Thanks For Letting Me, Mom

Matt had been gone all day with the York College soccer team at an out-of-state game.  The boys and I stayed home to get school work done, can tomatoes, and forget to put our shoes where they go.  (It happens so regularly that I figure I might as well put it on our to-do list.  “Leave shoes in the middle of the living room floor…check.”)

It was late-afternoon, right around Mom’s starting to get really tired and not able to make rational decisions anymore o’clock.  The school work was all finished, the tomatoes were in jars and their lids had said “ping.”  I was finishing some work at the computer and about to get up to start dinner.  That’s when my eight year old asked the question.

“Mom? Can I make a ‘Welcome Home’ sign for Dad and put it on the front door and then can I turn the living room into a Lego Adventure Land by bringing all of my Lego platforms with the Lego guys and the clone bases down and set them up on the big white table in the middle of the floor {by the shoes we didn’t put away} so that when Dad comes home tonight he’ll be so excited and he’ll get to see all of the Lego Adventure stuff we set up and he’ll love it so much!”

With joy, I smiled and grabbed him up in huge bear hug and said that I could think of nothing better so please start bringing down every Lego we own and let’s also get out glitter.

But what I actually did in real life was give him a look which clearly stated, “Did you forget that it is now half past Mom can’t stand the idea of seeing one more mess?”  And then out loud I was able to mutter, “Probably not but let me think about it.” Since that was so very nearly a ”yes” he ran upstairs to start making Lego zip lines.

After dinner, he brought up his idea again, which had now developed into a bigger attraction since his original idea about transforming our living room wasn’t quite big enough and now the kitchen table and countertops needed to be included as well.  Dinner had helped my mental state significantly, but no amount of protein can make me excited about turning 1000 square feet of house into a Lego Adventure two hours before bedtime.

Together we came up with a compromise.  He could make the signs for the door.  I would help.  And he could use the kitchen table if he helped clear it off first and if he promised that I wouldn’t be finding Lego bricks in the butter two weeks from now.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him so excited.  Some of his brothers even joined in.  They set up the entire table with a Lego Adventure any dad would be pleased to see after being away from home, on the road, and in the hot sun for 16 hours.

Once the set-up was complete and we were headed to bed, Malachi grabbed me and squeezed the life out of my mid-section saying, “Thank you so much for letting me.  That was so much fun.  Dad is going to love it.”

I am happy to share that not only did saying yes to Malachi’s request bring him much joy, it didn’t even kill me a little bit.  Perhaps I should get past my I love how creative you are but can’t we just this once sit down and read books quietly feelings more often.

The next morning, God and I were able to share our quiet time with no less than 47 Lego guys, some of whom were balancing on one leg even better than my yoga instructor.

legos_with_breakfast

Matt had loved his welcome home – from the sign on the door to the Lego Adventure that made us all hold our breakfast plates in our laps as we ate together that morning.

welcome_dad_sign

Would you look at that.  We forgot the glitter.

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Comments

  1. Mary says

    This is awesome. It brought back memories since my youngest of 4 is now 19! My two oldest used to set up a baby gate to lock the two preschoolers out of our large living room and turn said room into a lego city complete with cardboard roads. I have video footage of this. The preschoolers would stand longingly at the gate, waiting to have a “tour” by holding an older siblings hand. They were so mesmerized by this creation of their older brother and sister. I love legos, though stepping on one with a bare foot is one of my least favorite things to do. Great job letting Malachi make a memory.

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  2. says

    This made me chortle. And i don’t chortle enough. I have to say, I could write an entire post about the dreaded glitter and also the tendency for my boys to both suddenly want to start fingerpainting at 5 pm. Sigh. LOVED this. Thank you!!

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    Laura Reply:

    I *despise* glitter, more than any other craft supply. :)

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    Christy Reply:

    Two of my girls were cleaning out the craft supplies in the middle of the living room floor yesterday. There was glitter everywhere-on the floor, on faces, in hair, etc. Thankfully it was bath night anyway and a vacuum took care of most of the rest-but I am still finding it around!

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    Kristin Reply:

    I concur about the glitter. Also, it is obvious the sign was made by a boy. If a girl had made they would have done rainbow letters and added hearts and butterflies or something, ha, ha. Good for you for giving in! I so often say no to stuff like that when my husband is out of town, I am exhausted and it is close to bedtime.

