January 15, 2010

My Day With Haylee

Written By Cary Schmidt

Note to Readers: Indulge me—if you’re not up for a syrupy “daddy story”—feel free to move on to something more interesting. I wouldn’t blame you. 🙂

Last Thursday I was privileged to spend the whole day with Haylee. Just for fun, I thought I’d share the memory. We call these days “Girls’ Day Out with Dad.”

It began with a discussion a day earlier on whether Mom could come with us. According to Haylee—absolutely not! This was her day with Dad—Mom would need to stay home! I laughed, Dana was incredulous, and Haylee had her way. This one would just be Haylee and Dad.

Thanks to Priceline.com we got a great price on a hotel and drove down to Orange County Wednesday night after church. She LOVES to do that! On the way, we stopped to visit with Brother Larry Chappell in the hospital. He was getting stronger, and it was good to sit for a while and see him and Ashley.

After a good night’s sleep, the day started with the two of us reading Proverbs 7—oops, make that Proverbs 8! Just a few verses in, the subject matter of chapter 7 was a bit over her head, so we moved on to wisdom! Two chapters later, we had learned a good bit about wisdom, spent some time praying together, and decided it was time for breakfast at McDonalds.

By 10am, we were walking through the gates at Knott’s Berry Farm—with the four other people that were at the park that day. The tickets were a Christmas gift, and it seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves—boy did we have fun! We talked, held hands, rode rides, took pictures, and ate Dippin’ Dots—her favorite. The rides I could handle, I rode with her. The ones that make me sick, I stayed off and took pictures. Either way—we had fun!

By about 1pm, we had pretty much completed the rides and lunch was calling. So we made our way to Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant—my new favorite ride at Knott’s! What a date.

An hour later, after strolling through a few gift shops, we decided to go shopping on the way home. One of the cutest parts of the day was Haylee deciding where to shop. Her top choices—Toys R Us (for Barbies), Barnes and Noble (for books), or the 99 Cent Store (for scarves)—rather random, but after all—she’s a woman. 🙂

After a 90-minute drive home, and much discussion, she chose the 99 Cent Store. It wasn’t until we had been in the store for about 30 minutes that I had a striking revelation! Everything in this store is a dollar—or less! Oh my! This is big. I looked at Haylee, smiled, and confidently said, “Haylee—you can get whatever you want in this store!” She was literally in AWE. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped, and she smiled wide, “Really?!” “Yep—in fact, any time you want to shop, I will bring you to the 99 Cent Store and you can get whatever you want.” She was amazed—and I was wishing this would work on Dana!

Forty-five minutes of shopping netted three scarves, a notebook, and some candy. Even with a few things I found for myself, the total damage was less than $15. This is my kind of shopping! She was happy, I was happy—the 99 Cent Store has a new, very loyal customer. It’s a win-win.

The evening wrapped up with us meeting Mom, watching Larry play basketball, and then filling in Mad-Libs, laughing our heads off, and having dinner at Wendy’s with the whole family. What a day full of cherished memories.

Every time I do this (which isn’t as often as it should be) I see in my child’s face a satisfaction, a delight, a joy, an abundance of heart that nothing else can place there! It delights me to see their hearts so content, so full, so delighted. It convicts me that I should do this more. It reminds me that it has nothing to do with “stuff” and everything to do with relationship—time together. All she really wants is me.

I challenge you, if you have young children, take a day, as often as possible, and spend that full day with just one child. Do this one at a time until everybody has had a day—then start over again. Being together as a whole family is wonderful, but there’s something mighty special about giving a whole day to focus on one child. Guaranteed—they will NEVER forget it.

They grow up! I’m resisting this truth, but it’s happening anyway! I’d better capture the moments while I can. As parents, we have such power and influence! We can take our children’s hearts to a most fulfilling, abundant place. Why don’t we do it more often? It’s all about nurturing their heart and helping them to fall forever in love with their great Heavenly Father.

Thanks for indulging the “daddy talk.” Go plan a day with your child. It’s an awesome experience!