Reminders From My Oldest

“I know who I want to marry”, he said.

He wasn’t joking.  He has told us who.  Even told us why he wants to marry her.  It’s simple really.

“I just do.  She’s my friend.  I like playing with her.  I have fun with her.”

Let me be clear.  My son came up with this all by himself.  We are very intentional about not talking about having a girlfriend, not even in a joking manner.  He’s five!  Discussions about dating and related topics will be discussed age appropriately as they are brought up or it’s deemed necessary.  The only reference we have ever made to such relationship has been in the context of family members {my sister, cousins, etc.} who are in dating relationships.  So you can imagine we were quite surprised when he announced that he’s picked a wife.

I admit.  This whole thing is rather cute.  But apart from the cuteness of it all I was reminded of a few things.

  1. It is important to have fun with your spouse.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his answer as to why he wanted to marry her but it wasn’t her outward beauty {although she is adorable}, it wasn’t what she has or doesn’t have.  It was simply that he enjoys her, he has fun with her.  She’s his friend.  Friendship with your spouse is so important.  Friendship is what keeps you connected.  Your spouse should be your best friend.  In a post on the Resurgence website Pastor Mark Driscoll says, “when both spouses make a deep, heartfelt covenant with God to continually seek to become a better friend, the marriage is marked by ever-increasing longing and love.”  Driscoll and his wife, Grace, speak a great deal about friendship with your spouse in their book Real Marriage.  If you don’t already own a copy, you should.  It has been a valuable resource for Derek and I.  Ladies, for some practical tips on friendship with your husbands check out this Mars Hill Church blog post:  7 Ways to Enjoy Friendship with Your Husband.
  2. Cultivate open communication in the home.  I want to be having these same conversations in ten, fifteen, twenty years from now.  When my boys are dating.  When they are seriously considering marriage.  I want them to feel the freedom to talk to us about dating and girls.  I want them to feel comfortable asking us questions about marriage.  I don’t want them to have any fear about talking openly and candidly with Derek and I.  I pray that the Lord would help us cultivate that sort of atmosphere in our family.  We are not here to be their best friends but we are here to teach, train, and nurture them.  I want my boys to know that they can tell me or ask me anything.  I don’t have a step by step on how this happens. {Wish I did.}  I do believe it involves being there.  Really being there.  Spending intentional time together.  Listening.  One way our family is intentional with our time together is Family Fun Night.  One night a week is set aside for just our family.  We watch a movie and eat popcorn, go out to eat, or play games.  The boys count down the days until Family Fun Night!
  3. Our children are watching and listening.  This whole conversation was started because of what he saw and heard about mine and Derek’s marriage.  He hears many of our conversations, he sees the way we interact with one another, he is aware of our habit of date night.  It’s easy to think that because he’s young he doesn’t quite understand it all.  I would argue that he understands and is aware of much more than we give him credit for.  I need to be mindful of this.  One day they will, Lord willing, be husbands and fathers.  We can have many “talks” but at the end of the day much of what will stick will be what they saw.  They are learning from me even when I don’t think I’m teaching them.  Like when I hear one say “what the heck?!” and I jerk my head back in shock and say “where the heck did they hear that?”  Oh yeah.  Me.  Or when the older one shows the younger one how to hold  his spoon “like Daddy does”.   As a child of God I should be imaging God to others so that they see Him and glorify Him.  This imaging God to others includes imaging God to my children.
  4. I should pray for my future daughter-in-laws {and those DIL’s husbands!}. I told the boys they had plenty of time to find a wife.  Which is true.  After all, they are only five and three.  It will be at least twenty years before either one of them tie the knot.  But chances are she has already been born.  She’s on this planet somewhere.  I must pray for her.  Pray for her heart.  Pray for their relationship.  The idea of my boys being married is crazy talk right now but I know it’ll seem like only the blink of an eye and they’ll be men.  Men.  Part of my job as a parent is to raise these boys into men.  While I pray for my daughter-in-laws I should also pray for my sons as they become men.  Men who one day may be husbands and fathers.  I pray often that my boys will “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong, and that all that they do will be done in love.” {1 Corinthians 16:13-14}  I do pray for Connor’s wife and Graham’s wife.  And in my prayers for my boys I pray for their homes and marriages.  Because one day, Lord willing, they will need to realize the importance of being best friends with their wife.  One day they’ll be navigating through parenting just as their Dad and I are doing now.