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  3. says

    This reminded me of what I recently read in a Christian parenting book. It was about saying “yes” to our children more often. And not in a way that gives them everything they want and spoils them but in a way that is healthy and brings joy to their lives and a feeling of happiness and belonging inside the home. Until reading it, I never really thought about it. I have to admit I can be a cranky “no” mom a lot of the time. Even for harmless stuff like “mom, can we build a train out of these boxes??” Sometimes all I hear is, “mom can we terrorize the living room and leave stickers and glue all over the hallway?” When in reality they are saying “mom can we use our imaginations and have fun with something that costs nothing? It would bring us so much joy!”

    I’m trying to make a conscious effort to say yes more often (and am eager to see their little, joy-filled faces)!

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  4. says

    This reminded me of what I recently read in a Christian parenting book. It was about saying “yes” to our children more often. And not in a way that gives them everything they want and spoils them but in a way that is healthy and brings joy to their lives and a feeling of happiness and belonging inside the home. Until reading it, I never really thought about it. I have to admit I can be a cranky “no” mom a lot of the time. Even for harmless stuff like “mom, can we build a train out of these boxes??” Sometimes all I hear is, “mom can we terrorize the living room and leave stickers and glue all over the hallway?” When in reality they are saying “mom can we use our imaginations and have fun with something that costs nothing? It would bring us so much joy!”

    I’m trying to make a conscious effort to say yes more often (and am eager to see their little, joy-filled faces)!

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  5. Larissa says

    Thank you so much for posting this and the great reminder to let our kids be kids and not get bogged down with all the worldly, adult things – like having a clean house ;-)

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  6. Mayra says

    Sometimes we get cought up in the cleanness-freak mode, that we forget that fun for our kids sometimes mean to have a messy house for just a day!

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  7. says

    I smiled as I read this thinking of how I soooo understood where you are coming from! I can’t tell you how many times I vowed to pitch all of the legos if I stepped on one more, had to pick up one more, or had to balance one more lego creation that cluttered my nightstand, my desk and nearly every table in our living room. Once I even slipped on some left on the floor and ended up in the emergency room of all places for stitches!

    Then as I read the comments, tears poured from my eyes as I thought of how quickly my oldest has grown up and now messes up our kitchen table, the living room, his room, and our garage with his computer equipment, miles of cords and what looks to me to be nothing but junk. His brothers and sisters still have the legos and yes they are still everywhere. I have one small lego dude right here next to my computer as I am typing this. This was given to me by my five year old a few days ago.

    How quickly these times fly by. I am so happy your family experienced the joy of dad’s homecoming. I too find it hard hold my tongue and fight the inclination to become totally frustrated from all of the mess. A Christian woman shared this verse with me years ago. I try to think about it when the work and endless creative projects get the better of me.

    “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the oxen.”
    Proverbs 14:4

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It was just what I needed today.

    God bless you,
    Allison

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    Allison Reply:

    Ooops, I’m sorry Laura, I just noticed a typo and the end of the verse should read, “…by the strength of the ox.” (not ‘oxen’)
    :-)

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  8. Charlotte Moore says

    Sweet post!!! How much joy the boys must have gotten. I too was guilty of not wanting a mess when my boys were small. Got better with the 3 grandsons but even better with our great grand daughter. So fun having a little girl around.

    GOD BLESS!!!

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  9. Birdie says

    I join you in applauding your generous boys, Laura 8->! We’re “transitioning” from Lego to more adult-like ideas, hopes and dreams. It just takes my breath away, how fast this all goes. Thank you for letting us be part of your day.

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  10. kim t. says

    that’s a great story! why is it so difficult to let our children have fun if it means a big mess?? (we have a few construction pits in our back yard – in the lawn no less, that get muddy and what not. dirt stains clothing i tell you. but, i suppose it’s worth it)
    and I love to see that other people also have to color-code their water glasses! :)

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  11. donna says

    I can so relate to this on so many levels. Ironically enough, I was helping my daughter make yet another creation out of a card board box while reading this!!! This one will be a car for her dolls. :)

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  12. says

    This post cracked me up!!! Thanks for renewing my desire to let go of controlling messes and say yes to boys delighting in tiny construction…

    P.S. Down with glitter!! :)

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  13. says

    This made me laugh. out. loud! I even read it to my husband, who also thought it was great. We also have four boys and LOTS of Legos. Sometimes the boys’ ideas involve a lot of mess, but we do want to encourage their creativity! Thanks for the reminder!

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