Three kids. Ages 15 months, 5 years and 6 years. Oldest and youngest girls...middle, a boy.
When I got there, the youngest was asleep, the middle was working on a coloring sheet for homework and the oldest was in time-out because she was getting frustrated over her math. I watched and assisted when necessary as the middle powered through his homework and after chatting with the oldest decided that it would probably be best to wait until after dinner to take another stab at the math.
Dinner. The kids weren't interested in any of the things that were already prepared. Against my better judgement, I decided to ask what they wanted...I mean, if they had said popsicles I could have used my veto power. After a little discussion, they decided on pancakes. Thankfully, my Dad is the pancake extraordinaire, so I knew just what to do. I outfitted them both with aprons and did my best to divide it so everyone could do the same amount of "helping." Smiles were in abundance and they hadn't even eaten. The first batch was a little rough, but that's typical...and the remaining three batches looked great and tasted delicious. The kids were beyond impressed and asked if I would make them pancakes everyday.
Faces were wiped and I sent them outside to play while I cleaned up the kitchen. I absolutely LOVE the layout of their house because you can clean while watching. As I washed and dried dishes, I could hear the squeals of delight coming from outside and it made me so happy that I teared up. I pray I never grow tired of the blessing of loving on children.
With dishes washed and dried and energy expended, the kids came back in. The little boy grabbed some crayons to color and the oldest daughter finished her math without one cross word, and just as I was doling out pudding for dessert, I heard the youngest waking from her late nap. Thirty minutes later the father came home and I walked back to my house.
Now, I sit at my computer, thinking back on the afternoon. The kids weren't perfect. Time-outs were given. Band-aids were doled out. Yet, there was much laughter and love filled the home. Days like today remind me how blessed I am to baby-sit.
As I drift off to sleep tonight, I know a few things that will most definitely make the prayer list...prayers of thankfulness for the opportunity to love on kids and families that are not my own, followed shortly thereafter with prayers that one day the Lord will bless me with the opportunities to help my own children with their homework and wash my own families' dishes.