Here is Andrew, getting ready for his nap. He's sleeping on a fleece pillow that my friend Emily made for him, the blanket tucked around him is from my friend Idella, and the crocheted one next to him is one I made last year.
All little children that I have known recognize and appreciate handmade. As I was settling him for his nap just now, it got me thinking. The development of our children as people depends on our hands, our care, our time. When Andrew asks me to sing Goodnight My Father* to him one more time, or insists that I repeat the "ABC's" starting at "QRS", when he begs me to pray for him just a little longer (= cuddle time) and screams if I shut the door before he gets a chance to say "I love you too, Mommy", I am investing in a man. I am handshaping his character.
I read today in the book Beautiful In God's Eyes (by Elizabeth George) that "...50% of a child's character and personality development takes place by age three, and 75% by age five". The laundry needs to be done, there's little fingerprints on the walls, my dining room set is sticky, the floor is wanting a good scrub, my hair isn't fixed, I haven't put my makeup on yet...but my children need me. Getting the Stuff done is important. But investing my time, treasuring the moments with my babies, is always first.**
*Goodnight My Father is a song Barbara Cuomo taught me in Sunday school when I was probably 6 or 7. She handed out the lyrics on these little pieces of paper. I think she wrote it herself. I put the paper in my bottom drawer and still had it when I moved out to Tulsa in '01. The lyrics are a little choppy, and some of it may have changed a little with my memory, but it has comforted me in more situations than I can count. It's a beautiful prayer, and I'm so glad that Andrew loves it too. Maybe I'll put up a video sometime of Andrew singing it so that you all can hear how it goes.
Here are the lyrics:
Goodnight my father, put thoughts of Jesus in my head
Holy Spirit comfort me, put angels all around my bed
And fill my dreams with the things that please you
I long to hear Your sweet voice, it is so peaceful.
**To balance this, I assure you that I realize: Greg comes before the kids, God comes before Greg. =)