Monday, August 19, 2013

Savoring the Moment

Yesterday, we went bike riding with our kids.  It was one of those awesome times.  All three kids are riding their bikes without training wheels and they love it.  We went on a trail near our home that is mostly flat with a few slight ups and downs.  All three were able to ride.  No major spills.  Chris finally has a bike that he likes and I have a bike that I like just fine.  

As I trailed my family, I was just thankful.  I was thankful that we could do this.  I was thankful to be with my family.  I was thankful to live in a place where we can get to a trail and ride.  Where I grew up, we didn't have anything like what we rode on yesterday.  

(I snapped this picture while riding and holding my camera.)

For two hours, our lives slowed down.  We were outside on a day with a perfect temperature.  It was overcast, but it didn't rain on us!  I had peace and I was present in the moment.  It was a wonderful respite in a busy season for me.

I've been thinking a lot over the last week.  My kids have soccer practice Monday through Thursday...  The girls were put on opposite nights.  Saturday games start next week.  It makes my life busy.

Most of the time, I talk with other homeschooling moms.  The group at soccer practice is different for me.  95% of them are working moms whose kids attend public schools.  They way they view education, sports, family time, priorities, and time for themselves is very different than how I view it.  I love talking with other moms and learning about their families and who they are.  All summer long, I've approached moms at our community pool.  I've had a lot of interesting conversations.  But, I felt more comfortable there somehow.  This past week I tried to start a lot of conversations.  Some of them started, faltered, and then died.  Some never really took off to begin with.  

Along the way, I began to realize a lot of things.  I've been speaking with great angst to my friends about trying to cope with four days of practice plus two Saturday games for three months.  But, to these moms this is totally normal and even expected.  Several of the moms talked about doing even more activities on top of soccer with their kids.  Several participate in adult sports teams which requires weeknight practices and weekend games that consume entire days.  One mom said she needs time for her.  

I've been left with a couple of questions...  how often do they get to eat together as a family? What do they do as a family together?  Do they go on dates with their husbands?  How do they juggle all of it?  When do they rest?  How much are they home?  What are their goals for their children?  What do they see as their roles in their children's education?  What do their husbands expect of them?  

I have been blessed to have two very good friends whose children attend public schools. They've shared a lot of their thoughts on these questions with me over the past few years.  But, I feel like my two friends are very different than a lot of the moms I'm meeting right now.  Both of them have chosen to live on less so that they can be stay at home or part-time working moms and have more time with their kids.  Both of them actively have volunteered in their children's classrooms over the past few years and actively communicate on a regular basis with their children's teachers.  

Honestly, after just glimpsing how I feel after this past week, my respect for what they do for their families and how they juggle things has grown leaps and bounds.  I have always respected them a lot for how they love their families well.  I don't think I could do what they do.  They juggle getting kids up in the am and to school at a certain time, after school pick ups, part-time jobs, sports, dance, music, girl scouts and the like on top of the school day plus church and small groups.  I know each of them savors the days off when their kids are home from school.  

On the other hand, I discovered a couple of things about myself as well as I thought about these moms I've been meeting.

I can't go nonstop two days in a row.  A friend of mine told me this recently about herself and I think the same is true of me.  

I want to savor my kids.  The less you have of something, the more you want to savor and appreciate what you do have.  

I value family dinners.  I agree with Walt Wangerin's introduction (that I've often cited from Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?)--that we need to give our children a safe haven and fill our homes with laughter.  But, it's easier to do that if we're home and have time together.  I don't want to fill our lives with constant activity.

Soccer is a good thing for my kids.  There's lots of great lessons that I've been watching my children start to learn on the soccer field.  This is just a season, so I am going to hang on and make this a priority for this time.  But, I wouldn't want to keep going like this all year round.  Next summer, we're going to do swim team--in the mornings.  This is will be much more doable for my family and it won't be on top of our school days.  I definitely prefer afternoon activities to evenings.  

I probably think way too much about all of this, but I'm realizing that it's just the way I'm wired. But, I need to pause my pondering because I need to go get dinner in the crock pot and start my day!