My husband and I had a beautiful moment the other day, thanks to the kindness of a stranger. An event which at once beckoned us to remember Allah and His infinite blessings on us, amidst the madness that is often mealtime with kids. Those with children know exactly what I am talking about.
We sat waiting for our breakfast at a favorite brunch spot, when suddenly our two girls became nostalgic for their beloved children’s song, one they ask for constantly and can never get enough of. As they belted it out in unison, my husband and I looked down, embarrassed that our firm commands to “zip it” were ignored. It was a family restaurant, but still, this level of noise could not be acceptable. Nearby sat an older gentleman, perhaps someone with his own gaggle of grandkids off at school. But today he dined alone (and I envied his solitude at that moment.) As he ate, he glared at our loud chorus, while we gave him looks of apology.
When our food arrived, the girls were finally distracted from their performance and shifted their focus to the table.
About 15 minutes later, the gentleman stood up and gathered his things to leave. As he neared our table he stopped and looked at us both before he spoke. He didn’t look so pleased, so we braced ourselves. We knew what was coming. We had thunk it ourselves before having our own kids.
“I want to tell you…About your kids…”
Oh boy, here it comes.
“You two are so fortunate.”
And with that he walked away. Maybe he said something else, but my mind was frozen in time, mulling over his words.
What a wonderful surprise. Often in the day to day drama of child rearing, we forget that we have been given this insane privilege, this tremendous gift. And instead of embracing our offspring as they are, sometimes we are caught up fighting inane battles with them, trying to shape, bend, and fit them into a mold that is not realistic. Struggling to force our will above theirs, and not respecting them as individuals, in spite of their tender age.
Today, let’s all step back for a moment. And vow not to constantly tell our kids to “Stop!” Give them back their right to be young. And reconsider your reactions when dealing with the crazy that comes with part of the territory as a parent. Take a deep breath and pull back when;
-You feel the urge to yell at your toddler for accidentally drawing off the paper with crayons. Their mechanical skills are still in development.
-You send your child to his room because he too slow in cleaning up his toys. Kids don’t yet have the speed cleaning skills we moms are blessed with or have developed over the years. Let him do it at his own pace, and be grateful he’s at least trying.
-You start to lose your mind because your four-year-old shoved her little sister to the floor. She doesn’t always know her own strength.
-You son breaks a plate helping you put away the dishes. Just accept it- little kids have butterfingers. What a blessing to have him at your side for a routine chore.
-You want to bury your head in your pillow and scream because the kids woke up before the sun is even out. Be thankful you are waking up and facing another day together.
Just please, let kids be kids. And learn from them. Live in the moment, and be forever thankful to Allah.
Sameera is a newly minted part-time working mom. Every day is a party in her house, thanks to her two toddler girls. She occasionally blogs at sameeraiqbal.blogspot.com, and hopes to home school one day in the near future.