The other night, as the little kids were helping me set the table while we waited for Ben and the big boys to get home for dinner, I decided we'd play a game.
We often play "Highs & Lows" as we chat over their after school snack, but rather than asking them their "high" (best part of their day) or their "low" (the worst part), I thought we'd concentrate on each other.
"Ok guys...lets go around in a circle, each of us saying one compliment or encouraging thing to every person at dinner tonight!"
They grinned at me as the wheels in their head began to turn, looking at one another from across our farmhouse table.
"Lets start with Anton," I said while pouring the milk.
They hemmed and hawed.
They giggled and pondered.
And they couldn't come up with a single thing!
Now listen, our kids are buddies. I mean, they are thick as thieves. And know one another well.
For example, Laith tagged along with me to Costco last weekend and when he saw all the Halloween costumes already out on display, he bolted over to look through them. After choosing one for himself, he grabbed another for Anton and informed me it's "exactly what my buddy wants to be this year."
And he was RIGHT! Anton freaked out as he swung the costume around, wanting to try it on. "Laith, this is IT! This is EXACTLY it! Thank you!"
So what's going on?! Why can't they think of anything?
We finally did go around the table and they had fun and want to play the game again soon, but it took a lot of me prompting and giving ideas.
I think it's a good reminder though how we all...grownups and kids alike...sometimes forget how amazing the people are who surround us. The people who are our constant, who are always there.
Family. Good friends. Even teachers and mentors, perhaps.
It's so important for us...not only us parents...but ALL of us, to look at "our people" and think about why we're so thankful for them. What do they do that's amazing? What do they work hard at? HOW are you thankful for them?
What would brighten their day for you to take notice of?
Lets do that. Lets thank those people. Those little ones and the big ones alike.
Elsabet, you give the tightest, most cozy hugs!
Imani, you are a beautiful twirler.
Laith, the way you read that book to me was incredible.
Anton, everything tastes better when you help me cook.
Ezekiel, I love when you give me a hug and kiss on the cheek before you ride your bike to school each morning.
Abreham, I love that you call me Mommy. And I love how hard you're working on your English.
...and Benny, I love how you love me. And I love how you make the kids laugh and are goofy and the way you make up words to songs just to make the kids giggle and roll their eyes. You're a fun dad, a caring dad, and a firm dad. You're the perfect combination.
So lets go around the table tonight and remind each other how fun and amazing they are. Why we're so thankful for them, building them up all the while.
Because that's what family does. Right?
We're the one safe place in the world. Where they can always be...well...them.
What do you do over your dinner table??