I love hearing my boys talk to each other about the things they are going to buy each other. Just yesterday my 8-year-old told me he was going to buy a trampoline for his brother, when he turns 12,and he is going to buy me a GMC truck. That is quite generous of him. The problem here is the same problem he has when we are at the store and he wants something. You see, instead of just saying, “no” when he asks me for something, I ask him how much money he has. The answer is almost always, “none” to which I reply, “well, then I guess you can’t afford it.”
My kids can’t afford anything, but that doesn’t mean they are poor gift givers. In fact, some of the best gifts I have ever received have come from my children and were absolutely free. Surprisingly, I am not talking about the wall of artwork that I have acquired from them. There are other things my kids have given to me.
An Appreciation for Sleep
I have had people without children tell me how tired they were and I immediately want to invite them to trade places with me. I only have 4 children and yet I have a very real appreciation for sleep. There are so many variables between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Kids get sick, have bad dreams, fall out of bed, want drinks of water and want to talk all during the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Making it even better is the morning that comes with them as energetic as ever while I attempt to make coffee without the pot in place. Every moment of sleep is well received by my body and I am thankful for it.
Eyes That See Others
This one might be a bit unexpected and too serious for this post. My kids have a way of noticing people that I often miss in my hurried pace. They notice people who are sad or hurt. They notice people who need some help. They just cause me to stop and actually look around.
I do wonder how long this one will last with all the noise in my house. As a parent, I am able to hear many things that my kids say, even when they think I can’t hear them. It also is true that I am able to pick out my children in a large crowd because they have conditioned me to hear them at all times. What choice do I have?
I laugh at people without kids who watch as I eat the half-eaten food my children have left. There are certain things I won’t touch, like any liquid, but most things taste fine with bites out of them. Then there are the mysterious liquids on the floor and on their bodies. Sometimes I think it is better that I don’t know what it is.
I am all for having more patience. I just wish it would come quicker. They are only in a hurry when I am not. I often have to encourage my two older boys to return from their trip to “la la” land so that we can continue with whatever it is we are doing.
Compassion for Families
If you have kids, you have received the glares from people who just don’t get it. My kids have very seldom made a scene in some public place, but when they do, people notice. I find myself having compassion for parents whose kids are being loud in public. It is hard to deal with when so many people are watching and have no idea what the back story is.
When you have one income and a growing family, math is an important subject. Yes, I guess I did need it after all. Somehow it all adds up. My children have given me a newfound appreciation for that.
Ability to Walk Out of Comfort Zones
Often this is at times I would rather not walk out of them. For example, the time when my 5-year-old son asked a man why he smoked, “do you want to die?” Then there was another time when we were at the store and he said in a loud voice, “hey dad, she is really fat.” I guess they just tell it like it is, but it sure puts me in an uncomfortable place. Don’t you just love it?
Time Doing Things I Love
I probably would not fish as much without kids. I know traveling would be less exciting without them. They give me an excuse to get out of the house and do something fun. Because of them I can go to the playground and swing without the police being called.
Sure you could argue that love does cost something, but it does not cost any money. When my kids come to me and give me hugs, there is just nothing else like it. These last few days have been even more fun that way because my daughter, who is almost a year old, is starting to come to me when I come home. In those moments, there isn’t much else that matters.
When it comes to giving gifts, we really cannot beat our children.
What would you add to the list?