Chris and I resolved long before the Two came along that we would raise our children to love Jesus and teach them to pray. I mean, it was prayer that got them to us and all, right people? The first night home with Aria, we said prayers with her - well, to her - and it's been a naptime and nighttime tradition ever since. So, all in all, I think we're doing pretty good. Strike that. Jesus is doing pretty good. He has blessed us with the most wide-eyed, tenderhearted little prayer warrior you could ever meet.
Case in point. I have a friend from high school who was recently in a motorcycle vs car crash, and the car won. Said friend is in the hospital back home having all sorts of surgeries for breaking many, many bones in his body. I told Aria about it the night it happened and we prayed for him. Several nights later, we were saying prayers at our appointed time (8, 8:30, 9 - okay not so appointed, but bedtime nonetheless). As I was ending our prayer, Aria says, "Mommy, what about your friend?" (Okay, my fault here, but I totally blanked and forgot about Keith). Me, "What friend, honey?" Aria, "Your friend with the boo-boos". Me, "Baby, what are you talking about?". Aria with a big frustrated Mommy-must-I-always-remind-you sigh, "You know. Your friend. The car laid down in the street, and your friend hit the car on he bike, and got lots of boo-boos on he head, Mommy". Oh wow, this child is exactly right. Shame, shame, Mommy. Your two-year-old has a better memory than you.
Incidentally, Aria still hasn't gotten down her possessive pronouns yet, so everything is "he" or "she" instead of "his" or "hers". We think it's so endearing we don't have the heart to correct her. "Mommy, Caroline is crying, she wants she bottle" or "Where is (BFF) Peachy, he at he house?", or "Lexi wants to play with she ball". Oh, I just love, love, love it. Don't ever change it, Aria Grace, you are so stinkin' cute.
A big thing with Aria right now is The Lord's Prayer. We have to say it twice a day, and she gets in all kinds of toddler distress if I forget to recite it with her. The kicker is, the line where Jesus says, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" (Yes, I know, my Presbyterian roots are showing), when you are two years-old, comes out as, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our dinners". I can't help but think, though, maybe she's onto something. Don't we sometimes need to ask forgiveness for our dinners? We ate Taco Bueno twice this week - by choice, not necessity. Maybe I need to ask forgiveness from the Dave Navarro-look-alike drive-thru-guy for the toddler hurling goldfish at him from the backseat, or never having correct change, or always making him bring us more jalepenos (Chris/Aria), or always giggling when we ask him about the Chili Peppers. Okay, maybe it's not quite the burrito I need to repent for. Maybe it's the nights we spend eating dinner at the coffee table in front of the TV, or the times we all eat separately, and I usually eat standing up. Or the times we get so caught up in life, we forget to sit down and really talk about our day. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it weighs heavily on my heart.
My parents always made a big deal about Family Dinner when I was growing up. We weren't allowed to have the TV on, and my parents didn't even answer the phone during dinner. Can you imagine? As a sixteen-year-old, when the phone rang and my Daddy wouldn't let me answer it? The horror. That could have been any number of extremely popular boys calling to take me to a extremely fun party, Dad! And this was back in the midieval times too, before cell phones or caller ID or even answering machines. Ugh, how mortifying!
The funny part is, though. I don't remember missing out on any parties or dates. What I remember is my parents taking a real interest in my life, really caring about school, people I was friends with, how I felt about life. Most of those discussions took place over a meal at the kitchen table.
Our pastor said the other day that studies are showing that the best way to connect with your kids is to have undisrupted family dinners every night. I'm guessing Jesus doesn't care if we have Taco Bueno or dinner a la Sarah, as long as we are sitting at the table, communicating and being a family.
Chris just called. We are doing Chinese take-out tonight. Yummm.... Father, I promise we will sit down and eat like a family (but please, please forgive me for the calories, and don't put them on my thighs, please?)