After several days in DC and then a day in Columbus OH, I'm finally home again. (Not for long though! I'm headed to Wisconsin in three days...)
The Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference was phenomenal. (more of my reflections on this tomorrow. In the meantime you can find more info about NSP at www.spiritualprogressives.org
, and particularly at A Spiritual Covenant with America
My visit at the St. Stevens Episcopalian church was also phenomenal. (more on that as well later.)
As I was travelling around, I thought about bringing some little thing for each of my children as I have done in the past. In the end, I decided that rather than buying them something, I would take some time to do something special with them in the next few days -- play a game, go to a movie, go to the park -- replacing some of the time we might have spent together while I was gone. While the older ones thought this was a decent idea, my littlest thought about it for a second and then informed me that really it would have been better to bring her something, but that since I hadn't, she would like our special time together to include a trip to Toys R Us. I had to work very hard to keep from laughing out loud.
It's always been challenging with my youngest -- she seems to want everything she lays eyes on. (Ok, lets be honest, every stuffed animal or plastic pony she lays eyes on.) It got so bad for a while that we worked out a system that if she didn't fuss for a toy for a whole week she got to go to the local drugstore and pick out something small. That helped a lot, but I'm still afraid she equates getting things with getting love. On the other hand, she plays truly elaborate pretend games with her villages of ponies and stuffed animals, so it may be more that she just likes to be able to have a lot of different characters to work with. Either way, I think it would be wise for me to spend quite a bit of time over the next months and years demonstrating some of the wonderful things that money can't buy, but make life truly beautiful.