This girl is tenacious when it comes to getting what she wants. No stool? No problem. A slight step from the open cabinet and that's all it takes to scramble up like a monkey in her quest for a drink of water.
Getting ready for bed last night I asked Lilian if she'd had a good day. She answered in the affirmative and we began discussing the various events that made up her schedule. Lunch at Applebees, watching the fountain at the Gateway, trying on clothes at the store. "But Mom," she said, "the best part was reading stories."
Early evening I spontaneously (and magnanimously, in my mind) told her that if she'd pick out her favorite books, I'd read to her for a little while. We cuddled on the couch and read "Piggie Pie," "The Princess and the Pea," and "Strawberry Shortcake," among others, for a half hour or so. We both enjoyed ourselves....but all the same, I was surprised to discover that our story time was Lilian's favorite part of her day.
It immediately reminded me of a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks entitled "Good, Better, Best." (I could even hear his voice in my head....)
In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. “The thing I liked best this summer,” the boy replied, “was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.” Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent.
Lilian gets hauled around to all sorts of activities that her siblings and parents are involved in. Most of the time she is happy to be included, looks forward to these activites, enjoys herself. But it's interesting that what she craves the most is those simple moments. Reading stories together, sitting down to a tea party with her dolls, playing Candyland. It was a good reminder.