Sunday, January 11, 2015

Children Are More Valuable Than Things

As I sit here holding the little hummingbird wing onto the little acrylic hummingbird fan pull for the second time in its life,   I wonder how many hundreds of things I’ve glued back together through the years.  Pieces of bone china angel wings , the lenox vase, picture frames, pieces of this, pieces of that, hummingbird wings.  I have a stockpile of things that are still broken and still need repair.   Things most people would throw away, and my children most certainly will when they go through my “things” after me,  wondering what in the world they are and why in the world I saved them.  But here I sit with my little hummingbird, patiently waiting for the glue to dry so I can finish my other chores around the house. 


I gave the hummingbird fan pull to my dad one year after he reached the stage of “whatever- I- want-or-need-I-just-go-get-so-there’s-nothing-really-you-can-get-me-for-a-present”.  It might have cost $12.95.  Or less.  Who remembers?  But he loved hummingbirds, and the ceiling fan in the den of the house in Paris, Tx with a 12 foot ceiling, was always running, so it seemed just thoughtful enough, just whimsical enough.  When Mom sold the house, and we kids packed it up, it was one of the last things I saw, still hanging from the ceiling fan…so someone got it down  for me.


I don’t remember how it broke.  One of the sons, or son-in-laws, probably throwing something -- doesn’t matter.  I stuck the wing tip in the desk drawer for repair at some later date, when I had time to patiently hold the wing on for a few minutes.  Don’t really have time today, but here I sit, typing with one hand, holding the hummingbird wing with the other,  and thinking about gluing things together.


One of the first things we learned in our marriage was this:  Everything I have, I have because God has given me.  And one of the first things I learned about parenting was this:  children are more valuable than things.  Maybe that’s the reason for all the glue.  They never really meant to break things, just like they never really meant to spill things.  It wasn’t ever premeditated.  They act childish, they are children, after all.  Accidents happen.  Fine motor skills are much harder to master than gross motor skills.   Eyes get big, lips quiver.  They weren’t concerned with getting spanked, they were just petrified of disappointing me or seeing a tear roll out of my eye and  finding out they had just destroyed another family heirloom that had belonged to my precious grandmother.  So I tried hard to be nonchalant, hugged them tight and said, “It’s o.k. baby, it’s not eternal.”  Because I believed it with all my heart… Things are just things.  They’ll burn.  But kids ARE eternal, and molding those little hearts was the most important thing in all the world.  


I remember sighing deep down inside every time the Lenox vase got knocked over and another piece chipped off.  It was maybe the only thing we owned that was really valuable (as the world sees it), and had been given to us as a wedding gift.  We would have never had the privilege to, or been able to splurge enough to, buy one for ourselves.  So I glued.  In fact I glued until it would no longer hold water.  A few Christmases back, Mom thoughtfully gifted me with an identical replacement vase she spent hours searching for.  And how my heart smiled!


So this Christmas I glued the camel foot back on, Joseph’s hand back on Joseph’s arm, and Joseph’s arm back on his body, and now the hummingbird wing again.  Everything I have, I still have because God has given me.  And children are still more valuable than things.  And thankfully, that will never change around here.