Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Brush Strokes

It’s 10:05 PM. There are gales of laughter coming from the girl’s room. While this is not uncommon for our house (all night owls but Adam, you see, and even he has had to adjust to the late hours), this time I will not yell my usual; “Go to sleep, (angry dramatic pause), NOW!”

Tonight daddy is causing the ruckus, and I am so very OK with it.

As I sat here tonight and looked around me, and realized that all that I hold most dear in the world was safely within 12 square feet of me. I flashed to a time ten years from now, Ethan away at school, Adam on a mission, the girls at a church dance...will I ever have it this good (and by "good" I mean protected, safe, nest-like) again?

This is the time to prepare them for the world. Right here. Right now. Tonight. With stories and lap time and prayers and hugs.

Guy read to the boys from their latest; Percy Jackson, then followed that up with a second course – three chapters of Junie B. Jones. Ethan multi-tasked as he does so amazingly, listening and doing a puzzle book at the same time. Ellie occupied the seat of honor, daddy’s lap, while Adam and Tess wandered (my children listen best while wandering the room like we all used to do back in the days before cordless phones). After shoo-ing them all to bed he visited with me for a moment, till Tessa came out to ask for “her” stories.

“I’ll read them to you tomorrow. It’s late.” I said.

“No, I promised her I would read to her, too.” Chapter books still go over her head, and she needed a good picture book nite-cap to send her off to dreamland.

He went, tired but committed, and read Rudolf (yeah, you heard me, Rudolf). I assume the reading was over when the giggling began.

Ticklemonster time. He is giving them so many memories.

Today at church woman who taught the lesson for our women’s meeting talked about a discourse given by Elder David A. Bednar called “More Diligent and Concerned at Home”(read it here). This quote stuck with me:

“In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”

I don’t imagine that my kids will remember tonight. Not specifically. It was like so many others. And certainly we could be more consistent about prayer and scripture study, so in some places our wheat field is patchy and bald-ish. But we work steadily to improve, and the overall picture is filling in. Mostly, thanks to Guy.

I am grateful for a husband who values his role as father. He has my respect and admiration. Years ago I asked him what he wanted to be remembered for. He said, “I don’t care if I am remembered.” I said, “But what would you want people to say about you at your funeral?”

“That I was a good father.” he answered simply.

He is. When I reminded him of that conversation of so long ago tonight, I said, “You already succeeded in your life’s ambition.”

“I guess I can die now.” He quipped with a tease.

No, he can’t. We have a lot of painting to do.




Post script: Please ignore the crazy editing/fonts/colors of this post. Blogger hates me tonight!


julean said...

Beautiful! I remember that talk now. I loved it when I heard it. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. It's nice to have that imagery of each little stroke and how important they all are to make up the whole painting.

Thanks... it's good to be reminded about these things, especailly for me today.

rebekahmott said...

Thanks for the reminder of why We do what we do.

They Call Me Momma said...

There are some people who write beautifully, but in real life, they don't really express themselves in any artistic or particularly special fashion. You are different. Reading your writing is like sitting with you, and talking, as you share, and relate and love with exuberance, grace and style. I love you so..... and am just LOVING reading your blog.

4 Kids and Done Counting said...

I remember reading that in the Ensign, and I thought of you, and my sunflower sketch and our families.