This past Saturday we were excited to spend some time at the beach as a family.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you already know that the beach isn’t exactly our favorite place to be, but they were having Sand Castle Days at South Padre Island and we were excited to go check out the elaborate sand creations and of course let the girls play in the water.
It would also be the last day our family would be together for a whole week. Phillip would be leaving for Nicaragua Sunday morning to be a part of a small pastors conference there so we took (and loved) the opportunity to do something fun as a family.
So we did what we set out to do then headed home, thankful to leave the crowded beach. We were on a bit of a tight schedule as we still had to get groceries and pick up my antibiotic from Wal-Mart (to kick my recent mastitis infection) and Phillip still needed to finish packing. We were all buzzing down the road when Phillip calls out, “llamas!”
I look around to see two llamas (and a cow) meandering around a fenced-in yard that we had just passed. Phillip pulled onto the shoulder and asked the girls if they wanted to see some llamas and of course, they did. So we waited for the cars to clear then did a quick turn around to get back to the llamas. The girls peered out the window and we all commented on the funny-looking animals then we headed on our way.
It may have seemed like a silly waste of time. Most people would have just shouted back to their kids, “Hey did you see those llamas?” (if they had said anything at all), but not my husband.
Phillip is the kind of guy who likes to explore. He likes to drive down roads we’ve never taken (which is usually exciting except when we have an appointment and I plead with him to just stick to the roads we know, so we don’t risk being late) and he loves to find new things to introduce to the girls. I love that curiosity in him and I love that he takes the time out of his always busy schedule to invest that curiosity in our kids.
So often we frame our lives around schedules and time-tables and we miss the spur-of-the-moment opportunities to explore something new. We overlook moments of joy and learning for the sake of time and in the same breath we are missing a chance to pour into the lives of our kids.
We could have easily decided the llamas weren’t worth the extra time out of our busy day and passed them by without a word. We had already made time to take our kids to the beach and could have gone to bed that night more than happy with our parenting for the day. But that extra, unplanned stop wasn’t really about the llamas.
It was about sparking two little imaginations. It was about bright-eyed wonder. It was about spontaneity and fun and creating wonderful memories to last our children a lifetime.
It was about putting our kids first.
So the next time you find your family smushed between the lines of your calendar take an unplanned moment to explore God’s world and give your kids one of the most important things you ever can: your time.
Go ahead, stop and smell those roses.
Or bake some cookies.
Or go for a walk.
Or maybe just visit some llamas.