When I was a young mother with smaller and less children I once had an encounter with a stranger in a hospital waiting room. This older woman admired my small boys and began a conversion with me as we waited for our appointments. "I can tell they are well taken care of" she commented. I thought this over. Yes I did take pretty good care of them. But if I was a horrible mother in private and just spit-combed their hair down in public, would anyone really know? So this thought prompted my next question to her. "How can you tell?" She said that she'd been watching me for some time and that she instinctively knew these were well-loved children. She assured me that she had ways of telling. She said it wasn't just that they were clean, but the interactions between parent and child that gave it away.
I remember I used to attend regular presidency meetings in a young mother's home where she would be frequently interrupted by her small children while we were trying to hammer out relevant things to our relief society callings. I was always impressed by her consistent reactions to her kids. Even after multiple interruptions, she would put on her "I'm so happy to see you face!" each time they'd enter the room. Her body would lower and she'd look them directly in the eyes. I was almost jealous of this great relationship she seemed to be having with her preschooler. Was I that happy when my kid interrupted me? The answer was no I'm afraid.
I've been sick this week. I am not complaining (much) but when a common cold goes through our house it always ends up being uncommonly bad for me. Everyone else in this house has recovered within 1-2 days. I'm on day 7 here with a postnasal gunk-filled/ sinusitis/ sore-throat trifecta of misery. I try to avoid antibiotics with a regimen of nasal rinsing, Afrin, Sudaphed, Mucinex, hot tea with honey, humidifier, and prayer. When the mucus turns yellow and the headaches are never ending I head for a Rx. It's a process. I'm almost there.
My teenager saw how sick I was yesterday and did something amazing. Up until this point he's complained that my fridge stocking has been below par lately. However yesterday, without being asked (and that is really it isn't it?) he washed a sink full of pans for me. As I was trying to nap I thought, who could that be? T was at the store (shopping for groceries). My son was not hesitant to tell me, and anyone else who walked through the kitchen in the next 30 min. "Who do you think washed all these pans? Me!" If I could have hung that dishes job on the fridge for all to see I would have. Earlier in the week he'd pulled a fast one, sleeping in, telling us he was 'sick' and just to take a senior half day off. I guess he figured if everyone else was gonna be getting this cold he may as well ride the train for a stop. It's hard to fake a cold though. Either he was faking or he had the shortest lived sniffles of all of us. Perhaps doing the dishes was his way of evening things up. Or maybe he just wanted the insure his chances of going out with his friends later. I am going to choose to believe that he just wanted to take care of someone he loved.
The joy in serving I saw on his face that afternoon was priceless. So today I will give him that look like I am so happy to see his face, I'll try to stretch up to his level and look him in the eyes and tell him how much I appreciate him.