Every now and then little flickers of my childhood come to mind, playing much like an old movie reeling out a black and white picture. It's even a little fuzzy around the edges.
When I think about my childhood I see flickers of fireflies and kick the can. I feel balmy summer nights, so real I believe I can literally hear the locusts and croaking frogs. I can feel, and even smell, the air conditioner unit as it kicks on. Oh, to have the air come from the floor.
I can feel rubbery swings better for flipping on than swinging on, soggy blisters turning into rough callouses from the monkey bars my dad built with his own two hands. I can smell his lumber yard on his clothing.
It's safe to say that my childhood was simple, but it was good. I can remember times begging my parents to go someplace, to get out of the house rather than do yard work all day on a perfectly good Saturday. I can feel the frustration. I'm a goer by nature. Yet, I did not feel deprived.
I can remember the paddle ball paddle that became my spanking device. I can remember my mom's angry voice and her silent treatment that cut to the core when she was upset with me. Yet, when remembering, these aren't the moments I remember first.
No, first I remember my mom's fingers running through my hair or swiping it from my face gently. I remember her rubbing my back when I was tired and her sacrificial rubbing of my shoulders and the soothing sound of her voice when a migraine had me sick. I remember the security of knowing that, despite 14 + hours on the couch fighting nausea and auras, she was in the other room, not complaining about what she was missing out on, but checking to see if she could make my rag cold again. I remember sitting on her lap and her complaining about my 'bony butt', but never wanting to get up because I wanted to be close to her.
With my dad, I remember the butterfly kisses given every night before bed. I feel foolish now, looking back there was definitely a weirdness of affection between my dad and I as I got older. It was a wall I built, not him. Those butterfly and eskimo kisses given before bed are a memory I'll forever cherish. I loved sitting on his lap. His lap was a place of security, safety, a haven from the world. When I think about God and dream about seeing Him and being with Him, I dream about crawling up in His lap, being a kid again, sitting with her Abba.
My dad was the strong, quiet type. He had the wisdom to pick his battles, to stay out of the ones that didn't pertain to him, and to love despite the stubbornness of the women who loved him. I was the little buddy that was by his side. Seeing him with Bryton often sends me back to how he interacted with me as a child. As a parent myself, now, I see that interaction for what it was... I was cherished by that man.
And not many days go by that I don't wonder what it will be that my kids - when they are gone from my home - will long for, will remember with joy, will cherish about the time that they spent in my care. I pray that the memories that I'm making for them allow them to look back at some point and really feel that they were cherished, precious, and important in the lives of their parents.
May this effect my decisions, my priorities, my tone and my attitude as I lead and guide them daily. May HE lead and guide me daily to become the parent that I cannot become on my own. I only get one shot as I lead them. May I kiss goodnight - and do it well - may I discipline without harshness - may I rub backs and play with hair and not only expect nothing in return, but ASK for nothing in return. May my life exude Jesus and what He has done in and through me, so that eventually, I fade to the background and they'll see that they weren't really cherished and loved dearly by a mother, who is by nature sinful, but moreso, they are cherished and loved dearly by their Creator, our God, who at one point used me as a vessel to love them well.
May I love them well.