Having a child enter your life is an amazing thing. It comes with a load of new sensations, lessons, stresses, loves and experiences. One thing that comes in handy is advice from other parents (and sometimes from people who have no kids).
Like most things, advice comes in all forms. Some of the recommendations you may hear seem pretty obvious. Some are common sense based. Others are admonitory warnings, and others are just plain diaper fodder.
Every once in a while, you’ll hear a piece of advice that comes across as a true gem. You can tell right when it’s placed before you that this little nugget of wisdom is going to make a big difference, no matter how small it may seem.
I would like to pass on one of these little nuggets that I’ve learned, because I feel like it’s important and is a beautiful thing to share and consider.
The advice is this- Never refuse a gift from a child.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Whether a homemade drawing that graces the door of your fridge for weeks or months, or a slightly soggy Cheerio that’s earnestly pushed into your mouth by a pair of sticky, stubby fingers. Hey, it happens.
These little offerings that come our way are like a little piece of our child’s heart. His love, her soul is encased in the tiny wilted dandelion that’s held your way. It should never be refused.
Seem obvious? For some, it might be. You might already be nodding your head in the old, “Yes, yes, heard this one a million times,” motion. Well if you have, you’re one up on me. Because I didn’t hear this advice until two of my four children were older.
My son used to love to bring me dandelions. I’ve never liked them, and I’m allergic besides, so I would refuse. “Oh honey, that’s sweet, but mommy doesn’t want a weed.”
I wasn’t the nicest mom on the block back then. It hurts my heart to admit it now, and I’m doing everything I can do make up for it, but it’s the truth, bitter as dandelion sap.
Once I learned this little lesson- Never refuse a gift from a child, it made a huge impact on my children. I’m still trying to make it up to the older two. It seems I almost have to make a bigger deal out of the little trinkets the bestow upon me, because I fear they still remember being shut down when they were younger.
Now, when any of my children hand me a handful of weedy flowers, even with hunks of dirt still clinging to the roots, I accept them with the same excitement that I would with a sparkling diamond. Because these little gifts are so much more precious. Right now, I have two very long weed-type flowers in a plastic cup on my kitchen counter, courtesy of my 5 year old daughter, who watched with wide eyes as I placed them right in the center of the kitchen. It’s beautiful, seeing the love and acceptance they feel as it washes over their little faces. It’s the sweetest thing you’ll ever experience.
I only wish I had received this little gem of advice sooner. And so as I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, pondering whether the weeds were ready to be thrown out yet (they weren’t), I thought that maybe this piece of advice might be able to help inspire another parent, somewhere. I hope it does.
Just you watch those little faces light up. It’s magical.
And really, will it kill you to swallow the Cheerio?