Wednesday, March 16, 2016

You Fix Things

We have continued to "fill each other's buckets" each night during dinner by telling one person each night what they love or admire about them. At first, we got answers like, "I love you because you eat tacos" but as we practice this ritual, my children are beginning to understand.

"I love how you always play with me," my four year old said to my husband. This is his standard answer every night, no matter the person. "That's very nice buddy. So you like that he is playful and fun?" I asked, trying to pluck out something original for my husband to hear. "Uh huh," he said as he shoved a forkful of pasta in his mouth.

"Rosie, what do you love about Daddy?" I asked her.
"You love noodles?"
"Me too! Ro Ro...Noodles...Good!" She replied passionately.

Clearly, we were getting nowhere. I sighed with resignation and turned to my oldest son. "What about you buddy? What do you love about Daddy?"

He looked at my husband shyly then looked away, thinking. "Well, I love how Daddy always fixes everything that is broken. No matter what, he stops and fixes my stuff. Even when my heart is broken, he does his best to fix it."

I stopped mid bite and locked eyes with my husband. We were both misty eyed and moved by our son's beautiful words. "Buddy," he began. "That was the best yet. That made me cry." Our son jumped up to hug him then just as quickly ran back to his seat. It was clear that he was proud and my husband and I were overcome with the gift of our little boy's perspective.

I know that sometimes we institute rituals in our families and they seem to be a lot of work without much return. We think our kids don't even notice or that it isn't really making as much of an impact as we hoped. This dinner reminded me that our efforts are never wasted. Each conversation shapes their character whether we know it or not. The parenting game is not one for quick rewards but it certainly pays big in the long run. 

Do you have any family rituals to share? Which ones mean the most to your family?

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