I was shopping at Michael’s (the craft store) in the late afternoon when I heard a conversation in the next aisle between a mother and her six-year-old child.
“Oh, Mama, look at this!”
“I love this!!”
“I have one don’t I!!!”
“You made it for me didn’t you, Mama!!!!”
“Can you make one for Sissy?”
As I listened to the excitement and love in the sweet child’s voice, for her mother and her little sister, and the tired drone of her mother’s responses, tears welled up in my eyes. I thought about how many times I’d done the same thing with my children when they were young. After all, I had a centerpiece to make, a decoration for the front door to think about, colors to consider, people coming for the holidays to entertain and make welcome and not enough time!
At that moment in Michael’s I would have given anything to go back to just one time in the aisle of a store, hear my child’s voice and not miss what was really happening. Love, joy adoration. The stuff of Christmas!
My kids are grown now and I’ll never again hear their little bell voices exclaiming their joy over something. That time is gone forever and it flew past like a cheetah on speed.
I had to get to the next aisle and see the child! With tears streaming down my cheeks, I peeked around the corner and looked at the small girl’s happy, little face. She was all dressed up in a Christmassy dress and fancy socks. Her hair was dark brown in shoulder-length curls. She was holding a Christmas stocking with a Santa Claus on it. She looked up and smiled at me. Sissy was asleep in a stroller. Then I looked at the mother. She was tired; I could see it in her eyes. But when she looked into mine, she smiled seeing my love for her child and the moment.
I told her what had gone through my mind listening to their conversation. Her tears started to collect as she listened to me and then she said, “Now you’re making me cry.” She dabbed her eye with the back of her wrist, “Thank you, I needed to hear this. I get so busy and it’s easy to neglect her natural enthusiasm.” I told the mother it was obvious that her child had not been neglected, because she was such a happy little girl, and that I understood how easy it was to get wrapped up in our own thoughts and miss these holy moments.
I left Michael’s knowing I wanted to write about this. Your children adore you and they are like little joy dispensers, especially during this time of year. Since it’s also an especially busy time for you, it can be so easy to miss those gifts of love and joy your children are eager to give to you. They’re gifts that can’t be wrapped up with festive paper or charged on Visa.
Stay alert! This is a holy time.