We bought discount tickets back in October, made careful reservations for affordable lodging and packed our favorite board games, microwave popcorn and tunes. Time for the long-awaited Crane family ski trip to Winter Park, Colorado. Needless to say this was definitely one of those circled dates on our calendar.
While waiting in the ski lift line for our very first run, we overheard the family in front of us:
GIRL: "Josh, stop it!"
BOY: "You're in my way...I'm telling mom!"
MOM: "Knock it off guys, I'm sick of your arguing."
GIRL: "What? I didn't do anything...he's just being a jerk." (increasing volume)
BOY: "She called me a moron!"
GIRL: "Did not....I called you an ignoramus. You can't even hear right!"
The four of us glanced sideways and winced...as did many others in line. Ouch. Family dynamics sure rear their ugly head at the worst moments in public, eh?
It reminded me of something our pastor used to say: Special days are all the more special when ordinary days are lived well.
Translated: When I make a conscious decision in the daily, tedious and mundane hours of child-rearing to teach mutual respect, patience and laughter in my home, I'll often reap those rewards just when I desire them most.
Many of us yearn for that Norman Rockwell scenario on Thanksgiving Day, or the perfect matching-shirt-family-photo, only to have the magical moment interrupted with a petty argument or offense. But the groundwork begins much earlier: in the daily-ness of car pool, homework and bedtime. Throughout the year if we practice extending grace when offended or offering forgiveness when wronged, then when those long-awaited holidays or once-a-year vacations arrive, maybe....just maybe, we'll reap the benefits and actually enjoy our time together.
And, by the way...lest we think this is all about our children? It's quite possible that if the folks behind us in that lift line listened carefully, they may have heard a certain mom rant, "C'mon boys...let's get moving. The lifts opened an hour ago and we're wasting time! Go, go go!" Hmm. Makes me realize that when I train my sons to offer patience and forgiveness, more often than not, the woman looking back at me in the mirror is the recipient of that very kindness. Thanks, guys.