Wanna guarantee a great after-dinner dialogue between parents and children?
Make caramel apples. It's a long enough process to get everyone involved, and eating them takes time, thus insuring that no one will be darting away from the table in a flash.
Our evening was so good, that seriously, I don't even know where to start here. All I know is that caramel apples, as much as they are just down right horrible for teeth, are fantastic for families.
At least ours.
We spent the second half of the day at home. We needed a day at home. One of those lazy Saturdays where you just hang together. No agenda. Well, other than making caramel apples after dinner, an activity which you keep dangling over the head's of your children as a bribe throughout the day, in order to make the day run smoothly.
After dinner, we began the process. And what we thought would just be a fun family activity turned into one of the best family gatherings around the dinner table that we've had all year.
It began with Zane.
"Mommy! You are sitting next to me! Because you love me!" Zane is all about the love. The saying you love, the showing you love, the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the snuggles, the rolling up into a ball and curling up in your lap. It never gets old.
And then, Zane, who is mesmerized by all things four, "because I'm going to be four", begins telling us how when he is big, he will be a doctor.
"When I am big, I will be a doctor. A doctor for children. To make them feel better."
"That's great, Zane! When did you decide to become a doctor when you grow up?"
Zane looks straight at us. His face clearly reveals that he is dead on serious.
"God told me I am going to be a doctor."
Things continued. We broke into a spiritual discussion during which Zane basically ingrained in us that Jesus is God and that sin makes Him sad and that He is alive. After he finished preaching we asked the kids how they know that we love them.
Harper responded first. "Because you tell us and hug and kiss us all the time. Too much."
To which Zane jumps in to defend our honor with an emphatic reply, "NO! IT'S NOT TOO MUCH!"
The evening began to wind to a close by Harper inviting us into her room for a surprise. She had her light pointed at the ceiling as a spotlight and asked us to either sit in the balcony (up on the loft), or on the floor. Zane and I chose the loft. George took the floor. Otherwise, as Harper told us, he would block the spotlight. Such a lighting technician.
And. Then. It. Happened.
Harper busted out into a very well choreographed, "Gettin' Jiggy With It". And I'm telling you, putting all "mommy lovin' her child no matter what" aside, that her moves were in time, very creative, and actually fit the music. She left the room for a moment afterwards at which time George and I had a brief moment to share a "what was that" moment - completely non-verbal. We were in disbelief. The girl can dance. I mean, really. Dance. I told her that taking a hip hop class was kind of like taking a tennis class . . . minus the racquet and balls and net and everything tennis. My point being, that just as she tackled a tennis class where she knew no one, I would help her take a dance class if she had any inkling to do so.
Then Zane pops in again. The doctor who knows God, points at a painting in Harper's room of the feeding of the five thousand and states, "THAT is a God picture".
I have always said that I love my children so much that it hurts.
And tonight, sitting around a dinner table, sharing caramel apples, and just simply talking, reminded us why, every now and then, we just need to be the four of us with anything to do on a Saturday afternoon and evening.