Saturday, December 3, 2011

Popcorn and a Runny Nose

When my two oldest children were small, I was a single mom and worked full-time.  On one particularly exhausting day, it seemed my work was insurmountable. I sat on the floor, surrounded by laundry and discouragement. 
Suddenly, my three-year-old son ran into the room with a runny nose and a big smile on his face. 
“Mama!” Jordan squealed.  “Look what I can do!”  He opened a fistful of popcorn and waved his other hand as if performing a magic trick.  Then he carefully took one popped kernel and pressed it against his upper lip.  It stuck. 
Jordan was thrilled at his new skill.  I laughed and cheered as he walked around the room until the popcorn finally fell off.  He insisted that I try it and even offered to give me his own snot-covered popcorn (I declined, insisting that honey worked just as well). We modeled our new, edible mustaches for my daughter, then a mature five-year-old.  She was disgusted at the thought of using snot for glue.  But she agreed to a board game and ate her own bowl of popcorn—sans snot.
As my family grew and three more kids arrived, life became even busier.  I learned that silly time was absolutely vital to our sanity. It was the glue (or snot) that held us together.  In moments of chaos, I reached for the blocks and we built castles that towered above the mountains of stress.  We raced Hot Wheels in the hallway and built rivers in the dirt.  I learned to sing more silly songs and clean less.  A lot less.

Now that my kids are older, the Legos and blocks are relegated to a closet shelf, but we still desperately need time to be silly.  Fortunately, we have someone who reminds us to do that. 

At 15 months old, my granddaughter inspires us to race cars and stack blocks for no logical reason.  She helps us stay grounded.  Literally.  The world is much less serious when you view it from your hands and knees.
This little bundle of energy is a gift; she makes us laugh more and worry less.  A lot less.

And each time I reach for a tissue to wipe a little face, I remember an important lesson from long ago:  you never know when a runny nose will come in handy. 

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