I HAVE COME TO LOVE, APPRECIATE, BUT ALWAYS BE READY FOR THE CRAZY RIDE THAT IS OUR WILLIS FAMILY GATHERINGS. (If you have toddlers in your extended family, you may relate with some of our situation below.)
Our family gatherings consist of:
- Surround sound cries from children
due to scraped/bumped body parts
- The aroma of poopy diapers and fishy crackers
- Laughter from all when the older cousins play “hide behind the big chair”, wrestle/dog pile, imagination space trip, or “Roll the pool balls”
- Random vocal debuts of, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “ABC’s”, or “Jesus Loves Me”
cheese and spilled drinks on the floor
- Multiple rounds of Pass the Pickle or Candyland
- Babies/toddler’s who cry for 40 min before exhaustion kicks in and the nap happens
- Disjointed, but somehow life giving adult conversations
- Many reminders to take turns with the popular toys, say the “magic words”, try to go on the big girl/boy potty
- Grammy and Grandad’s ever present smiles and service to the crew
- Distractions of lamps tipping over and other mysterious noises from the upstairs which need some investigating
- 50 tries for smiles at the camera. From all the children. At the same time.
- Worn parents who are out of wipes, patience and ideas
Last Saturday we celebrated Easter which included all of the above- a day of 6 toddlers, 148 eggs, and a lesson in sharing.
The Willis egg hunt began-My sister in law and I watched with smiles as our kids exploded with excitement. As each child found an egg, they would follow the same drill, hold it up high, and say, “Look, I found one!” to whomever was within ear shot.
We as parents were on guard. Ready to be the “fairness enforcers”. Ready to shout out to our own children, “Now, you need to share with the little ones”; “Please give your egg to your cousin because they don’t have as much as you
.” “Could you help your cousin find some eggs?”
We were ready for the worst, but didn’t need to be. I watched as my daughter yelled to her baby cousin to come take one of her eggs she had found. At a concurrent moment, my nephew led the other baby cousin to an egg.
I witnessed my daughter quickly and happily give multiple eggs to her sister. Then my niece helped her brother in the same way.
My sister in law and I looked at each other in awe of what was happening around us. Because 99 out of
100 days, we would have to remind our kids to share. I nstead of us giving them a lesson, they taught us.
Unforced and joyful giving from the least of these. (And I
, being the crier I am, shed a tear. Or two.)
The lesson I learned from the egg sharing moment:
- Be aware of people who don’t have as many “eggs” as I do and be quick to do something about it.
- Give first. Without someone telling me to do so.
- Don’t compare my “eggs” with others’ “eggs”. Be content and thankful with what I have.
- Hold my “eggs” loosely and be ready to give them up at any time. Because everything I have is from God and to be used for God.
- When I give, do it with a smile and good attitude.
Acts 2:45 “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”
2 Cor 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Do you hold tightly to your rights and your stuff or are you quick to give when a need presents itself? And when you give, is it with a happy heart or begrudgingly?
© 2012 Standing on Peace