Friday, July 13, 2012

Nine Steps to a Smile (or, How to Light Your House for (Nearly) Free)

(edited repost from the archives... a lesson I need to remember every day.)

So you're heading to the laundry room with a full stinky bag in one arm and an overflowing basket on your other hip, when he calls.

Mama, look at this!

Step One: Look at him. (No, don't look at the lego-mess behind him. Stop! Pull your eyes back up to his. There. Hazel-hued hope. You hold his heart in your hands.)

Step Two: Empty your hands. Stop and set down the laundry- your arms needed a rest anyway. (And your hands need to be free for step three.)

Step Three: Take that lego gun and look closely at it.

Step Four: Listen. Very carefully, very interestedly, so you can ask questions. What does this blue section do? How come there are two openings at the end?

Step Five: Smile understandingly when he tells you it shoots both lasers and bullets. Of course! you reply. So you can defend yourself in space and on earth!

Step Six: (This is the most important one!) Don't hand it back when he reaches for it. Tuck the butt of that laser/rifle under your arm, lean your head over, and look through the yellow plastic sight. Squint. Aim up, aim down.

Step Seven: Now let him show you how you're supposed to hold it.  Say, Oh, I thought that didn't feel right!

Step Eight: Hand it back, looking straight into those eyes, and place your arm around his shoulders. You are brilliant, son. He's going to smile. Oh, get ready... I was wondering what we were going to do about the aliens in the laundry room!

Step Nine: Let the wattage from his grin light your way as he follows you and stands guard while you load and unload and fold.

I said it was nearly free.  It cost you (maybe) a cycle on the washer.  It cost you ninety extra seconds in which you could have walked around the corner and begun stuffing one machine and emptying another.

I'm beginning to feel as if I'd like to pay that small fee any old day.  'Cause they're getting shorter.

Won't you be a blessing to a boy this weekend?

(Some marvelous creations from a cold winter's day this past January... hands too full of laundry and heart too full of boy to snap a picture of the earth/space gun.  ~grin~)

6 fellow travelers shared:

Andrea said...

I think about this post often as now my 2 boys are constantly explaining their lego creations to me. I love what you say and how you say it.

Stacy said...

Oh, I needed this.

How often I just give a quick glance and say "Mmhmmm. Cool, buddy." as I'm in the midst (or on my way to) another task.

Thank you, Elise!

~nanashouse~ said...

There is nothing on earth as cool as a moment with our precious children. We will wash that same stinky load over and over but may never have that same precious moment over a lego gun or sweet drawing.

Anonymous said...

Elise, I love it. You put the words to this so well. Our newly-turned-eight-year-old is soooo enjoying the "Swords" by Ben Boos book he received for his 8th birthday! He knows I read about it from a special Mama and thought he would enjoy it...warmly from Mary Brooke

Jenny said...

Oh, I get this, Elise! My boys love their Legos, too, and have been fully engaged with them since school has gotten out.

Michelle said...

Elise, I so need these reminders! My boys are huge Lego fans, and especially love the Star Wars stuff (which I am NOT into!) They LOVE for me to listen while they go on and on about this or that thing they've built, and I'm sure my eyes glaze over. I need to work at genuinely giving my attention over to them and listening!

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