Shot to the Heart


Today, I shot out of a tube into a body of water, in a bikini no less, with dozens of people I know watching.  There was no swan dive at the bottom, instead my feet flew over my head and the small of my back scraped the bottom of the pool.  I did not emerge from the water tall and proud with “Finish hands” (my daughter’s term, as learned in gymnastics), instead I gasped and flailed to the top blinded from the long black strands clinging to my face.  There was no holding up of “perfect 10” signs, just a bunch of gawkers pretending they saw nothing (I assume for fear of losing all self-control in fits of unbridled laughter).

Why did I expose myself to such obvious public humiliation?  The simple answer is a six-year-old with big blue eyes who softened his voice, wrapped his arms around my neck, and smiled.  “I love you mommy,”  he began.  “I don’t want a sno-cone today, I just want you to go down the slide with me.”

At first glance, the blue and twisty tube posed a number of threats: including  getting stuck on the first curve, getting stuck on the second curve, and getting stuck on the third curve.  I not only embraced the risk, I bought my instigator a sno-cone to celebrate.

My children bring out the best in me.  Not in what I do, but in the purity of my motives.  My rear end floating violently to the top of a 25 meter pool, is not my best angle.  Doing it to see my son smile, made it the proudest moment of my day.

My kids are the reason I sing “Party in the USA” at the top of my lungs while doing my best to bob and shake like Miley would. They are the reason I dressed my husband like a fairy and told 25 little girls to chase him through a rose garden.  They are the answer to every questionable thing I do each day.

I do not read the book about the kid who won’t share for my own moral development, I read it because my kids always laugh at the end when the pile of toys comes tumbling down. I do not make fluffer nutters for dinner as an example of healthy living, but because it turns a monotonous day into something special.  My kids are the cause of all pleasant surprises. 

My children make me better every day.   They force me to set aside my agendas, to-do lists, and all pride.  In so doing, I see and experience moments that might have otherwise passed by.  I lose myself in loving them, and in the process find a better me.

God suggests that a quiver of children are a blessing.  A quiver being the number of arrows a hunter or soldier would have brought into battle.  Sometimes I waste my entire day battling my children, when they are actually my secret weapon.  I will experience more of God because they purify my life.   I will love a little deeper because they expand my heart.  And I will live a little sweeter because they cultivate my world.

Mother or Father, Uncle or Aunt, Grandparent or Godparent . . . let the little children come to you.  You will find yourself head over heels, and loving it.

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