Recently while browsing in a store I overheard a little girl say, “Mommy, do you like this one?” Her endearing tone intrigued me to glance her way, for which I was rewarded the precious view of her struggling to hold up a pocketbook for her mommy to consider. The mom sweetly responded no, and then her daughter proceeded to ask her about every pocketbook. Their back-and-forth became my background music as I browsed.
Their interaction delighted my heart. The mom exuded patience as she tried to find a purse, probably on limited time, while keeping her eye on her daughter, pausing to look at what she held up and then comment. The daughter wanted to help and clearly felt confident that her input was of value. Adorably, her face was thoughtful, serious as her eyes perused the stock. I imagined her thought, “Maybe this one…”
We are given to each other by God for relationship. Infancy through adulthood provides the “adventure” to figure out how to relate through seasons and circumstances. Are we aware of our child’s efforts? Do we build on these? Do we faithfully initiate – no matter their response?
The mom and daughter shared time, and that experience contributes to a whole. As we look back to our childhood, often it’s impromptu, ordinary moments that bring a smile – or stir pain. Life is made up of lots of these. As parents we have the opportunity to build a mountain of ordinary memories with our children that will hopefully lead them to reflect, smile, and realize we loved to be with them.
Shared ordinary moments help build our relationship.
Ask for assistance with small things like stirring a pot while you cook or selecting the radio station or CD in the car. Ask about the vocalist, what else she likes and why. Involve them as you run errands, intentionally building them up. Often I’ve asked whichever child was around for their opinion of which shoe, jewelry, or garment I should where. I put one on, then say, “Hold on! Now I want you to look at another choice.” Why? To engage, to express value, to learn what they like, to be playful and goofy… The things we do with the people we love.
Can we do these things, make these decisions by ourselves – and probably save time? Of course. But I want to be with them and I like to hear what they think – about lots of things. And there’s a good chance they’re not going to tell me unless I ask them.
I left the store that day with empty hands but a full heart. Can’t you just hear that little girl, “My mommy and I went shopping, and I helped her …”