These were reminders to me, not things I’ve mastered so I’m passing them along to you.  No, I am not an expert on any of these points.  I wouldn’t need reminded if I was.  I’m learning as I go.  Learning as I fail because I do.  Daily.  Learning through, and because of, God’s grace to me. His grace upon grace.  {John 1:16}

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An Overnight Getaway

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We had never heard of Unicoi State Park before but when Living Social offered a great deal for a room at the lodge we did our research and booked a trip!  Unicoi State Park is minutes away from Helen, GA.  I had heard good things about Helen but had never been, this seemed like a good chance to go check it out.  Plus, our little family needed a little getaway – just the four of us – no matter how brief.

We were hoping for sunnier weather but the temperatures were mild and stayed dry enough for us to get in one short hike.  When it did start to rain the trees provided enough cover to keep us from getting too wet.  Hiking is becoming one of our favorite things to do.  Our family is very new to hiking.  We did a couple short ones in WA last August.  This was our first one since then.  We hope to make it a regular family activity.  We hiked the Frog Pond Nature Trail.  It is the shortest and easiest trail at Unicoi.  Our original trail option was a 2 hour hike.  It’s an easy hike and one the boys would have no problem doing but due to the threat of rain we chose the shorter option.  Glad we did or else we would’ve been caught in the rain for sure!  Connor loved to stop and look at plants and suspicious animal homes.  Graham was all about the trail’s posted signs which told all about the area wildlife and plants.

We had pizza for dinner at a small tavern and pizzeria in Helen.  Back at the lodge we snacked on twizzlers, put together a puzzle, read some, and then piled in bed together to watch Despicable Me.  It was simple and relaxed.

The next day we browsed the little town of Helen.  Our time there included brunch, coffee, a wooden toy store, and miniature golf!

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Mini golf proved to be quite entertaining!  C & G each had their own “styles”.  We learned early on in the game that we had to hold Graham’s ball in between turns.  But when it was his turn, he was focused.  Most holes it took him many tries before getting the ball in the hole but he did manage, with Derek’s help, to get a hole in one!  Derek won, which was to be expected.  I came in a “close” second and the boys managed to tie in third place.   Connor and Graham both agreed that mini golf was “really cool!”.  It was worth every penny.

Our trip lasted a little over 24 hours but it was perfect.  Thankful for a good deal on Living Social, a few days off for Derek, and my little family to enjoy it all with.

First Game

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He slowly entered our room this morning after waking up. I couldn’t quite tell from his facial expression which side of the bed my oldest child had woken up on.  Ready for your game?! His eyes immediately widen, a toothless smile spread across his cheeks, and his skinny little arms sprang into the air, Yes!  The real soccer practice!  

I unfolded his jersey and discovered a laundry mishap.  The person in charge of the laundry, none others than yours truly, had neglected to take off his sticker name tag prior to washing his jersey after his last practice.  Left in it’s place was a rectangle of leftover adhesive.  If you looked close you could read his name.  I explained it to Connor, knowing he would notice anyways, and we brushed it off deciding we would figure out its removal later.  He excitedly put on his jersey and soccer shorts, that are only slightly too big.  He pulled up his socks and put on his super cool bright shoes.  These shoes were not my purchase but he is crazy about them.  After today’s game though we wonder if we would be nice parents to purchase the child a pair of cleats.

C was very excited about his first game.  And if I may please have the freedom to be a completely honest mother here, it was obvious it was indeed his first.  Let me reiterate that he was very excited about his game.  C tends to have a difficult time focusing sometimes anyways, add all the excitement and it was quite hysterical.

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He had a great time and was sure to make sure I documented the entire event by looking our way instead of following his team.  After some coaxing he’d catch up with the rest of his team and head toward the appropriate goal.  He’s not a soccer star, at least not as of yet but he had an absolute blast.

I gave him two rules in the car before his game:  1.  Pay attention and obey his coach. {okay, so maybe that rule was a 2-in-1 rule}   2.  Have fun!  He followed both.

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He’s #4, that is if you can’t spot his shoes.  We so enjoyed watching him play.  I overheard some of the boys talk on the sidelines.  One of his teammates told the others that he was “good at soccer because he played for the YMCA last year.”  I’m certain that with teammates such as him, consistent practice, and learning more about the game Connor will continue to improve his soccer skills.

The poor kid has been completely attacked by pollen this week.  I was concerned about how he would hold up for an hour on the field.  But he hung in there.  In fact he was awarded the sportsmanship sticker after the game for staying in the game even though he was coughing a bit and was tired.  Proud mama moment.

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The final score was 2-2.  The other team scored their second point at the very end.  However I don’t think the kids really cared.  C never asked who won.  He really had the. best. time. 

Go Bulls!