I took the kids to the walk-in clinic at the end of our street today. It turns out that Vava & Kachi have ear infections, so I'm glad we went, but it's always a little trying to keep three busy littles at a waiting-room level of appropriate behaviour. It's especially hard lately, because the clinic is under construction, so half of the seating area is walled off. There isn't extra space for driving toy cars or setting up the entire herd of plastic ponies you brought. There definitely isn't any good space for a wagon or stroller to hang out. So you know. It's crammy. And people are cranky, because they're already sick.
But our walk-in has the nicest staff on earth. I am always grateful for their kindness and warmth.
On our way there, Sam asked if he could push Kachi's stroller. I let him, but when we had to cross a busy street, I took over. He was so upset. He yelled and turned his back and refused to cross when traffic thinned. I had to pull out the big guns and threaten to take his TV privileges away for the rest of the week before he finally, sulkily, came along.
Near the end of our visit, when both Sam and Vava had been examined and only Kachi remained, Patrick knocked on the door and joined us. (I felt an angels-singing kind of relief, let me tell you! 2:3 is a much nicer ratio of parents to kids.) He took the big littles home, and I was left in the relatively quiet presence of just one sick baby and gentle NP.
When we were all done, I was strapping Kachi back into his stroller, and the nurse practitioner mentioned she'd been outside on our way in, and had seen Sam pushing Kachi on the way to the clinic. Embarrassment whooshed in, I could feel the red flooding my face as I remembered his tantrum and my angry response.
"What a helpful boy. And I could tell he really loves his brother," she continued, eyes crinkled and smiling, warm, "he was so careful to steer around every single puddle."
Ohhhh my heart. Oh my cranky tired heart.
She was right.
She was so right.
We had looked at the same thing.
I saw Sam's disobedience and demand for control.
She saw his love for Kachi and his heart of service.
This is what I'm asking God for, for Christmas: eyes that see the best. Eyes that see joy and beauty and love, no matter what kind of package it's wrapped in. Eyes that see out past my own blustery agenda, eyes that see His heart reflected great and small.
I want those eyes. Those are really lovely eyes.
I walked home quickly, pushing the stroller with the unencumbered ease of a mama who does not need to wait for toddler feet and toddler legs. I saw Patrick and Sam and Vava just about to go inside, and called hello. Soon, Sam came running toward me in his big winter boots.
"Hey mama," he asked, "can I push Kachi?"
You bet, kiddo.