Will You Color With Me?

Will You Color With Me?

“Hannah, will you color with me?” my nine-year-old sister Lydia posed the question and I hesitated to reply.  Part of me wanted to agree, knowing that I had not spent much one-on-one time with her recently but the other part of me was pondering a mental to-do list.

After coming back from Israel at the end of July, I had resolved to try to delegate some of my responsibilities to willing volunteers and have more free time to focus on my family and projects that I simply wanted to accomplish, not had to accomplish.  But I had to get prepared and organized to be able to do that!  There were emails to respond to, a few blog posts to complete, some pages on the dog website that needed updating, pictures from Israel that needed to be organized and uploaded, not to mention all the design/layout working with Shining Stars Magazine and the Hebrew language lessons to prepare.  It was nearly suppertime and I had been busy all day long … if I was going to stop “working” for a little bit, the most relaxing thing I would want to do was to read a book.

All of this rushed through my mind in a few seconds but as much as I felt the need to accomplish these tasks, I knew that the better decision would be to stop and spend time with my baby sister.  So without allowing myself to analyze any further, I sat down at her coloring book and was handed a green pencil.

Green – my favorite color.

I began shading in the tree and talking with Lydia, or rather … listening to her talk.  She showed me the picture that she and Abigail had colored and apologized that our picture didn’t have quite as many nice things as that one.  Then she talked about the one that she and Sharon had colored and showed me where Sharon had signed her name in Hebrew.  As she prattled on, I made an effort to be an interested listener but I couldn’t quite get the to-do list out of my mind.  Then she said it:

“Thank you for coloring with me. I like spending time with you!”

Will You Color With Me?Have you heard the phrase “like a brick between the eyes”?  That is what it felt like.  I like spending time with her too … why is it such a challenge to find the time for it?

This is my baby sister – the one who treated me like a second mother.  The one who was a toddler as we moved five times within approximately a year, including to Israel and back to the States.  I will forever remember how she would relax when she felt overwhelmed by all the activity or unfamiliar faces.  She would place her lambskin on my shoulder, stick her chubby index finger into her mouth and rest her head on me!

As my coloring pencil moved across the page, I pondered how I could let so many other things prevent me from spending time with my little sister and make her feel that she was not as important as “everything I have to get done”.  How many times had she, or one of the other children, asked me to color, or to play a game, or to go for a walk, or ride bikes, and my response had been, “I’m really sorry but I need to work on … fill-in-the-blank.  Maybe later …”

One of these days, YHWH willing, I am going to leave this home to go into my husband’s home and have my own family.  I know beyond any shadow of doubt that I am going to regret not investing more time into my siblings.  I can begin to remedy that by changing habits now but I know that I will be sorry that I neglected to spend more time with them.

Will You Color With Me?

Dear sisters, let me encourage you to spend time with your siblings.  They look up to you – or at least, they want to.  If your actions have caused a breakdown in the relationship to the point that they do not respect you, this is the time to rebuild and restore what was lost.  Little people look up to big people and they want to be noticed by them.  It makes them feel special.  Whatever their outward actions may look like, I assure you that deep down inside, they want to be your friend … they want to spend time with you … they want you to like them.  You have the ability to influence their lives for better or for worse – please don’t waste this precious time that has been given to you.

I feel like I am forever saying “maybe later …” to my siblings.  My hope and prayer is to change that and when they ask me to spend time with them, to stop saying “maybe later …” and start saying “right now!”  I encourage you to do the same.

“Hey Lydia, do you want to color?” 🙂

11 thoughts on “Will You Color With Me?

  1. Wow! That hit me “like a brick between the eyes!” The 3 yr just came out to the computer room and asked if she could sit on my lap. Thank you soooooooooooooo much for the reminder!

    1. Thanks Moriah, that’s a blessing to hear. There’s something really special about having young ones around. Our baby will be ten in less than a month … time goes by so fast!

      1. Our youngest is 15m. :~) She is a doll. <3 Let me tell you a quick story. When I was born, I was an only child. I stayed that way for 9-10 years. Then we began to work our way through a private adoption. During this time my Great Grandma had been living with us for a year or 2. She then moved to her own apartment. The day she did that, my Mom felt funny. She then found out she was expecting! When she was born, we were still in a custody battle for a sweet little girl (2 years older than the baby). Then 2 years later, another sister was born. That same year, 15 days until Christmas we finalized the adoption of the sweet little girl! We were a complete family! 2 Christmases ago, at 10 in the evening, we were picking up all the wrapping paper and putting things away, when my parents told me to go empty my stocking. In it was a card that said my Mom was expecting again! I gained 4 sisters in 4 years, each of them 2 years apart. With a switch like this, from only to oldest of 5 I've struggled being the big sister. Again, thank you soooooooooo much for the reminder!

        1. Wow Moriah! What an amazing story – thanks so much for sharing it! I can imagine the transition has been a challenge though. I haven’t experienced being the only, to being the oldest of five, but I am the oldest of seven and as much as I loved each new blessing, there were times when I was frustrated that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because there were little ones to take care of! Now that we do not have young ones, I find myself missing fussy babies and dirty diapers and I would encourage every sister with young siblings (and even mother of young children) – treasure these moments because they won’t last forever and one day you will really miss them 🙂

  2. You are so right, Hannah! When I was 11 years old, I had a 3 & 1/2 year old baby sister who died suddenly, and I do not remember spending any quality time with her. She was a precious child, as I remember that she never gave our Mama a minute’s trouble. Mama’s only complaint was that Trina hated wearing shoes, and Mama would get her all dressed for the day and in a few minutes, off came her shoes and socks! I wish I had played with her, or held her or hugged her, but I do not remember doing any of it. I was too busy out playing and doing my own thing, So cherish every moment your siblings are with you, for they may suddenly not be, and oh, the regrets you will have!

  3. Oh Ouch! This was so powerful and so directed towards me, I had been thinking about it alot lately and pushing it out of my head so as not to feel guilty, but this hit me hard 🙂 Thank you Hannah, this article was such a blessing and what I needed! Future SSM theme right there (or is there one about this already? can’t remember…)!

    1. Well, I’ll tell you one thing … I wasn’t thinking of you when I wrote it 🙂

      (and just to clarify, I wasn’t thinking of anyone else either!)

      I recall a similar article in SSM awhile back but it’s been several years and I think it’s a topic that could be revisited 🙂

  4. Thank you sooooo much! My oldest sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews are living with us until my brother-in-law can find a job, and they find the right house. I often find myself avoiding my nephews when I have other things in mind. Of course I LOVE MY NEPHEWS, but I struggle with that more than I’d like to. Being that I am the youngest, and thirteen years old, I don’t really know what it’s like to have a two year old and sixteen month old wandering ’round the house and tugging at my skirts. I question myself about it, but I never really THINK or PRAY about it. Thank you for your post. It makes so much sense, and it opened my eyes. YAHWEH BLESS YOU!

    Shalom,
    Guest

    1. Thank you for letting me know – that is very encouraging to hear! I will be praying for you to have wisdom as you invest in the lives of your little nephews. You have the power to influence their lives in so many ways (good and bad!) so may YHWH bless you and help you to know how to bless them 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for the story! I’m so glad you’re taking time to be present with that precious little one. I hope my kids are as thoughtful as you when it comes to their little siblings 🙂

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