Last weekend we took Mikayla & Hope out to celebrate their birthday. We started the day with merry-go-round rides at the mall. The girls mounted their horses and the merry-go-round started to spin. And I saw it once again. A daddy was riding the merry-go-round with his little girl and he was on his phone throughout the entire ride. I was thinking about my Put Down Your Phone and Just Ride that Merry-Go-Round post. I was wishing that this dad would read it. It seems everywhere you look nowadays people are obsessed with their phones and they are missing precious time with their children.
Our next stop was Chuck E. Cheese. It’s a place “where a kid can be a kid” and where parents can get a headache. The place was packed. And it was loud. Our girls have sensory processing disorder, but the atmosphere wasn’t bothering them a bit. I was in sensory overload which caused my head to start pounding.
The girls were excited. They were smiling and happy. Hope was in the middle of all the fun and she stopped, hugged me, and said “I love you, Mommy!” My heart melted and I didn’t care about my headache. Three hours passed and they finally used their last token. We went to the counter to trade their tickets in for a prize. They had known what they wanted from the moment they walked in the front door. They wanted cotton candy. Great. This is not going to be good. And so began the battle in my head.
Cotton candy makes them crazy. I’m not really in the mood for crazy.
But it’s their birthday. We should really let them have the cotton candy.
But it will make them crazy and we have to ride in the van with them for an entire hour to get back home.
Oh, but look at them. They’re so cute. And they’ve been so good.
My head was screaming “NO! Don’t let them have the cotton candy!”
But my heart was saying “Just let them have the cotton candy.”
My heart won and the girls left with 2 bags of cotton candy.
The next stop was Cold Stone Creamery because it’s always a good idea to mix cotton candy with a bowl of ice cream. Mikayla inhaled her chocolate ice cream. Hope inhaled her cotton candy ice cream. And then we started the venture home.
The ride home was bad. I mean really, really bad. The girls were loud. They were arguing. They were obnoxious. They were totally out of control. My head was pounding so hard I felt like throwing up. Aspirin and caffeine couldn’t even touch this headache. We stopped at Walmart to get a few things. Mikayla asked if she could go in. Um….no. We are way past the point of being in public. So Brett ran in and grabbed the things that we needed. I sat in the car and listened to the sounds of screaming and arguing while my head continued to pound. I was not happy. I even ended up crying. Why does life have to be like this? Why can’t we have a nice family day out without all the drama?
When we got home we started getting cleaned up because we had church the next morning. I had just put Hope in the bathtub and the phone rang. As I was rinsing her hair, Brett came into the bathroom and he told me what had happened. A wonderful man who lives just up the road from us had been killed. He was only 36 years old. I felt like I was going to be sick. I ran out of the bathroom and went into my bedroom and shut the door.
A moment ago, I thought I was having a horrible day. Now I felt so foolish. A beautiful woman in her 30’s was now a widow. Two handsome young boys and two adorable little girls no longer had a daddy. A mom and a dad had just lost their son. Two men had lost their brother. A grandma had lost a grandson. My heart ached for them.
I immediately thought of James 4:14 You do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Life is only here for a moment and then it’s gone. Last week this family would have never dreamed they would be facing life without him this week. Why did this have to happen? There is no answer. It’s heartbreaking for those that he leaves behind.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going John 14:1-4
This man loved the Lord and he served Him well. A place was prepared for him in Heaven. There is peace in knowing that he is in Heaven but there is still a process here on earth of grieving. This family must pick up the broken pieces of their world and trust God to help them go on. Before you go to sleep tonight, would you say a prayer for my friend Erin and her children? and for the entire family? They need comfort and strength that only God can give.
I can’t help but think about the daddy on the merry-go-round. What if it had been his last day on this earth? Would he want his daughter’s last memory of him to be “Daddy was on his phone when he rode the merry-go-round with me”?
What kind of memories do we want our family to have of us?
Is it time to put down our phones and read a book to our kids? or play a board game with them? or take them to the zoo?
Is it time to stop texting and start calling people and telling them how much they mean to us?
Is it time to forgive that person who hurt us so deeply that we didn’t feel like we could go on?
Is it time to stop scrolling through facebook to find out what is going on in our friends lives and start spending time with them?
Is it time to stop arguing with our husband/wife and be thankful that we have him/her?
Life is short. We should just let our kids have cotton candy and enjoy their smiles. We should ride the merry-go-round with them and leave our phones in the car. We should make as many memories as we can. We should be thankful for the memories made even when the making of the memory gave us a bad headache. We should place our head on our pillow each night and thank God that we have a family. Phones and facebook will pass away. But memories will last forever.
And please remember to pray for Erin and her family.
photo credit: http://www.clowns4kids.com