“Mama, I think today’s a good day for a date with Papa,” My Blessing said as she licked the last morsel of breakfast from her sticky little fingers.
I glanced across the table at my dad, deciphering his thoughts on the idea. Rarely do I ever find him NOT in the mood for some time with my girls. He nodded, ‘yes’ leaving the decision up to me.
For a moment I weighed my daughter’s request with all I had planned for the day: homeschooling, laundry, afternoon naps…was there space and time for a lunch date?
I looked at her hopeful face. “I guess a short lunch outing would be okay. We could do Steak N Shake, McDonalds, or…”
“Or Barnes and Noble?'” she asked, ever my little event planner. It was clear she had the day mapped out.
I checked the clock and smiled. “If we hurry, and if it’s okay with Papa, we can make story time…”
“Did you hear that, Hope?'” She cried to her sister. “We’re going to Barnes & Noble for story time. I’m so excited!”
Just shy of an hour later we were loaded in the van and on our way, my dad, my girls, and I. For the rest of the morning, we enjoyed story time, craft time, and snack time. Dad laughed as the girls designed and executed two funky looking art pieces. I laughed as Dad did his best to help.
Next we huddled around the train table as the girls played and looked at books.
“Ten more minutes,” I called as we closed in on noon. “It’s just about lunch time. Time to head home.”
“Or time for a cookie?” My Blessing piped up, eyes never leaving the long line of cars she carefully pushed up a hill.
Again I glanced at my dad. Rarely do I ever find him NOT in the mood for cookies. Again he nodded, ‘yes.’
Minutes later at B&N cafe I watched as my girls dove into gooey chocolate chip cookies the approximate size of their faces. Not wanting to leave ourselves out Dad and I sipped coffee and enjoyed a treat of our own. We totally spoiled our lunches but for once I didn’t care.
“This is nice,” I said. “Thanks, Dad.” Then looking at my girl, “And thank you, Blessing, for coming up with the idea.” She smiled a chocolaty smile and beamed, “It was a good idea, wasn’t it?”
It sure was.
When my girls were really small I often read them a book at bedtime titled, What Could be Better Than This by Linda Ashman. One of my favorite verses from the story went like this:
“And when they could listen and move at your pace,
the world held a new sort of grace.
It seemed quite a magical place.”
As I sat at that cafe table with my girls and my dad these words came to mind. Homeschooling and laundry seemed worlds away and everything before me seemed tented with magic and grace. It was like looking at the world through sunglasses, everything a different hue. The hue of childhood wonder.
As a parent, a mother, a homeschooling teacher it is certainly my job to keep us on track. To dictate our days, stay focused, stay fruitful. But days like this remind me that it’s also my job to teach them how to live, how to enjoy the good things God’s given us, how to chase after wonder on Tuesday mornings.
For this I’m hardly a teacher. I try but more times than not I find I am merely the student sitting in THEIR classroom where simple grace and fun are always the topic of study.
Finding yourself longing for a break from the same old, same old? Spend a morning, an afternoon, a day following the plans, the ways, the eyes and heart of a child. There’s no better way to make the world seem new. To wake up to life and living, laughter and joy, magic, enchantment and wonder.
On this Tuesday morning laundry piles waited at home.
Schoolbooks remained untouched.
Class was in session at Barnes and Noble. And as I listened and moved at their pace I learned it all over again…
How the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
What a great reminder and what beautiful photos.