I read years ago about treasuring your children’s eggs. I know, right? Very odd, and completely unrelatable to me. So, naturally, it seemed interesting and intriguing. What is a child’s egg? Why should I treasure said egg? Seems a bit dramatic, yes? Treasuring eggs? But as I read, I realized I didn’t always treasure them and that, most of all, they needed me to. Pretty much every time, all the time.
There are myriad analogies for the eggs – but I like this one best, for a) it’s very visual and b) it’s very accurate. The little things that are big to them. The countless things they share with you, especially when (ESPECIALLY) you’re busy, distracted and irritated. “Can this wait, honey, I’m driving” or “Not now, I will listen to you later, but I’m reading this recipe” or “If you interrupt me again, while I’m trying to finish helping your brother, I’ll not want to listen!” The fifteen (seemingly) voices in the car after school, all at once. The yelling down the stairs, into the bathroom, out the front door – all looking for you, needing you, HAVING to have you so they can TELL. YOU. SOMETHING.
And how many of us are often so excited and present and intentional about this thing they HAVE TO TELL us right now? I am not raising my hand.
But their stories, questions, bits of information, little gems of insights into their personalities and persons – those are eggs. And they are, by telling you about themselves in that however-inconvenient moment, handing you an egg. And the egg is fragile, small and very breakable. They are testing you, without even knowing it. Can she take this egg? Can she hold it, carefully, and keep it close? Can she not drop it? Does she care enough to not let it slip?
Of course, once it’s dropped, it’s not recoverable and it breaks. Shatters, really. Right? And, of course, we all drop them. All the time. We lose focus, we lose interest (let’s be honest), we lose the stamina to keep up and we don’t cherish or even – at the very least! – pay attention to our children and what they’re saying.
And this doesn’t change as they age. My two older sons – who are 23 and 20 – hand me eggs in a very different way than my three younger children. But they still do it. And I fail all the time. I drop them, I miss them, or so painfully, I don’t realize and appreciate they were tossing me eggs until much later, days sometimes. And then it’s too late. I demonstrated to them that I’m not always a Holder, but that sometimes I’m a Dropper.
And. Children, people of all ages really, deserve better than that. That’s all there is to say.
Put it down. Whatever it is you (you meaning I) are doing. Look them in the eye. Calm your mind. Hear them out. Don’t interrupt. Don’t patronize. Don’t correct or insult them. Just listen. Take the egg. Put it in your pocket. Try very hard – every. single. time. – to not drop it. Then your drops will be fewer and your pockets fuller. And this takes energy and intention and prayer and focus. But doesn’t everything that we care about? Doesn’t anything that’s really worth our time and heart space require effort? So give the same effort to your children’s little shares and stories and questions that you do to your friends’ or spouse’s or shallow social media post’s. K?
Let me know how your egg hunting goes. 🙂