Who knows what these kids were actually doing on this day, but don't they look extremely happy? I mean there are no toys, iPads or Playstations in this picture, but they all look like life is great. Since I've had children I have spent the majority of my time as their mother saving them from themselves, fussing, correcting, training and disciplining. Then the small bits of time loving, having fun, eating cookies well past bed time and snuggling.
Last night as I watched my older daughter play with an empty diaper bag and an old bouncer, it dawned on me; I've been going about this mom thing totally wrong. I work hard at a job I can't honestly say I like even a little bit to be able to give my kids something they've never asked for, stuff. I mean, she was so content playing with that empty bag and going to the imaginary Wal-Mart. It just warmed my spirit. To see her just quiet in her own happiness made me think of how resilient children's spirits are. I know I have yelled at her and broken her little heart enough times for her to become mean and withdrawn. But, not my Ava. And why did mommy yell or fuss? Because she was tired and wanted quiet because she had a hard day at work. I should kick my own self in my butt! But amazingly, all of those things that mommy said or didn't say are quickly forgotten with an "I love you" from mommy.
Something happens when we become adults, something quite sad. We forget how blissful simple things are and make our lives complicated in the pursuit of material things. Think about it. How happy with yourself do you have to be to spend 35-45 minutes playing with a bag? No, I'm not telling you to go around with an empty diaper bag putting random things in it and going to an imaginary store. That's just crazy! But do swing on the swings (if and only if it can hold your weight!), color and paint with your kids outside, dance and twirl around, make up random songs about random things, ENJOY YOUR KIDS! Remember all of the things that made your life great as a kid and do it. Let's stop putting our kids in spiritual cuffs and let them be kids. Don't let the limitations that have been put on us as adults affect the freedom our kids. Because, I don't know about you, but I've never wanted to be a grown-up! Until then, let's be kinder to our kids, or they'll grow up to be mean and ugly adults!