Bedtime at our house is filled with typical five year old antics–stalling, more time in the bathtub negotiations, tooth brushing, water drinking and the ritual of choosing the toy of honor that gets to share the bed for the night. “No, you can’t sleep with that one, you’ll roll over on it in the middle of the night and wake up!” Then a story, bedtime prayers and lights out.
These are normal activities for households with small children, except that we were supposed to be empty nesters.
Last night, I was helping Zachary get ready for bed when he warned me as I reached for his foot to remove his sock. “There’s art supplies in there!” In his sock? Since school? Sure enough, carefully peeling his sock off his foot revealed seven brightly colored broken pencil leads that he had collected and placed there for safe keeping during craft time at school. I asked the obvious questions. “Why did you save these?” and “Why did you put them in your sock?” And I got the obvious answers. “Because I liked them.” and “Because I didn’t have a pocket!” Oh.
Against my looks-like-trash-to-me-so toss-it instincts, each tiny colored piece was carefully placed in a dixie cup and several seconds were spent marveling over how pretty each was in the bottom of the cup. “I like the red one best!” And then after prayers and kisses; a moment to double check that the small cup with the treasures inside was safe until morning.
I am blessed to again be able to experience the joy of ordinary moments. The ones that really matter. Once again, I get to see the world through a child’s eyes. Coming from a place of understanding I couldn’t possibly have known as a young parent, I am amazed by how much of what is really important I missed the first time around and am determined to make the best of this second chance.
The road to last night’s bedtime ritual was paved with the stones of poor choices; resulting in bumps, delays, detours, potholes and heart breaking consequences. But it led to a beautiful place of joy I would never have found any other way.