Go Ahead, Use the Big Bowl

Does the answer “Just because…” frustrate you like it does me?

  • [Me: Why did you smack your brother’s arm?]
  • [Him: Just because.]
  • [Me: That’s not a reason.]
  • [Him: Yes, it is.] Ugh!

I imagine they get tired of answering Why? questions just like we do.

  • [Him: Why are we going down this street?]
  • [Me: Because this is the way to the store.]
  • [Him: Why are we going to the store?]
  • [Me: Because we need milk.]
  • [Him: Why do we need milk?]
  • [Me: Just because!] Ugh!

Because we do…just because…because I said so. You know you’ve used those a few times. Despite the fact that you want real answers when you ask the questions.

But sometimes there is no reason. It’s random, impetuous, impulsive. Kids just being kids. Actually, it’s the very freedom we want them to feel because we know future grown-up days lack it. Big time.

big bowl_pinterest

And why is that? Why can’t we adults be more impulsive? There doesn’t have to be a solid, thought-out reason for everything, does there?

I’m shooting for a little more impulsivity. Summer is the perfect backdrop for this. We’re supposed to slow down to smell the flowers, stop and look for cloud animals, feel the grass between our toes. Enjoy some freedom.

I’ve started a search this summer for things we do…just because.

Like tonight when I impulsively grabbed a blanket, a pillow, and laid beneath the clouds to enjoy the breeze and setting sun. You know what happened? The basketball stopped bouncing, and I was quickly joined by my 8-year old. We found cloud-fish, a cloud-dragon, and I saw a lady in a hat blowing into a kazoo. Yeah, I have no idea where that one came from. 🙂

Such simple things can help us stop all the constant motion and create memories.

Here’s a favorite of mine – backyard movie nights. We had a big Tahoe with a third seat and drop-down movie screen. One night, after getting our PJs on, we grabbed blankets and pillows and hauled the kids out to the Tahoe. They were pretty confused. My husband drove into the backyard (yes, on the grass he cares for so well), hit the lights, and we watched a Disney movie. So fun! It felt silly driving on the grass – that was fun all on its own – definitely not the norm. But parking in your own yard in the middle of the night when everyone else is probably in the house or in bed is double fun!

It doesn’t always have to be something big. A just because moment can be as simple as a kitchen bowl.

When the only family member willing to hit a grocery run with me was my 2-year old, I felt extra giving. Bless my toddler, he still says yes to running errands with me.

We got ice cream…just because. He wanted mint, so I grabbed mint…just because.

It was ½ hour from bedtime, and I could see in the rear view mirror that I was losing him to sleepyland. I didn’t want him going there just yet, so I struck up a conversation.

  • [Me: What kind of bowl do you want your ice cream in – a big one or a little one?]
  • [Him: A little one. (pause) No, a big one.]
  • [Me: A big one it is.]
  • [Him: I want it in the big salad bowl we just got at Walmart.] First of all, his memory awes me – that was 2 weeks ago. Secondly, this is not an individual salad bowl; this is the bowl you put the whole tossed salad in!
  • [Me: Okay.] Thinking, he’ll probably forget or change his mind.

But then I got home and thought, Why not? It would be fun to hand him a bowl practically half his size. Granted, the ice cream serving will be normal-sized. But why does the bowl have to be? It doesn’t add any work. A bowl is a bowl and either one gets cleaned afterward.

So I did…just because. He got a kick out of it, and didn’t even notice the serving size of the ice cream.

And although I keep saying these things are done just because…they do actually have a purpose. To remind our kids (and ourselves) to find joy in the little things. And maybe even more important, that it’s okay to be impulsive sometimes – to let go and be spontaneous. I forget to do that.

I’m hoping the just because answer turns from a rolling-of-the-eyes, frustrated response to an eyes-lit-up, happy response. Where I do something impulsively fun and unexpected and my kids ask why, and I happily answer, Just because! And they’ll smile…knowing what that answer truly means.

Randomly, in the middle of playing basketball, my little one surprised me with a declaration of love.

  • [Him: I love you, Mama.]
  • [Me: I love you, too. (pause) What made you say, I love you?]
  • [Him: Just because I love you.]

Just because…that’s good enough for me!

What just because moments are you creating with your kids? Please share…and give us all some great ideas!

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