caitlyn just looked at me. My first instinct was to tell her to give it back to him (after I got over the shock), but I realized that doing that would rob him of the pleasure he was feeling by giving the money to his big sister. I didn't want to rob him of that blessing!

As I was driving down the road to the Dollar Tree, the girls busy giggling and talking in the back seat, I was replaying the event in my mind. And then something occurred to me. I should not be surprised. Not because John David is some magically perfect child, unselfish in every way, but because isn't this what Jeremy and I are constantly trying to teach our children? Don't we spend everyday trying to teach them and live by the example that sacrifice and giving unselfishly are the best ways to show love? I realized that it's not that I'm shocked that something we're saying or doing is actually getting through, but somehow surprised that my work as a mom is really making a difference in the lives of my children. Sometimes, I get lost in my "mother" work, drowning in the repetitions of "Don't touch that!" and "Keep your hands to yourself!" and "No, you may not have candy for breakfast!" I forget that all this prodding and teaching that we do does eventually yield results.

As I reflected on this during our car ride, I started recollecting numerous other events very similar to this one. Times when our kids had brought us a drink while we were sitting on the couch when we hadn't even asked for one, took mine and Jeremy's dinner plates to the sink after we were done without being asked, and so many more. It made me so proud of my children and I also found myself admiring them and wishing I was more unselfish at times. Maybe it's just the fact that the holidays are quickly approaching, but I appreciated being reminded by my five year old what it means to truly love.