Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A lesson in love

Yesterday I chose to go running instead of washing the dishes. When I got home the dishes were still waiting for me, and unfortunately, they were still there in the morning as well. Along with the dishes were piles of toys on the living room floor and a load of laundry that had been ruined by, get this, a leaf. Apparently, the leaf had been pocketed by a little boy and I failed to follow my mommas rule of checking the pockets before washing the laundry. The leaf had stained almost the entire load of laundry. I was irritated, and sulking.

I found myself thinking, "I cannot do this all on my own. I cannot keep up with them. They are running me into the ground."

I began remembering all the things that had happened the previous day--the roll of toilet paper I found in the toilet, the cereal bowl I found outside that the boys used to house the worms from all the rain, the laundry basket Eli is obsessed with dumping out every time he walks by, the mattress from his bed the boys keep throwing on the floor, and the dog food Eli cannot resist playing with even though we have owned the dog for his entire life. Little messes all day long.

Then, something happened that reminded me why I clean these messes up all day and kiss owies, and read little pictures books.

Will has been saving up smiley faces for days. Yesterday he had two frowny faces and he decided to get rid of them by sitting in the corner for ten minutes (five minutes for each frowny). I imagined he would then come and buy something out of the reward box but he said, "No. I'm saving up for more smiley faces. Is there anything I can do to earn some more?"

Today, we went to the store and when we got home I told them they were all pretty good at the store so I was going to give them each a smiley face. Isaac had two frowny faces and asked to sit in the corner for his eight minutes to get rid of them. I obliged and set the kitchen timer. In the meantime, Will and Eli decided to use their smiley faces.

Will had 14 smiley faces and asked if he had enough to buy the black plastic snake and a snack. I told him he did and then he said, "Yay! I've been saving all my smiley faces for that snake. Isaac has wanted it for a long time but hasn't bought it yet..."

(I'm thinking, "Will is such a weasel. He knows Isaac wants that snake and he's going to buy it before Isaac gets a chance.)

Then Will finished his sentence.

"So, I thought if I could earn enough smiley faces I could buy it for him!"

My heart melted. Wouldn't yours?

His snack only cost three smiley faces but that snake cost 10. Will played with his brothers, helped wash dishes, fed the dog, along with doing other good things to earn that snake and rather than keep it for himself he gave it to his brother.

I learned a lesson today about love. All that service I do around the house--the service I was sulking about in the morning? I do it because I love my family.

And that should be enough.


Jess and Jen said...

What a sweet little boy! It makes it all worth it! Thanks for sharing. -Jen

CLAMES said...

What a great story and reminder!

Kristi, Liezl, Quincy, and Josh said...

You are a good example to all of us Will. I love your pictures from the splash pond. I hope you have a good trip

chelsey said...

Ahhh! That's my boy! Way to go kiddo! Give him a big squeeze from his proud aunt!

Jed and Kera said...

Oh boy.... and I am teary eyed! So sweet! I'm so happy to get to read friends' blogs and learn little lessons along the way! :O) Well, I better get to my sink of dishes now! :O)

Life as a Greenstreet said...

Yes, that would have melted my heart for sure! What a little Sweetie! Good reminder about why we do what we do when it can get to be too much.

Lokodi said...

That's a really great story. Thanks for sharing.


The Duke said...

Stop making me cry... it's embarrassing. I love that story and I love that little boy of yours.

Debbie Barr said...

That is the sweetest story! I think everyone can use a little reminder in that area. Thanks for sharing. :)

Katrina said...

I need to do that smiley face reward system with my daughter! she would totally get into it I bet! Such a sweet post!

Lisa said...

Oh that is so sweet and kind. Sometimes children do things like that, and you feel like hey, maybe our family IS doing something right here! I know how you feel about trying to keep up with the messes though, I was just bemoaning the same situation to Jeff last night. It is impossible to ever stay on top of them!

Jess and Jason said...

I need to learn a lessons from my adorable nephew! (and yes, I am tearing up...)