I love my kids and know that they are a blessing. But sometimes I’m not as thankful for them as I should be. I take their health for granted, until they are sick. I get irritated answering their repetitive questions, until I’m on the road and I would kill just to hear their precious voices. I tire of them jumping on my back after a strenuous day at work, until they decide not to, assuming that I’m probably too tired to play. I don’t cherish wrapping them in their towels like princesses and princes after bath time, until one day the look at me and tell me that they can dry themselves.
Maneuvering through an airport with 4 young children, ages 2 to 6, can be a daunting task even for most experienced and bravest parents among us. Yet even in these times, when patience is running thin, and the pleasant memories of solo travel creep into my mind, my children are still God’s blessings to us. I’m ashamed to say that God recently used one of Delta’s finest to correct my sinful attitude in this area. Delayed flights, seating woes, and the sheer cost of travel these days had made our trip much less than smooth. The questioning looks and sometimes rude stares from other passengers, mixed in with a few smiles, and “you sure have your hands full” comments, always make for a somewhat uncomfortable jaunt through any airport (even though we have perfected the art of going through security!). As we finally sat down, in three different sections of the aircraft, I thought about what would be demanded of ME as I tended to the children over the next couple hours. Instead of being thankful that things worked out and that me, my wife and our 4 1/2 kids were about to embark on a wonderful vacation, I felt a bit perturbed by the kids acting like ….. kids. As if he was reading my mind, a flight attendant, standing in the aisle next to my seat, told me it was “so great to see a big family.” He went on to share that he and his wife of 20 years were childless, unable to enjoy this blessing, which unbeknownst to him, I was in the process of taking for granted. My heart sank, in sympathy because of his obvious pain, and in embarrassment that I would for a minute be the least bit ungrateful for the young lives God in His grace has entrusted us with.
It shouldn’t take a moment like this to produce a spirit of thanksgiving in my heart but I’m glad that God understands my hard headedness and cares enough about me to chasten me in ways I would never imagine. Rising in flight, it’s amazing how a change in attitude can make what was thought to be a burden, a more enjoyable experience for all involved.
A former coach once told me that when it comes to childrearing, the days are long but the season is short. Gratefulness is key to enjoying these long days…even the ones spent in airports.