When we go to my parents house, it looks as though the Circus has come to town. After a 7 hour drive, the mini-van door flies open – and little clowns are jumping out, one by one, by one by one. Chic-Fil-a bags, sippy cups and nintendo games are leaping out the sides as if they’re trying to escape; sounds of cups rolling down the drive way and baby cries escalating are enough to make anyone run for the hills. Just as my husband pops the trunk open, out jumps a back pack, 2 stuffed animals and my make-up bag decides to explode.
Ah, the joys of traveling with the Circus. No matter how much money you have, it is never enough for all the things they want: food, clothes, braces, music lessons, endless ice cream and toys. No matter how many diapers you bring, it is too few. The potty training-kid leaves a black line on the toilet lid; little Johnny did an art project on his face with a Sharpie Pen, and the dog pooped in the back room, because no one took him outside today.
Then there are the hugs, and kisses . . . the first time your baby girl says: Mama . . . the giggles that come when they understand their first joke, conversations they have with their little siblings in the back seat, as they fight over whether daddy flew to You Nork, or New York.
Our job as the Ring Master can be tiresome and relentless. My mom laughed that we didn’t need to go to the circus, we WERE the Circus. Just as attending this event has become something of the past, family life and spending real, quality time with each other has become old fashion as well. From busy schedules and homework, to team sports and iphone texting, pretty soon, we’ll look around and the circus has packed up and left.
Did we spend real quality time with our kids, soak in the moments (eye to eye, knee to knee), let them wrestle on the floor, play with their barbies and listen to their big ideas that took 10 minutes to spit out? Did we really look, when they wanted us too, or are we saying: a huh, yes, sure, in a minute, maybe later, not now . . . . without even a gaze in their direction.
At some point, we’ll have a view from our back porch looking in, and we’ll realize the Big Top Circus has packed up and left. There will be an old tire swing in the backyard, reminding us of days gone by, a tree house that now only whispers of the fun times had. The loud noises we hear are now coming from our neighbors driveway . . . sippy cups rolling down the road, Chic-fil-a bags falling out the car doors and make-up bags exploding as baby cries escalate.
Don’t be in such a hurry, flying here to there, flustered over stuff that doesn’t really matter. What you have is the Greatest Show on Earth! Embrace your job as the Ring Master and when it’s all said and done, there will be no regrets. It will be: Well done, My Good and Faithful Servant. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend, if you’ve invested in your circus and embraced all the moments, they will always come back and visit. And they’ll think You’re The Greatest Show on Earth. Here’s to Happy, Healthy Families.
Matthew 25: 21
The Master was full of praise. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together.”