I needed to go to the grocery store tonight. Like the kind of grocery run that saves you from eating leftover rice, a few odd slices of pepperoni, that gross flavor of juice box in the back of the fridge and some craisins that came in the mail for breakfast. But my six year old son and eight year old daughter were all wound up about having their first lemonade stand this weekend. I could have cajoled them into getting their shoes on and trudging out the door and into the car for yet another errand.
Instead I decided to stay in the moment. While my daughter chattered 70 miles a minute to my husband about the profit margin and fair market value of pre-cut fruit cups, I put my car keys and purse down on the table and sat next to my son. We sounded out “lemonade”. We sounded out “fruit” and we decided water should be free. We talked about what type of cookies we would bake, but because he is missing so many teeth he whistles his “s”es and every time I almost burst with too much love for this boy. We planned out what the lemonade stand would look like and how many nails they would need to build it. We discussed why blow torches are not necessary to the construction of lemonade stands. We discussed the merits of selling cupcakes vs cookies. We talked about making sure we got seedless watermelon and decided we would offer free dog biscuits for dogs who did not try to eat our cookies.
Being in the moment allowed me to hear every time my little guy started an important thought with, “Okay guys so…..”. I told the kids about the time their uncles and I had a lemonade stand and our mail carrier paid for a 50 cent cup of lemonade with a $20 bill, told us to keep the change, and we lost our minds. I listened to my daughter talk about what charity she wanted to donate their earnings to.
I could have been checking off my list at the grocery store in that “I have serious things to do” way that grown ups do. Instead I stayed put and watched my son’s tiny hand hold the crayon he wrote with. I listened to the sound of his little voice. I watched him get frustrated when he misspelled “cookies” and wrote a “5″ backwards. I listened to him giggle. I watched his eyes sparkle with excitement. In the background my daughter had not stopped talking and dancing for a full twenty minutes.
I want to remember the night my kids planned their first lemonade stand. I wanted to hold their glowing childhood wonder like fireflies in a jar. I want to remember this night when I turn to their dad years from now and say “I wish the kids would come home from college for a visit.”
We’ll eat ice cream and split an old granola bar for breakfast because some things simply are not worth missing.
This is what this raising small humans is all about. This is the good stuff right here.