Often we overlook the importance of the children in our lives especially when those children aren't ours.
I did write Lenten Love Letters to my children, something I have decided to continue beyond Lent. We tell our children we love them and how special they are often, but somehow the written word touches our hearts more profoundly. Our hearts, because not only is the child receiving this precious gift, but we gift ourselves with quiet moments of reflection to fully feel the love we have for our children - something we often miss out on in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
There are other children in my life whom I hold dear. One lights up the room and warms my heart with her smile. Another entertains me endlessly with her fertile imagination. Yet another radiates love and generosity, while her brother's sly smile and loving snuggles brighten my day. These are my "extra" children, whose parents bless me by entrusting their children to my care.
Then there is that child in the thrift store who, upon hearing my child exclaim about the awesomeness of the toy child had chosen for herself, offered to let my child buy it instead. A kind gesture in itself, it was made dearer because I head heard the jubilant cries of that precious child upon the discovery of such a treasure - something she never thought she'd ever own. After my child graciously declined the offer, I pulled a Love card out of my purse, scrawled a note of gratitude for such a kind and generous heart, and gave it to the cashier with money enough to cover the toy and instructions to include the card in the little girl's bag.
These children, all children, are precious to me. All children should be told daily that they are valued, loved, cared for, that they are amazing and bright and inspiring. When my youngest, looking over my shoulder, just now asked me what I wrote, I read the previous sentence to her. She, in her infinite knowledge, said that grown-ups need to remember to tell themselves these things, too. I agree. The things we can learn from the youngest among us if we just listen.