Often times, I have been told I am not practical. Why would you spend your time or money on that?
o.k. here is my answer: “to delight a child”. Period. I have bought bundles of bubble wrap just to see my grandkids joyfully pop it. I have bought ice cream cones and spend extra time at the beach hunting for rocks, or looking for tree frogs in the woods. I have spent hours in the pool with my grandchildren when I could have been working at a job earning money for their college education.
I spent many years as a youth leader (my husband was the youth Pastor) building 50 ft. submarine sandwiches, developing shaving cream hockey rinks, learning to ride a motorcycle, supervising time on a mini-bike, hiding under covers/tents with flash lights.
My daughter in law thought I was crazy when I took her first-born child outside into a summer thunder storm and fearlessly told her that God’s voice was in the thunder and that He was so powerful–he had created the whole world including “you”.
We have painted wooden doll house finds from garage sales and shopped for flowers for Mommy for mother’s day. I have cradled babies and tots in my arms and read the stories and cuddled–long past bed time.
Why would I spend time in frivolity acting childish (or child-like) when there were so many adult things that needed to be done?
Why did I let them splash in that puddle or paint that basement wall? Why did I spend money on craft supplies?
Most of us remember getting those new tennis shoes and saying, “watch how fast I can run!” or “look how high I can jump”. I even had a 15 year old convinced that the expensive basketball shoes would indeed help him to jump like Michael Jordan. It was worth the price. No, really it was, those shoes lasted all his high school years–not just one season. Hmmm.
I raised three boys and have four grandsons, what boy doesn’t get a hoot out of water guns and whoopie cushions? What little girl doesn’t like new hair bows or Barbie dresses? Or a pink ball glove? Impractical? Maybe. Sacrificing-often. Was it worth it? Yep, it sure was worth it to me–because it mattered to them.
Oh, and books, I have spent a fair amount on books. Good books and goofy books, picture books and wordless books and funky books–to see the pride in a child’s eyes when he says, “listen to me read”, or “I can read it myself!”. And there were paper chains and balls: oh my, the balls, tennis balls, baseballs, basketball, beach balls, those num-chuck type balls, wiffle balls, and red rubber balls–all to see a child smile.
My answer? Simply, to see the delight in a child’s eyes. Just like the woman that spent a year’s salary pouring expensive perfume on Jesus feet. She knew that he would not be with her long and he was worthy. Her love had no bounds. Because relationships matter more than anything in life.