Friday, September 2, 2011

The Wisdom of Four-Year-Olds (and Six-Year-Olds)

What do I love about motherhood? The unique insight and wisdom of small children who seem to have life all figured out. Here's what I mean.
A couple of mornings ago I fled to my van in an instant rush when I noticed my nine-year-old son had once again left for school without making his bed or cleaning up his dirty clothes. Heaving a frustrated sigh, I decided I must follow through with my previous warning to pull him out of school to come home and clean up his mess, and I grabbed my keys. Thinking if I hurried I could catch him before he even got to school, thus maintaining some sort of dignity for the both of us, I threw my younger children in the van and took off. As I rounded the first corner, the thought occurred to me that if I didn't actually catch him before he got there, I was in a bit of a predicament as I had left home without a thought to put shoes on, or a bra either, for that matter. Thinking out loud, I mentioned my concern to my children. That's when my little four-year-old son, in a worried tone, said, "Oh no. I didn't put a bra on either!" Then, reassuring himself, he said, "Oh yea, I probably don't need one, huh, Mom?" Chuckling to myself, I told him I thought he'd probably be okay without one. Despite the stress of the whole event, I smiled all morning long.
Only a couple days later, another incident with my young son again made me laugh. He had come home from Chuck E Cheeses with some little washable tattoos he was thrilled to try out. Now, I'm not really too concerned about washable mouse tattoos at this point, but realizing we had been discussing in church the past few weeks the topic of our bodies being temples, I thought it would be a good opportunity to relate what we had learned to the situation at hand. So, I reminded my little guy about what we had learned in Primary, to which he kept saying, "Yes, I remember--so can I put the tattoo on?" Finally, I said, "Son, it's your choice. I think it would be better not to put a tattoo on, even if it is washable, but you are old enough to choose for yourself. So, I think you shouldn't do it, but it's your choice." He jumped off the bed, squealed with delight, then ran into the kitchen, yelling, "Mom said 'Yes!'" I shook my head and laughed. Apparently, I'll have to be more blunt next time.
Later that day, we were in the car and stopped to pick up a little friend. Boston had drug along a helium-filled star balloon (also from Chuck E. Cheese's--darn place) that he couldn't leave home without. Not thinking about the balloon, I opened the back hatch of my van to put in a bicycle, and out flew the star balloon. In moments it was soaring high above us with no way to retrieve it. My son was so distraught as he watched his precious balloon fly away. I knelt down to comfort him, telling him we could get another balloon. I felt terrible it had been my fault we had lost it. That's when Boston said, "Do you think that balloon will go all the way to heaven?" I answered, "Probably." He then said, "Then Jesus can get it." That's positive thinking, I thought. But then he really caught me off guard when he said, "And when I die and go to Heaven, I can ask Him to give it back to me, huh, Mom?" Well, how do you answer that question? I wasn't about to plunge into a scientific explanation on how long helium really keeps balloons in the air, so instead I just said, "That sounds like a great idea, son." And then smiled inside the rest of the way home. He never asked about the balloon again.
Just yesterday he did bring up Jesus again, however. Right out of the blue he said, "Mom, is there more than one Jesus?" Now, I have been caught off guard a few times by deep spiritual questions from my small children, but still, they never cease to amaze me. "Yes, honey, there is only one Jesus," I answered. "So, does that mean there is only one world?" he probed further. Oh boy, how do I answer this question, I thought. I always want to answer honestly, but sometimes these questions are more than difficult to answer exactly. "That's all I know of," I said, hoping that would satisfy him. But, as the day wore on and I thought about this young child's deep desire to know of spiritual things, and I was humbled. How is it that my four-year-old is asking questions I've never given much thought to? How is it that he seems to understand the simple beauty of Heaven and how it works more than his mother? Well, that's just the absolute wonder of children!
I've decided my children will say or do at least 20 hilarious or meaningful or heart-warming things every week. I just have to listen. For instance, last night, while in the car with my six-year-old, I laughed right out loud when she told me she must be "left-toothed" because every time she puts gum in her mouth she wants to chew with her left teeth! A couple of months ago she assured me she was "left-shouldered" because she always wanted to hang her purse on her left shoulder, but being "left-toothed" was adding a whole new dimension to this "left-" stuff, and I giggled about it all evening long.
As a mother there is always plenty to laugh (and yes, cry) about. Spending time with my children reminds me I still have a sense of humor and a thousand other different emotions I sometimes forget about. My favorite is simple joy at knowing these amazing little people are mine, that I am their mother and always will be. What could be better?


Heather said...

Please email me! I have a question about your blog! :)