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When the Messes are No More  

To children, they are treasures—their daily works of art. From crayons to markers to watercolors, kids love to create almost as fast as we can supply the paper.

So it was that five-year-old Ava presented me with a collection of her finest. She's embellished a rectangle of blue felt with a polka dot red crescent moon and an orange heart she’d cut out and glued. And on top of that heart was a smaller heart in the background blue shade.

This masterpiece arrived with other treasures. Among them was a flamboyant rendering of an ultra-green Christmas tree and another illustration (Ava informed me) I was holding upside down.

When you're in the middle of parenting, doling out the crayons (or, if you're courageous, the markers), it feels like you spend most of your life picking up scrap pieces and wiping splashes of color from the table that somehow escaped the protective newspaper. You’re convinced it’s never going to end. The markers, the murals, the messes.

And then, one day, it sneaks up on you.

No more ambitious paintings with "I love you" scrawled in giant letters—the letter "e” invariably spelled backward. No more glue all over everything it shouldn’t be all over. And—wonder of wonders—the table stays clean.

Every parent on the other side of the timeline knows what I’m talking about. But be warned. The loss of kitchen chaos comes at a price: the loss of little feet. Little hands. Little children. With little problems—and big fuzzy felt hearts that have a certain magic for fixing whatever’s wrong with us—and the world.

 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

-Psalm 127:3

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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