Years and years ago, my pastor’s wife told me that she had a special dinner plate that was reserved for whomever was celebrating a birthday or some other momentous occasion. I decided our little family needed to begin this tradition, so the kids and I headed to Big Lots, where I bought a $1.99 plate that had a rainbow of colors in it that coordinated with my special-occasion Fiestaware. We have used that plate for a lot of birthdays and other special occasions, though I have recently wondered if I need to use it more frequently and for more than just birthdays and other “biggies”.
I confess that I think I take my kids for granted sometimes. I’m sure it’s normal, and I don’t really mean to, but I do. I prepare their meals, plan their school days, buy their groceries, wash their windows and make sure they’re all (more or less) doing what they ought to do. I wonder, though, am I really treasuring them like I should? Am I really living each day in wonder of who they are and in gratitude for my time with them? No, I can’t say that I always am.
I understand that life is not all sunshine and roses. I totally get that shaping their characters, nursing their illnesses and ouchies and managing a household are worthwhile things that need to be done even though they don’t necessarily lend themselves to fun and frivolity. Deep down, though, I know I could be more intentional about praising them when they do well, encouraging them when they struggle and overall celebrating them because of who they are in my life.
I want my kids to look back over their childhoods and know that I cherished my time with them. In spite of my outbursts, my failures, my seasons of discouragement or distraction, I want them to know that there is nothing in the world I would rather have done that spend my days with them. If I’ve prayed it once, I’ve prayed it a thousand times: Lord, please let Your grace cover over my mistakes.
So, I’m planning a celebration. Sunday is Family Night around here, a night in which the five of us rotate choosing the evening’s activities. This Sunday, I’m going to surprise them with a special meal that I know everyone will enjoy. I’m decorating the table, breaking out the Fiestaware, lighting some candles and writing sweet notes as placecards. I’ll even make a dessert. They’ll love it! And, in the midst of the food and fancy table trimmings, I will pray that they sense even the teeniest, tiniest spark of the love that their momma holds in her heart for them.
Challenge: Surprise someone with a special celebration in their honor.