Winter can be long, dark and cold.
Apparently, it gets longer, colder and darker the farther north you go…go figure.
And I gotta be honest: while it is stunning during the day…dusk falls upon us way too early. Which can be a huge psychological bummer, unless you are really prepared to call it a day at 3:30.
granted, it is kind of beautiful here…which is awesome
Ben and I teach Sunday School, as we have for the past 10 years. Originally, we started teaching the 4 year old class because a) we wanted to help out in Children’s Ministry, since we had a few kids involved already, and b) no one wanted the 4 year old class, and we saw it as a good opportunity to take on.
4 year olds are…tricky. They are just old enough to be older than 3, so they have a bit more verbal and thought process going on. On the other hand, they are not 5, so they don’t have that much verbal and thought process going on.
Plus, there were 25 kids in the class.
So, you really had to be on your toes.
I didn’t know we had it in us, but not only do we work very well together in the classroom, but we compliment each other excellently with our natural inclinations. Ben has always taken the instructional portions of the class, and I have been doing crafts and singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” for over a decade, and making a large population of young kids extraordinarily happy when I ask, “So, we aren’t going to say head, and we aren’t going to say shoulders, and we aren’t going to say knees…so what comes next???”
Life is good when you’re 4.
Unfortunately, sometimes life can be a bummer when you’re 4, as well.
I mean, you’re 4. You kind of know what’s going on a little bit, but not enough to get out of really bad moods when you can’t find your favorite shoes in the morning and even though you had half a bagel with cream cheese…it wasn’t strawberry cream cheese. So, what’s the point. Honestly.
This Sunday, there was a little girl in our class who was having one of those mornings. Her braided pigtails were a mess, and she was wearing socks but no shoes. Rushed morning, no strawberry cream cheese, and she was pretty sure she was sick (she wasn’t).
And she was miserable.
I knew exactly what she was going through, because I have had those mornings, myself.
I wake up late. Forget my jacket. Could only find my old, ratty shoes. I don’t remember if I showered yesterday, but I know for certain I didn’t shower that day. I kind of bank on chewing some gum in the car to get the black coffee/morning breath out of my mouth, but someone, apparently, had eaten all my gum. I have morning-face, my hair isn’t cooperating, I can’t find the clothes I put out the previous night…
Plus, it’s winter…which is cold. And dark. And wet.
Ain’t nobody going to be happy under these circumstances.
The best thing I could do for this girl in my class was to say, “Ugh. You’re having a rough morning,” as I take her hand, “Come with me. Let me help you.”
These were the words that let me lead her to the rug with the Legos and blocks, and we sat down together. I asked if I could rebraid her hair, and she said yes. So I spent about 15 minutes, very gently unbraiding her pigtails that she obviously slept in (#experience…have had many mornings with daughters’ slept-in-braids, myself), and smoothed out her hair and rebraided them into neat pigtails, once again.
By the time we were done, she was back to her smiling self, and ready to get back to playing.
Listen. Winter is hard.
We all want to play outside in the sun, and run down grassy hills, and stay out until it is bedtime.
But during the dark, cold winter afternoons…it is paramount to be there for each other.
And small gestures of love will make the days sunnier for everyone 🙂