Sunday, November 29, 2009

I look in the faces of my children and I know that God is good.

There are few things I've found greater pleasure in than being a mother. I loved feeling the little pitter-patter of a little one growing inside me while I was pregnant. I love snuggling a sleeping baby in my arms. I love seeing them smile or hearing them giggle in their sleep. Even with my fussy ones, I felt pleasure at the fact that I had the skill to soothe them when no one else could. I got called to the nursery week after week because they cried inconsolably, but when they saw me, they smiled. I never had that kind of power before I became a mother.

I love the fact that I know our children better than anyone else in the world. Daddy certainly knows them well. And Grandma knows them well. But I know them in a special way from having carried them and nursed them and been their mommy. It's a special bond like no other.

I'm sure I've laughed more since I became a mother than I ever did in the years before that. It started when I was expecting J with giggle fits - sometimes at inappropriate times - which I blamed on hormones. It's continued with laughing at their goofy antics and silly jokes and cute expressions, and seeing their joy at discovering the world and the people around them.

I love lying next to them and having "Mommy time" before bed each night. We talk about the things we did that day. They ask questions about things they didn't understand. They tell me about their hopes and dreams. (Like J wants to be the Cash Cab driver when he grows up and H would like to visit Costa Rica someday - although she's not sure why.) I love hearing them sing and listening to their prayers.

I love watching them grow up into little people, seeing their personalities unfold, and being in the position to influence that process. It's a sobering responsibility, but one I wouldn't trade for anything.

When I think about what a wonderful design the family is and how much pleasure I've gotten from being a part of one, I can't help but know that God is good. All the joy is His design. It's marred by the effects of sin, to be sure, but I firmly believe the family is the most wonderful institution in our society. I suppose there's no reason we couldn't have been made to reproduce like plants or amoeba. We could be like animals that care for their young until they can walk and eat, then send them on their way. But God loves us enough to have designed a much better way - one that reflects His relationship with us. One that allows us to glimpse the depth of the sacrifice that He made for us when He gave His only Son for us. One that gives us a chance to experience a pleasure like no other - the pleasure of being part of a family.

It's all because God is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I did not know that in Kindergarten

I don't have a lot of memories from kindergarten. I remember one day being reprimanded for coloring something orange when it was supposed to be brown. I used the burnt sienna crayon. It looked brown to me before I started coloring with it. It looked orange on the paper.

I remember one day when one of the elementary school kids came to read to us. The teacher told him to slow down showing the pictures because our eyes didn't move as fast as his did. I thought that sounded strange.

There was another day when one of the kids came in counting. He carpooled with Julie Race. She said he started counting when he got in the car and hadn't stopped yet.

That's it. That's about all I can remember from kindergarten. I can't say for sure what I learned, but I'm certain it is not what J is learning in kindergarten. Humor me while I act the part of proud mama and brag about him for a few minutes.

J's amazed me many times. He's always been a sponge when it comes to knowledge. I was concerned when he was around 3 that he would be bored in kindergarten. He already knew colors and shapes and letters and how to count to 20 and knew lots of body parts. We're not talking elbow and nose. We're talking pancreas, colon, brain, lungs, kidney...

Well, we put him in a montessori school last year for preschool. He thrived. He finished preschool reading like a champ. There were words he didn't know the meaning of, but he could basically read anything.

This year he's continuing to shine. We went to his open house last week. He showed us his writing journal. It contains mini research papers he's written. He picks a topic from one of the continents, looks it up in the encyclopedia, then writes a report about it. One such report included the sentence "The scorpion is an invertebrate." In kindergarten! I'm certain I didn't know that until I took invertebrate zoology my sophomore year in college. He doesn't know it's weird to be able to do that at his age. He just thinks it's fun to look up something he finds interesting.

Another "work" he showed us at his open house was the stamp game. The best I can explain it is that it's the montessori version of an abacus. Instead of beads, they have little tiles or "stamps." Thus the name. He uses it to do 4 digit addition and subtraction. Not just adding 4 numbers up. Adding up numbers in the thousands. I could not do that in kindergarten.

Today he surprised us again. He came home talking about Belize and the Dominican Republic and a bunch of other countries I hadn't heard mentioned anytime recently. He learned all the continents last year. Now he's working on a more detailed map of North America. If you'd asked me yesterday to name the countries in North America, I would have told you Canada, USA, and Mexico. If pressed, I guess I would have said that Central America is part of North America, but couldn't have gone much beyond that. J can name a whole lot more than I can. In fact, B and I had to go look up the countries in North America to see if he was right. He was. Greenland? Yup. Cuba? Yup. Haiti? Yup. They're all North America. I did not know that in kindergarten. Shoot, I didn't know that earlier today!

My mom always told me she learned a lot more as I was going through school than when she did. I'm looking forward to the same experience. In fact, it's already started!