I have been busy lately; busy trying to get this blog off the ground, busy doing yard work with my husband as we fight against the short Alaskan growing season, busy with housework that always stacks up, and with trying to keep up with family and friends as 2020 keeps throwing tidal waves at us.
Whenever I get like this, it seems that time with the kids flies away too fast. It is not that I don’t spend time with them, quality time is my love language and I carve out chunks for them and sprinkle my day with interruptions but it lessens with stress. It lessens because I feel like I’m falling behind and I can’t think clearly enough to be present in their childhood games. I can’t play the games and do the things that I normally love to do with them, because the wheels in my head are spinning way too fast. I can’t seem to slow them down.
The worst culprit of that is the “just one more” mentality. Just one more chore, and then I’ll play. Just one more minute on my phone, just one more chance to chase perfection.
It’s that act of putting it off until a better date, when things make more sense….but I don’t know when that will be.
I was doing this last week, scrambling around my house in a cleaning frenzy. I was leaving the next day and wanted everything just so before leaving my home and children in someone else’s hands. I planned a chunk of time in the afternoon for games with the kids, piles of books, and snuggles. It was going to be so blissful in my perfectly clean home. It would seem, however, that the kids did not get the memo.
They were frustrated that I was spending more time with the home then them, and decided to entertain themselves by shredding tissue paper all over the room I just cleaned. Okay, set back. What’s next? Pins and needles…literally. They found my sewing kit and threw pins all over the floor.
I really didn’t have the option to wait out that mess. It was like finding one hundred needles in a haystack, only the haystack was my carpet and I didn’t want to find them with my feet. I had to clean and there was a fair reprimand. It was an act of deliberate destruction and they were aware of that. There was a responsibility on their shoulders for the choices they made and there was a responsibility on mine for putting it off. For pushing my time with them to the back of the day and expecting them to adjust so quickly.
It’s a dance, like all parenting. A balancing act of teaching independence and responsibility, and of teaching relationships and grace. I’m riding the waves daily and don’t pretend to know the perfect place to draw the line in my own home, much less yours. I just know the line is fluid.
Fluid. Like the waters in the lake by our house, and like the beach that we visit when we are able. Now, I don’t mean the white sand beaches with burning sun and swim wear. I mean the rocky beaches with shells and fisherman. The beaches of the my childhood. The water always seems to bring me back to simpler moments and lull me into a peaceful state of presence.
I sat with the kids and made mud pies. Heaps of dirt and sand, mixed with buckets of water to create the sloppiest creations around. I forget about these things all the time, I’ve had mud pies in the back of my mind before and thought about making a perfect little mud kitchen. I could bust out my non-existent Pinterest mom side and spruce up a little corner of the yard for them. And I could do that, a lot of really fabulous moms do. I don’t. When I wait to have it together in that well manicured way, I just spend a lifetime waiting.
So I was the mom digging hands in the dirt and picking flowers from the marsh.
I was racing to make creations before they were run over.
and the mom embracing the goofiness of my children’s design.
🎵 “One of these things is not like the others” 🎶
I found my kids again, in the mud. In the dirt and simplicity of a life not striving for perfection. A shedding of expectations.
“One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much. Physical shedding to begin with, which then mysteriously spreads into other fields. Clothes, first. Of course, one needs less in the sun. But one needs less anyway, one finds suddenly. One does not need a closet-full, only a small suitcase-full. And what a relief it is! Less taking up and down of hems, less mending and-best of all- less worry about what to wear. One finds one is shedding not only clothes-but vanity”Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gifts from the Sea)
For more contemplation from this fabulous little book, click here.
I don’t know if it was the talk of mud pie or the shedding of expectations, but I decided today to make chocolate pudding for a midday snack. We didn’t even have dinner first, the horror. I made it with my son and listened to his stories and remembered that even if it seems to take longer to include children in these task, it gives time in their joy and fulfillment.
And now that I am finally done rambling on. The recipe is right here for you!