I am not ashamed to admit that ordinarily I like structure and routine. For me, there is comfort in order. However, when our three-year old grandson comes for a visit, life-as-I-know-it changes. In the past six days I have read aloud with expression Curious George Takes A Job no less than a dozen times, sang and danced across the carpet to a spirited version of Go Tell It on the Mountain and loudly applauded successful trips to the potty with exclamations of “Whoopee!”
While Isaiah visited, my to-do list looked like this:
1. Color with fat crayons and don’t worry about staying in the lines.
2. Sift sand sculptures. If you don’t like what you made, flatten it and start over.
3. Lay on your belly and watch the train chug around the Christmas tree. “Choo-chooing” is encouraged, but optional.
4. Play hide and seek in the dark and give away your hiding place by squealing with laughter when you hear footsteps approaching.
5. Giggle ’til your sides ache since practically everything is funny.
6. Go to bed early because you’re probably going to be up at the crack of dawn eating pancakes.
7. Eat peanut butter from a spoon.
8. Ignore the mounting pile of laundry at the bottom of the basement stairs. Nobody cares that you wear the same pajamas every night.
9. Get down on your knees to pray before you go to sleep.
10. Kiss, cuddle and say “I love you” every chance you get.
11. Repeat number 10.
Next week when the school break is over and I return to my classroom, my to-do list will likely return to its normal state of lesson plans and meetings. And because I love my job I will be glad of it. But I will go with a refreshed spirit and a grateful heart because during those dull December days at the end of the year I had a chance to step out of the ordinary.
The infectious laughter and insatiable energy that only a little soul can bring both exhausted and exhilarated me. Loving the chaos and the calm, I am thankful for it all. After all, remembering Matthew 18:3, if I must become like a child to enter the kingdom of God, then I had better be sure the child inside me is alive and well. Perhaps that Toddler to-do list might just replace my regular agenda. At least some of the time.