Anders and I have had the weekend to ourselves. Beth went to a women's conference at the Camp of the Cascades with some other ladies from our church (and several hundred more from Washington state). I think we've had a rather good weekend together. He's actually behaved incredibly well.
Yesterday afternoon (he went into church with me in the morning) we went down the street to a kids carnival that the Salvation Army church was putting on. The highlight--after the big, bouncy Noah's Ark--was getting his face painted like Spiderman (I'm afraid I didn't have the camera with then, so the picture wasn't taken until we got home. By which time he'd had a bonk in the bouncy Ark and a couple other incidents which caused tears/rubbing of the face. So by the time the picture was taken, his face got a little smeared.
The carnival had a lot of little booths with things like the ring toss, hockey shot, fishing in a pool, golf shot, basketball shot, football pass, etc. Only at one of the fishing booths did he get a prize (a lollipop)--at the others he just got a sticker on his sheet. And judging from Anders and the other kids there, they didn't need a lot of prizes (like we often think needs to happen at kids' carnivals). They were happy just to play. And the best rewards can be the simplest (like just having fun with family).
After the carnival I had to stop at the bank and Anders talked me into stopping in the mall so he could just look at the toy isle in Zellers (we didn't buy any--just a book from the book store). It was kind of fun walking through the mall. People kept looking at Anders. And then he'd tell me, "Dad, that lady smiled at me" or "That guy winked at me because I'm Spiderman." And of course plenty of people interacted with him as Spiderman--"Hey, look, it's Spiderman." "How are you doing Spiderman?" Even, "Uh-oh, I'm scared!" And it made Anders' day--and I'm sure the day of many mall-goers as well.
The remarkable thing is not the people whose days were brightened by Anders, but the people who didn't even pay attention. I've noticed that carrying Nils places, too. Most people will swoon over him (well, he is the world's cutest baby, after all)--they'll at least smile after seeing him. But then people walk by without barely glancing. They just continue on, focused on what they're doing--often with a lack of smile on their face. And I feel for them. I'm sad that they just missed out on an opportunity to have their day brightened by the face of a 10-month or 3-year old. Sometimes the boys go with me to visit people in the care center down the road. Even if the people we're going to visit aren't in that day, the trip is always worth it. The faces of the residents in the hallways or the commons area light up when they see the boys.
I wish I had that sort of super power. As people redeemed by God's grace, our lives are supposed to be filled with God's joy. What I've got in my heart should be outpouring to those around me. Thank God for three-year old Spiderman-wannabes who remind me of that.