Being sandwiched in between two sets of twins cannot be the easiest thing for a first-grader. With two 8-year-old boys ahead of him and two 4-year-old girls bringing up the rear, my 6-year-old Thomas is always looking for that moment to shine in my eyes or just curl up in my arms and enjoy one of our “snuggle bug” moments, which, unfortunately, are now far and few in between. Thomas has always been a love bug—tender-hearted, compassionate and easy-going. With an amazing imagination, he has chosen his creative mind as his personal playground and has mastered the art of self-play.
Thomas with his napkin envelope, thanking me for the little things.
Large families have amazing benefits and rewards. A home with several siblings fosters positive behaviors like sharing, teamwork, empathy, good citizenship, loyalty, responsibility and patience. Not to mention, there’s never a dull moment, always someone to play with and tons of laughter. However; being number six out of eight kids, like Thomas is, can also be challenging, especially when you’re trying to express your own individuality or just get a little extra love from mom.
However, there’s one thing I’ve noticed. Whether you have one child, eight or eighteen, the common consensus amongst most moms is we all wish we had a little extra time to spend with our kids.
Fall is a busy time of year for mothers. School begins; rigorous schedules need adjusting and tweaking; holidays must be planned; homework needs to be done; after-school sports kick into high gear; career and household obligations need to be met; the list could go on.
Always in a hurry, we become a part of the rat race, our eyes intently fixed on the clock. This is when it’s easiest to overlook the little things.
Extra Gum recently released a commercial depicting a father who makes origami birds from gum wrappers and gifts them to his daughter during various moments throughout her childhood. These little gifts make a huge impact on the daughter, and over the years, she saves them all.
A small gesture of love from a parent to a child can mean so much. But, sometimes, those small gestures can come from a child to a parent. After every meal, Thomas would carefully fold his napkin into the shape of an envelope, walk up to me and say, “Special Delivery!” He was my mail boy, and it was his way of thanking me…showing me love and appreciation.
While we parents are struggling to Keep Up with the Crazy and are becoming slaves to the hustle and bustle of life, our kids are just looking for a few extra little things. They’re still hoping we’ll snuggle on the couch for old time’s sake, go bike riding or spend time baking cookies in the kitchen. Each time we do, we gift them with special memories–memories that become their own origami birds. In return, they thank us…with napkin envelopes filled with invisible letters of love.