Several months ago, I played Legos with the boys.
It's not something I often do--largely because we try to keep the Legos away from babies and toddlers so I am typically tied up with a baby while the others play together.
And when Benson is napping, Maxwell is usually napping also, in his room where all the Legos are.
So, while I have helped assemble Lego sets, I have seldom come up with an idea of my own and worked to build it.
A couple of hours later, I had finally finished building a very simple treehouse,
and I was totally surprised by how much work it took.
Coming up with an idea,
sifting through all the pieces trying to find ones that would work,
building and resolving weak areas...
it was all such a long process.
And then I thought,
a little guiltily,
about the times in the past when the boys had shown me a creation and I had glanced at it and smiled and said, "Oh, cooool!" without really taking in all the details.
Or the times I had been quick to tell them we needed to take the creations apart to put the Legos away.
Or the times I had gotten after them for being harsh when a brother broke their creation.
All those times, I didn't have a real grasp of the effort that had gone into their work.
It helped me realize how important it is to take the time to learn about and understand my kids' passions as they grow...
to read enough of their favorite books to be conversant when they tell me about an exciting part
or to play a sport enough to fully appreciate an amazing play they did
or to try designing my own paper airplane before I throw that box of 100 in the trash without a second glance.
So many parts of parenting are a tough balance--
I mean, I'm still not going to hang onto hundreds of paper airplanes, even when I realize how hard they are to design, but maybe I would have him pull out a couple of favorites before the box reaches the recycling dumpster.
But I'm always grateful for a chance to improve.