In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The "Other" Relationships

Christa's relationship with me is very important to her. I know this because she is clinging to me as I try to pack for my trip to the Hearts at Home Conference this weekend. I also know this because she keeps saying--in her most pitiful voice--"I don't want you to go!"

Ah, it's nice to be wanted.

But I know I am not the only significant person in Christa's life. She loves time with her Dad. He's the one who rides bikes to the park with her. He's the one who puts her to bed at night and tackles science projects with her.

She's also over-the-moon happy when she has time with her much-older sisters, Katie Beth and Amy, or with Josh and Jenelle. The smile on her face is non-stop when they turn their attention to her.

Relationships with anyone--be it a friend or a family member--don't just happen. They are made. And as a mommy-come-lately straddling decades of motherhood, with children of all ages, I need to be intentional about my relationship with each of my children. And I need my children to be intentional about their relationship with each other. I especially need my older three children to remember their 7-year-old sister needs them.

And they do, for which I am so, so grateful.

I'm not asking my older children to slow down and wait for Christa to grow up. And I certainly don't want Christa to skip her childhood and catch up with her brother and sisters. Life is what it is for each of them. But I do want them to relate to each other in their here and nows. It can be simple things: phone calls, hugs, an e-mail card. Or it can require a little more effort like a walk to the park or a sleepover at big sister's apartment.

Such things make memories--and relationships.

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