Okay, first of all, I am NOT comparing myself to Jesus Christ. He is without sin, and I have done plenty of it! He also performed a bunch of miracles, and most days it's a miracle if I'm on time to work! But, this phrase has become a metaphor for every family outing that we take. Here's just a taste of the magnetism that I have that seems to attract other people's kids.
I took my two kids to Play All Day on Sunday. (If you've never been there, it is a must! They have three big bounce houses and a ton of other imaginative play options for the kids to make a mess of. They play, mess up the place, and you take them home exhausted and happy. Check it out! http://www.playsiouxland.com )
Play All Day has a bunch of comfy couches and chairs for the adults to sit on and even has free Internet access. So, I brought my computer and messed around on the Internet for a bit while the kids had fun going from bounce house to bounce house. When they tired of that, they came to find me and wanted to play some other things. Lauren went off to play with some girls she'd found, but Braden wanted help setting up and playing the bean bag toss game. So, I put away my computer and sat on the floor with Braden to play the game. No sooner did we have it set up, when another child wanted to join us. Sure! The more the merrier right? Then another one, and another one, and still another one came over to join us. So they were all playing with me being the bean bag retriever and re-setter-upper of the little animals they were tossing at. I should mention, I was the only parent in this area and no, I do not work there part time.
Braden got tired of that, so we left the other kids to continue playing. Then we set up the little bowling pins and started bowling. Same kids came over to play, plus a couple more. Same scenario, no other parents offering to help re-setup the pins, or to supervise the arguments that always take place when more than one child is playing a game. By this time Braden was tired of being followed around, and so was I, so he set off to go play in the bounce houses some more and I went to find Lauren.
She was making a get well card for her great grandpa Livgren and was wanting help with it. Soon, the other little girl at the art center was ALSO asking me for help with HER project! By this time I'm wondering if I'm giving off some sort of pheromone that only kids are attracted to. (Well, kids and stray dogs...I'm a sucker for both!) So, I helped both girls with their work and then finally went to sit down again in my comfy chair. But alas, Lauren and Braden both found me and wanted me to play house with them. So off we go. Along with about 10 followers. So, we all played house with everyone else's children who were there serving me plate after plate of pretend food, etc.
I have no problem including other people's children in my play time with my own children. The problem I have is when it is obvious that none of these other parents have any interest whatsoever of engaging their own children in play, or at least checking with me that it's ok for them to play with us! If you don't enjoy spending time with your children, then why the heck did you have them anyway!? Do I just LOVE playing pretend? Nope...I actually despise it....like tremendously. Do I LOVE being the gopher and running after bean bags and stray bowling balls? No...but I do it because it brings a smile to my child's face.
My challenge to all of you parents out there is this: The next time you take your kids to a place where they have the freedom to fun free and play, and you have the opportunity to just sit back and watch, (or text, or chat on the phone, or check your email) DON'T! Get up off your butt, turn off your phone, and PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS! And give the moms like me a stinkin' break!