My daydreams of spending the evening out on the deck eating dinner and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass came true last night. It was the perfect night for lounging and visiting outside. We invited Chris and Ali over for dinner and we spent all of our time in the backyard.
Trevor grilled ribs and chicken and although the fire got away from him and charred the meat, it was still good. We bribed Nate with the promise of a ride on the 4-wheeler to get him to finish his supper. As promised, Trevor pulled the Rincon out of the shed and took the kids on a ride through the woods behind the house. It was no surprise that they rounded the corner of the house with big smiles plastered on their little faces!
The kids spent some time launching air rockets and then Chris and I took them around the yard a time or two in the red wagon that Uncle Tellius gave the kids last Christmas. I wish I had gotten a picture of that because all three of them were crammed into that wagon together...they were all knees and elbows!
As it got darker, I pulled out some glow necklaces and distributed them as evenly as possible. Nathan, Grace and Nate ran back and forth across the yard with their necklaces making arcs of light in the deepening twilight. The adults sat contentedly on the deck taking turns holding Calvin and enjoying the peaceful evening together. Sitting there with our friends I was overcome with nostalgia. I can vividly remember playing outside well after dark on balmy summer nights with Patrick, swatting the mosquitoes but not caring how many times I was bitten because of the fun I was having. Playing hide-and-seek in the dark with Courtney, Allison and Patrick at Granny and Gramps' house while the grown-ups visited inside.
It made me happy that Trevor and I have been blessed in such a way that we can give that sort of life to our children. Society is geared in this day and age to force our kids to grow up long before they should. I want my children to retain their wonder and innocence for as long as possible. I want them to revel in playing outside and using their imagination to entertain themselves. I don't want them to worry about grown-up things yet....I want them to be children. Thank you Lord. Thank you for friends with whom we can make lasting memories and for our children who keep us young at heart.
As I was sitting on the deck this morning drinking my coffee and studying the book we are currently using for our small group, Nathan wandered out of the house and sat down next to me on the swing. He asked me how ants know how to dig tunnels (he is fascinated by the ant farm we brought home from our trip). I explained that God made them that way and that he gave them instincts. Ants just dig because that is the way God made them...they can't do anything else and don't want to. I was just starting to pat myself on the back for using the opportunity to teach Nathan something of God's relationship with human beings. I said, "God gave all animals instincts including people, but He gave us something even better. He gave us...."
"Shovels," he interjected, with a look that just screamed "duh!".
I laughed out loud and agreed that God did indeed give us shovels, but more importantly He gave us a brain and the will to make tools to do things. I had to sit back and marvel at the simple way kids see the world around them. For all of my lecturing on God and how He is at work in our lives, Nathan saw the obvious. It was just another lesson in child-rearing....don't complicate things with long lectures and boring exposition. Stick with the basic facts and ideas that a child can grasp. The sometimes complicated theology will come with time and maybe a little easier with a lifetime of little moments like the one I had this morning.