For all the best intentions we have with our children, I am periodically reminded what they will remember most of their childhood is rarely the checklists or the elaborate plans. Even now, at age 8, when I ask my trio to tell me what they remember from our old house or preschool it is random, unplanned things that have stuck with them.
I don't think this means we abandon all plan or good intentions, but I do think we must remember to keep it all in perspective and not become so distracted by the 'plans' that we miss the moments. Case in point, an incident that happened at bedtime one recent night.
Because of my husband's work schedule, I am frequently the sole supervisor of bedtime rituals. Bath time is especially stressful as I have kids in multiple rooms with hot water, slippery floors and various stages of undress. (And have I mentioned that I am usually post-homework and dinner grouchy/tired?)
Wednesday as P was showering in the boys' bathroom and I was helping R blow dry his hair in my room, K came charging in with a look of alarm. "Mommy, it won't play!"
She was holding a beloved baby gift, a Reed & Barton silverplated turtle with a windup
music box inside.
I was a Mommy on a mission to get wet bodies and heads dry enough to tuck in. I shooed her away, told her to
finish getting ready for bed and I would help her with it in a bit. Out of sight out of mind proved to be true for me as I corralled little boys into their rooms.
About 5 minutes later, I went into K's room to tuck her in. As I walked into the hall outside her room, I heard
her well before I saw her. I rounded the corner with concern and found her curled up in the fetal position with her favorite
stuffed animal, sobbing. The turtle was on her bedside table, still glimmering from when I taught her to polish it last week.
It was so out of character for my normally
buoyant little girl that my heart broke into a million pieces. "Is
this about the turtle?" I asked, halfway expecting her to tell me
something far more serious had occurred.
Her splotchy, wet face looked up at me through sniffles and as her shoulders heaved she nodded her head affirmatively.
I rocked and held held her. My mind was racing. This thing is 8 years old. It has been lost and rediscovered in toy boxes countless times. What is the lifespan of a music box anyway? Is she really crying THIS hard about a music box? I didn't realize how much she valued it. What on Earth are we going to do with this tender heart when we lose a pet? How long has she been in here crying. UGH! I am a terrible mother to have blown her off like this. I wonder if I can google how to fix it? When will her Daddy be home?
I explained that I did not know how to repair a music box, but I would take a look at it.
"I already tried everything," she sobbed.
There was no obvious way to take it apart, so we unscrewed the winding pin and replaced it. I got her the toothpick she requested to see if that would help, but alas, it was all to no avail. I promised her we would have Daddy work on it when he came home.
As we went through our nightly tuck in routine, we added the turtle to our bedtime prayers. My stomach got a knot as we prayed. I must confess that I am a weakling of little faith when it comes to praying about things like this with my kids. I don't want to turn God into Santa Claus. A debate starts being waged in my head about whether little things like this are a waste of the Almighty God's time. The Enemy really gets in my head and convinces me that I am likely setting God up. I become fearful of how He will answer and the role I will then have to play in 'apologizing for God.' (Not something I am proud of...just confessing here.)
As we finished praying I said to K (but really to myself), "because God loves you, He cares about what is important to you, baby. This turtle matters to Him because you matter to Him."
Then I walked over to her window seat where the turtle had been left upside down after our operation. I turned him right-side up and placed him back on her shelf. And right on cue, the mute turtle started playing his precious version of Brahm's Lullaby.
K's delighted shock was matched only by mine. I wanted to cry. My girl's puffy post-cry eyes twinkled and her mouth broke into a wide toothless
grin, "He works. God did it!"
There may very well be a mechanical explanation for what happened to finally restore the music to our turtle, but I give God all the credit for the timing and the lesson. Literally, five minutes later I heard my husband come in the back door. While I love the moments when he gets to ride in on his white horse and be Daddy--it was a beautiful thing to watch God beat him to the punch this time and be Savior.
I will never, ever look at that turtle the same way. It completely sealed the deal when my husband went up to tell K goodnight and she retold the story, ending with this: "Daddy, God really cares about the things that make my heart sad."
As we walked back downstairs my husband quipped, "I guess she doesn't have to worry about that ever ending up in a yard sale."
Thank you, Lord, for the lesson for my girl--and for me.
He cares about the lilies of the field, wine at a wedding and sometimes even shiny turtles. But most of all, He cares about our hearts for Him, our faith, and showing us in indelible ways that He is Ruler of the Universe and the Lover of our Souls.