Tuesday, February 5, 2008

guest post: Emma's vacuuming

For the first time in my life, I regretted vacuuming today.

Normally it gives me such a wonderful sense of satisfaction. A physical, productive, efficient job where the results are obvious really quickly. But today, I feel a great sense of loss after my vacuuming endeavours.

As I was vacuuming Isabella's room, I heard a chink. "Oh dear", I thought, but kept on vacuuming. "It must have been a little trinket of jewellery or something. Oh well, she's got millions of those." Kept on vacuuming...

And then I realized as I swept the vacuum head over yet another yellowy-white hard object...

A memory came back to me - a memory of a little silver box with red velvet lining. An empty box - sitting on Isabella's shelf - I had seen it a few days ago. "Oh no." Chink. These thoughts happened in the space of a split second - too quickly to stop what I was doing.

Two baby teeth and a big one.

"Will I tell her?" I thought. "Oh dear, I have no more of her baby teeth to keep. That period of her life is lost forever."

As I went on with the vacuuming, I kept thinking about childhood memories and the desperate attempts I sometimes make to preserve them for my children.

Why do I take this so seriously? Is it because I feel like my parents hardly kept anything from my childhood? Is it because I am obsessive about my children and I just want to keep them small and cute forever?

I was reminded today that I probably spend too much time on this kind of thing - writing down cute quotes, recording heights, measurements, keeping 1st drawings (and 2nd, and 3rd.....and 99th). Some of this time I spend could be reallocated to working on their godliness - with far more eternal consequences.

Treasures in heaven, that do not rot or spoil (or get vacuumed up....)


Gordon Cheng said...

Gah! Save that vacuum cleaner! Whenever you want to remember Isabella's teeth, you can pull out the vacuum cleaner and have a look at it!

Good post though Emma. Thanks for your thoughts. I often wonder what will become of the things we miss, when we reach heaven.

Jess Green said...

So did you fish them out of the vacuum cleaner bag, Em?!!

Jean said...

Since the same thought obviously occurred to everyone, let me clarify in Em's words:

"Vacuum cleaner - we can't open it and retrieve the teeth cos we have one of those ducted vacuum systems where all the stuff (and teeth) go into a big tank thingy in the garage - gone forever, unless I call the vacuum cleaner service person and pay $100 to get them to open it up."

I guess she could pay the $100, but that might be a bit excessive, even for baby teeth. "Treasure on earth" indeed.

Cathy said...

I like your observation about what we spend time and energy on, even when those things may well be good in themselves.
I am currently trying to work out what is appropriate for our kids in terms of how they spend their time (and, by association, we as parents, even if its just taxi driving...).
What I've realised that I am in danger of caring too much about them exploring their particular interests/giftings and less about their eternal wellbeing. Easier to say but am demonstrably showing this in our family priorities?

Isabella P said...

Great comment Cathy. I feel the same. Am I happier to miss our evening bible time with the kids than a piano lesson?
Our 7 year old learns the piano and she started doing dance as well. I quit after 3 weeks because it was making our week feel to busy we all got stressed trying to make it work. I'm currently thinking that one extra-curricular activity per child is enough for now. I'd rather save my energy for a more relaxed after-school time (hopefully including Bible and prayer later in the evening). But of course, it all depends on your kids ages, number of kids, your own stress levels, etc etc. Sometimes I feel sad that Bella's art/dance/singing/gymnastic interests aren't being 'fulfilled', but then I remember that godliness is more important than 'talent' and 'talents' aren't eternal.