I read a great post the other day and it's had me thinking ever since. Thinking of how I spend my hours at home with our children, not about what we are doing, but about how I am acting. What do my children see of me? How do I greet them first thing in the morning, and send them off to bed in the evening?
Am I joyful? Do they see me smile? Or do they more frequently see me fix them, teach them, complain about something, and control them?
Since we send our children to school, that means I only see Thomas and Annie for about one hour in the morning, and then about five hours from when I pick them up from school, until they are in bed. And in those five hours most of it is spent driving, helping them with homework, making sure they practice piano, making dinner, cleaning up dinner, giving baths. It leaves very little time for just talking with them, looking and listening to them, reading to them and playing with them.
At the start of this school year I decided to really focus on the time I DO get to spend with them. I try and greet them as joyfully and cheerfully as I can. Even though in my head I begin the countdown of what needs to be done before heading out the door at 7:30, I desperately try and hug them, sit with them as they wake up, make them something for breakfast, and SMILE at them. It's amazing when you smile at your children, they will smile back. I completely noticed this with George. After a few days of being over joyful to him when he wandered downstairs and giving him a big hug with a good morning George, how he has picked up on that. Now when he comes downstairs and sees me he gives me an extra big grin and says good morning mom!
I'm trying to be joyful now as I do our bedtime routine. The baths, brushing teeth, reading stories and scratching their backs and even prayers can be exhausting after a long day, but I MUST change my attitude about it all and try and enjoy those moments with them.
Saint Therese showed us her little way by doing small things with great love.
"Therese longed at times to be a martyr like Joan of Arc, or to be a missionary, even a priest. Eventually she realized that her path to heaven would be much simpler. God was calling her to be holy by doing ordinary things with extraordinary love. She was to be humble and forgotten, and she was to accept the sufferings that came to her with love." - Mary Glavich.
Doing ordinary things with extraordinary love....I can do that. I want to do that.
-buckle a seat belt
-get a cup of water
-wipe off the counter
very ordinary tasks that I do a billion times a day. I know God is asking me to do them better, for HIM, and with a smile.
"Therese practiced love. One sister in the convent constantly irritated her. Therese told herself, I will do for this sister the things I would do for the person I love most. After awhile, the troublesome nun asked, "Sister Therese, tell me what is it about me that attracts you? Every time we meet, you greet me with a most gracious smile."