After I finished making lunch, I surprised them and announced, "Okay! Lunch is ready! Today, we are going to have a PICNIC IN THE FAMILY ROOM!"
Oh my goodness, you would have thought it was Christmas morning around here. Immediately, they started jumping up and down and saying, "YAY!!!" I laid out one of our blankets and set out our food. I decided to make their favorite--PB&J, sour cream and onion chips, and applesauce. It was all very, uh, organic and very nutritious....wink, wink. At least they had their milk!
Before we sat down to eat, Walt observed the food on the ground of the family room. He looked at me and said, "Mommy, we make a mess!"
This was his way of saying he was worried we were going to spill and make a mess in the family room. I told him, "It's okay! We are going to eat on the blanket today. It's fun!"
When he heard me absolve him of any fear of making a mess, an ear-to-ear grin came on his face. It simultaneously thrilled me and broke my heart. I was tickled he was so excited about the picnic, but it struck me that his first thought was, "Oh, no. What if we make a mess?" The family room picnic was my small attempt to let them know that it's important to Mommy that we have impromptu fun together.
One minute into the meal, Walt dropped a glob of grape jelly on his jeans. A look of panic crossed his little face. "Oh, no! I spill!"
I smiled and said, "Accidents happen! It's okay."
He returned my smile and said, "Okay, Mommy." Note to self: Reinforce to the kiddos that accidents happen and that's okay--especially on the days when we've had 5 potty training wardrobe changes or spilled milk 3 times in one sitting. It's good to learn how to be careful, but it's more important to learn that Mommy will help you when you have an accident.
Jane and Walt did a great job eating, so they got to have their favorite treat--a Double-Stuf Oreo.
Ever since that day, they regularly ask for "more picnic time." I hope when they look back on their childhood, they'll think of moments like this. I want them to remember Mom joining them on the floor, doing "Criss-Cross Applesauce" on their backs as many times as they ask, reading all of the books from the library twice in one sitting just because, and telling them that I love being their mommy. If all they remember is me scrubbing toilets, telling them to pick up, or "Hurry!" it will have been a squandered opportunity.
I want them to know that they (and their dad) are my vocation; they're not an obstacle to it. I hope they know that I chose to stay at home because they are my vocation--not cleaning the house, making meals, or any other secondary goods. They are my heaven-sent eternal gifts that give me everyday opportunities to help me on my own path to sainthood. Hopefully they'll think of Mommy as helping them on their path, too. That is why I'm home.
"She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her."