22 February 2011

a blessing or a burden

I get to spend time with other people's children a lot. I teach them two days a week, go to church with them, live in the neighborhood with them, and on and on.

Today, a friend of mine had a sick child. And two of her other children had a scheduled field trip that Ada also had. So I grabbed the two well children to add to my brood and took them all on a field trip.

After our field trip (because, secretly, I'm hoping to win MostFunMomEver, 2011 - and no, I don't want to hear about my very, very bad chances...), I took them to Chick Fil A.

Ada Bee, Eason, Collins, and extra children 1 & 2, a 7 year old boy and 3 year old girl. We were excited to be joined by my dear friend Jessie and her sons (yes! two sons!), who are 3 weeks and 5 years. (We were missing Jessie's dear daughter).

The point of all that was to show you that we had a 7, 6, 5, almost 4, 3, 1.7 and .05 year old. And two Mamas.

Brave Mamas.

Mamas up for MostFunMomEver, 2011.

And we ordered a slew of chicken nuggets, six kid waters (we aren't sprite fun), some french fries to share and all gathered around a teenincy picnic table.

We divided nuggets, squeezed ketchup, distributed napkins, poked straws, and then collapsed at the mom table beside.

And I looked at guest child number 1, 7 year old boy. All the other children were greedily devouring fried poultry goodness, and he was staring out into space.

I said, "Hey - you - kid -Do you need something?" (obviously, I used the poor child's name, but I'm reluctant to put names of other people's children out there on the google, you know just in case - anyway....)

"No Ma'am"

"Okay, well, you looked like you were just staring out there into the world a bit"

"Oh - I'm just waiting for us to say the blessing."

Oh, well, damn.

(I didn't say that to the poor nameless kid either.)

What I did say was "heavens - I forgot" and I got up and said a humble and quick blessing, and the children, including the eldest, fearless leader of them, went to devouring.

When other people have my children - a school teacher, a grandparent, a friend, a godparent, a babysitter, a sunday school teacher - anyone - I am always fearing that my children will be a burden.

When I get my children back from anyone, I give them the third or seventh degree about what all sins were committed. I am terrified that Eason has climbed on yet another inappropriate apparatus, or more likely, something that doesn't even qualify as an apparatus. I am petrified that Collins has thrown food or himself in the floor or just been generally whiny. I dread the possibility that Ada has been a disrespectful smart alec (and let's be honest, hers sometimes qualifies as a smart other word that starts with a) or an emotionally difficult basketcase.

I quiz. I assume. I seriously sometimes cannot enjoy myself when I'm away because I'm worried - not that my children are unhappy or unhealthy - but that the person who has them has been burdened.

But what I never wonder is if the person who has them has been blessed?

I don't seem to worry so much about that. I worry that they haven't been a burden. I am constantly on them about not being bad, but, wonder of all wonders - what if they could be good? What if they could be blessings?

What if - while sitting at a picnic table at the outside play ground of a very busy fast food establishment - what if - my child could patiently and silently wait for a mother who is not his own to bless the food.

What if my child could cause two mothers, who both normally tend to be food-blessers, but today were just a bit too harried, hurried and hungry, to stop and bless the food of the seven children in their care. And the food they were themselves about to scarf down?

What if, when I send my children out into the world, instead of striving for non-burdens, I could actually start striving for blessings?

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