I took the kids to the park one morning this weekend. It wasn’t super hot in the mornings so we tried to get as much outside time as we could before the sun’s rays tried to burn my pasty children and myself. Anyway, I let John and Rosie pick out their own clothes most days. I do this for a few reasons. 1. It’s a simple thing that they can feel they have control over – a big deal for little ones. 2. We have done hysterical pictures from the combinations of clothing they have come up with. Recently I’ve added another advantage to this system. Taking 2 small kids to parks, especially large ones like the one we went to, is challenging. Add the baby who detests the stroller and things can get downright ugly fast. So, their tendency for flair and mismatched attire has the added bonus of an extremely identifiable child.
I didn’t take pictures but I wish I had. Rosie had chosen a pink shirt with sheep on it, florescent orange shorts, pink socks with Anna from Frozen on them pulled up as high as she could so they could “be like boots Mommy,” and a strange cross between pink and orange, very bright, gym shoes. John had a blue and orange football shirt with a pair of plaid-ish shorts that included purple and neon green lines. He rounded out his look with red socks and teenage mutant ninja turtle gym shoes. We were a pretty special sight that day.
You have to understand that playing at the park would be so much easier if I actually did have eyes in the back of my head. Or extra arms. Or could bilocate. Or had super speed. Or was capable of mind control. Any of these would be amazing. Give me two or three and I would be unstoppable, or rather, my child would be completely stoppable, which is usually the goal.
You probably by now have some idea of where this story is heading. I was pushing Clare on a swing and talking with John while he climbed on one of the two park structures nearby. Rosie had been climbing with John too. As I talked to John I realized that Rosie wasn’t talking too. I looked and didn’t see her. Enter Panic, stage left.
I try not to overreact when something like this happens, but it’s hard not to. My kids are precious gifts and losing one sends my heart racing faster than anything. I started to call for Rosie, limited in my range of of movement because Clare was in the swing and I hoped she would pop out from behind a slide or something. No response. I kept scanning for her bright shorts to appear. Panic sets in deeper and I hail Clare out. I keep calling her, trying not to sound as paniced as I felt. After only a few minutes I found her climbing stairs to a slide on the other park structure. The flash of pink and florescent orange was unmistakable. She came down the slide and proudly told me how she did it all by herself. All by herself indeed!
As my racing heart calmed, it got me thinking about other things in my life that have such power over me. Stop and think about it. What makes your heart beat faster when it’s out of sight? What commands all of your attention when you can’t find it? What would you never leave the house without and would even turn around to go get if you did forget it?
Here’s my list:
Kids – probably obvious but you never know, not to rat my parents out but I was forgotten at church a time or two (yes, they always came back for me and I anticipate the same occuring to at least of my children at some point in life – sorry in advance!)
Pacifiers – absolute necessity, the level of difficulty for our outing increases tenfold without one.
Phone – I hate admitting this, but I know where my phone is at every moment of every day. Literally, it’s a problem. Even right now, it’s next to me on the couch. I know where it is before I go to bed. I’ve even noticed that when I go to wear a skirt or pants without pockets, my awareness of my phone’s whereabouts is greatly heightened.
Wallet – this one I don’t think about as much because it always resides in my purse but if I ever need to take it out while at home, I am a bit twitchy until it’s back in it’s rightful place. Not only does it have my license, which is important, it also has my military ID. I simply cannot lose those two cards.
There was something disturbing about my mental exercise. My Bible didn’t make the list. I know where it is, I used it a few days ago to work on a bible study. But I hadn’t read it since. I’m fact, in the past weeks, I’d only read it for a weekly bible study. The things on my list are so precious to me and my happiness I keep them very close and use/engage with them multiple times a day. Shouldn’t the Word of God meet those criteria? It was a convicting thought. It was one of those revelations that ends with “well now I have to do something about this because I can’t claim ignorance anymore.” It’s going to require I change some habits, I am still a work in progress. But I am, I hope, progressing.