My boys are forever keeping me entertained (and I mean all THREE of them). Sometimes the things they do and say are so funny that I laugh until I cry. And sometimes the things they say simply DO make me cry. Take today, for example. Actually, let me back up. We've been living here in our town for almost three years, and every summer there's a fresh vegetable stand on the corner of a busy intersection near our home. Last year was the first time we'd actually stopped to pick out some fresh produce and support the local farmer. Everything we got from there was delicious and so we kept returning. But I must say that I haven't always been impressed with the demeanor of those working. They're not incredibly friendly, but I probably wouldn't be either if I sat baking in the heat every day. One day, Cody and I hopped in the car to do our usual jaunt to pick out corn and such, and it was toward the end of the season, so there were pumpkins, gourds, and other fun things that would intrigue any kid. Or adult for that matter. And there was much rejoicing and touching and excitment about the fresh produce. A couple of things fell to the ground, and as Cody tried to put the items back in their bins, a very stern looking face and voice met my little then four year-old, and let's just say that it's been a year and he still remembers her reaction.
Fast forward to today. We were driving by that corner where there is no longer a produce stand. We're not sure if they have stopped selling their wares on this particular corner or if they're just not at all...perhaps they'll set up later in the season. However, upon seeing their absence once again, Cody said, "Mama, where is the fresh produce stand? Why aren't they open yet?" I was driving and there was an accident up ahead, so I was slightly distracted and kind of shrugged his question off with a "Hmf, uh, not sure" kind of a reply.
There were several moments of silence, and my sensitive little one said, "Maybe it's because of me. Maybe they closed down the stand because of me."
I turned around to see these two sad little eyes and I literally stopped the car, turned around, grabbed his hand, and said, "Honey, no. No way. You didn't cause that stand to close. If anything, it closed because they weren't always as nice as they should have been to their customers. They should have been thrilled to have such an excited little boy looking at their vegetables! You did nothing wrong, and I don't want you to worry one more second about this! It was not your fault!"
Relief swept over his face and I could see him lighten a little. To think that he's been thinking that all this time.
I share this story for a couple reasons. First, I know most of the people who read this blog are parents of young children. Second, I know most of us do things in our vehicles while we're with our kids that don't always allow for much conversation (the Lord has really convicted me of this through my reading of Peanut Butter and Jelly Boat's recent posts... thank you Sheryl!). For instance, we may be talking on our cell phone, listening to music, or just only half listening to the chatter going on behind us. I had everything off in the van today because there was an accident up ahead and I wanted to concentrate on what was going on. This moment with Cody was significant because as we sat there, in slow traffic, in the silence, a door was opened and my little man shared something that had obviously been on his heart and in his mind for a while now. And I was able to make it better...to share a burden, to lighten his load. And I thought, I really need to turn everything off and be THERE. Yes, I'm always here. But I'm not always THERE. And today, I was reminded that I need to be in the moment. Ready for the next question. PRESENT. AVAILABLE. HERE.