Dec 4, 2012

One Hour Together

This past weekend is always the craziest one of the year for me.  I spend months preparing and organizing all the concession food for a large basketball tournament called the Tiger Classic that our home town hosts.  It's a lot of work but also very rewarding and a lot of fun. But with a lot of work comes a lot of time taken away from the kids that I normally spend with them.  The months leading up to the first weekend of December are filled with me saying, "Hey guys, do you mind if mom spends a little while working on the basketball stuff?"  To which they always graciously reply, "no problem".

Each of us treasures time together as one of our love languages.  So I can't help but feel that I haven't shown them how much I love them when I have to keep taking time away to concentrate on all my basketball responsibilities.  It pulls me in two directions and weighs heavily on my heart.

Once the actual weekend rolls around, I work around the clock Thursday through Sunday.  Thankfully, the 'big weekend' came and went.   I had to leave bright and early Monday morning to go pay a bunch of my vendors, even though the kids had the day off school and even though I was sicker than a dog and had no voice.  On my morning travels, I had a big idea.  I called Gavin and asked him to tell the kids to each think of what they want to do with me for an hour.  They have to decide who goes first and have it all planned out by time I get home (which was only in 15 minutes).  These have become some of our most treasured times together.

I know God dropped that little plan in my head because the only thing keeping me going that morning was knowing I could come home and take a nap. I was exhausted and with good reason.  But I had also just read something that explained love in a way I had never heard before and I couldn't stop meditating on it.  This article does a much better job of explaining the concept than I can, but here's the gist...the Hebrew root word for 'love' comes from the two words "I" "Give".  Of course it does.  God is Love.  God gives.  If I say I love someone, it is shown mostly in what I give them...time, energy, myself, words, actions, etc.  Don't we always tell our kids, 'actions speak louder than words' ? It reminds me of one of my favorite songs, Something that you do.

So I got home, found out the plan and dove right in.  God gave me physical and mental strength to give them myself yesterday afternoon rather than me giving myself a nap.  And oh how it was worth it!!!  Gavin got first dibs.  I asked him, "So what do you have planned?"  Being ever the gentleman he answered, "Well, I wanted to see if there was anything you wanted to do first."  I smiled knowing how he loves to make me happy at whatever the cost.  I told him that as long as we were together I would be happy.  I asked him if he could maybe teach me some of the stuff he's learning in his class.  He couldn't have been happier!

He directed me to the study where we have a white board set up.  He wrote out the title "Base Systems" and the date.  Then Mr. Professor began:

"Remember how you taught us that 11 was actually 1 ten 1 and twelve was 1 ten 2?  Well, you were teaching us the base 10 number system."

"Oh really, that's what I was doing?  I was just doing what the curriculum said, but that's cool."

"Ya, well...that's what you did.  Anyways......." yadayadayada.

He went on to teach me a base 5 system, a base 7 system and a base 2 system, otherwise known as the binary system.  He lost me on the last one.  He started saying something about 1 being 'on' and 0 being 'off' in relation to computers.  I tried hard to ask intelligent questions and appear like I was understanding, but how do you make this sound intelligent, "Uh...ya, I don't get that."?  Then he proceeded to write out problems on the board for me to solve as proof of my utter incompetence.  I suggested Math Professor as a possible future career to which he said, "mmmmm".  I think that means he's thinking about it.

Once my math class was officially over we moved on to bigger and better things...such as playing Yu-gi-oh.  This is his life.  He has every card memorized.  It's a highly intricate game.  It's very strategic.  Because of those very reasons I suck at it.  Truth be told, I can't even begin to grasp the concept of the game.  He spent like 10 minutes trying to explain the rules to me when I cut him off and said, "Is this the kind of game that we can just play and you can teach  me as we go?  I learn much better by doing." He gave some serious thought to my supplication.  It wasn't optimal, but he would allow it...this time.  So we laid out our cards and I just winged it.  Lucky for me, I winged well enough to win.  I have no clue how - but that's what he said.  It was awesome.  Then our time was up.  Bummer, no more higher level math or incomprehensible card games.  But I adored my time with Gavin as he shared with me all the things that are important to him during our completely uninterrupted time together.

Chloe was next.  As is her style, she promptly handed me a sticky note containing her list of activity items: 1. draw, write, now  2. make a gourmet lunch  3. read/cuddle  4. school.  Right off I already see a problem.  It's already 12:30.   I'm starving (had yet to discover the virus plaguing my stomach which would never allow me to eat - we'll leave it at that).  Plus, I don't want to make everyone's lunch.  They're here, they can make their own.  Eating is second on the list.  What to do?  I had to, in my very nicest saleslady voice, pitch a better plan.  "Honey, this is an awesome list!  I know I would really enjoy it more once I stop shaking from hunger pains.  Do you think we could eat first and then start our time together?"  She hemmed and hawed, "But I really wanted to make a gourmet lunch for everyone."

"You mean you want us to cook for them?", looking at the boys who are all smiles.

"Ya."

"Um.  No.  You can, but I'm not making a gourmet sandwich right now.  I 'm seriously hungry."

We eventually agreed to just each make our own food on the condition that her and I make a gourmet dinner instead.  Bonus.

Our time started off perfectly, laying on the bed reading! Ahhhhh....I tried so hard to keep my eyes open.  But each time I blinked they stayed shut a little longer.  She was reading "Fancy Nancy" to me.  Unfortunately, it was a very short book.  Two minutes later we were excitedly making our way downstairs to do school.  I asked her why she wanted to do school on her day off.  "Moooommm.  I'm being the teacher today!"  She then proceeded to re-enact our exact school day, except for she was the teacher and I was the student.  It was great to see what school looks like through her eyes.  She was reading a Magic School Bus book on the water cycle to me and on each page she would ask me, "Are there any words on here you don't understand?"  I wonder where she got that from.  We did school for so long we didn't have time to do any Draw, Write, Now.  Thankfully, we were able to fit that in later at night with Daddy.

On to Bennett.  I just knew that he would want to play basketball.  And I was right.  I said an extra prayer for energy as I pulled on my jacket and shoes.  Apparently, I need to pray that prayer everytime I go out to play around the world because I ended up winning twice.  I was 'girl on fire'.  Didn't hardly miss a shot.  Plus the cold and fresh air helped rejuvenate me.  I felt bad for whooping up on him so badly, but not bad enough to stop talking about it and reliving my awesome shots.  Then we were on to phase two of our time together - drawing.  He set up some paper, pencils and a book on Great Cats.  We each did some lovely pencil renderings of tigers and cheetahs.  Lastly he had planned some cuddle time on my bed.  We layed there and talked and reminisced and solved all the world's problems. It was great.

I love my kids.  I loved when they were little, I love the ages they are now and I'll love them when they're grown and gone.  But I will especially be thankful that they always want to spend time with me, sharing their loves, even if it's only for an hour.

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