Sometimes I wonder if we’re close enough. Not as in geographically. Or even in the same house.
But are we close enough that it’s going to mean something when they get older. When they want to talk about things that really matter.
Do they genuinely see me as a refuge? As a safe haven? As someone who really has their back? Are we that kind of close?
I know at some point, they will turn to their peers before they turn to me. But, do we have that close-knit bond that will allow them to understand that, despite what predicament they get into with or without their friends, they can call home? They can call their Momma…and I will listen or help.
I want to be close enough to them that when they get older and they get into a wrong relationship, they can call me and I’ll listen without judgment or even negative non-verbal communication.
Will they know that I just have their best interests at heart?
Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when their friends decide to drink and drive and they aren’t comfortable getting into the car with them?
Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when they decide to drink and NOT drive and they need a ride home?
Am I laying the foundation, daily, that is required for us to be this kind of close?
Am I putting in the hard work, the dedication, the time necessary to make this kind of close a reality?
Am I praying the hard prayers that seem to go out into the abyss, only to be answered many days, weeks, months, and years later?
So he (Samson) told her (Delilah) everything. ‘No razor has ever been used on my head,’ he said, ‘because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God…if my head were shaved, my strength would leave me…After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him…but he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Judges 16:17,19-20
My son has always been afraid of the dark. He’s nine years old and I don’t even worry about his fear. Why? Well, my son is operating on a higher spiritual level than most. I get it, that may sound hokey or odd or just plain crazy to you. But there’s something in this beloved son of mine that others don’t see and may never experience.
How do I know, you ask? Mother’s intuition. That, and some of the things he says and dreams he shares with me.
As this summer continues to unfold, I am excited to share new experiences with my children.
Every summer before this one, my kids have had to go to ‘camp’ all day. They’ve typically enjoyed it because the camp they’ve attended has kept them crazy busy! (So there’s less ‘mom-guilt’ for me.)
This is the first summer I’ve been able to stay home with them, and I’m not gonna lie, there are days where I’ve completely lost my ever-lovin’-mind, to the point where my kids probably wish they could go to camp…just to get away!
See, I’m pretty much an introvert, with a few extravert tendencies. I need time alone with just my thoughts, to recharge and get amped up for the next adventure.
Since my kids got out of school on May 20, I’ve had a total of approximately 3 hours to myself. And those have been spent in the bathroom.
To say I was beyond ready for a small break is an understatement.
Yesterday, we decided to do something new! Well, new for me…not the kids. We decided to take the bus around town. It was incredibly awesome for me, cause I didn’t have to drive or stress about stupid STUPID construction traffic in Lafayette. (If you live here or have to come here for anything, you totally get this.)
Our plan was to go to the Hanna Center. I know they have a small playground, and we had packed a lunch, so we were going to eat and just chill. I even brought the book I’m currently working my way through. Slightly wishful thinking.
Well, I wasn’t exactly sure where we needed to get off the bus, so we ended up missing our stop. I noticed as we were flying down Greenbush Street that I needed to come up with a back-up plan. i
“Ok kids. McAllister Center it is!”
This is where they’ve gone to summer camp before, so I knew they had a small park to play at, as well as a picnic area.
We ate and chatted about things and played for a while. My daughter, who goes to middle school in the fall, told me she is the most excited about lockers. And is the most nervous about getting around.
I could tell our time was winding down, so I began to look at the bus schedule to determine our next move. I decided it would be easiest to walk to Market Square and go from there. I’m sure some of you locals are thinking I’m crazy, and perhaps you’re right…but hear me out on this one…
The kids had traveled some of these roads before, when they walked to the pool from camp. So, I knew we weren’t going to be totally lost…plus MapQuest…an essential travel tool.
We started out, and I wanted to enjoy the walking and the scenery. For me, we were on roads I’ve never been on, surrounded by sights I’ve never seen.
What follows are some pictures of our expedition.
My whole goal in this day was to just BE. Be present. Be in the moment. Be all-in with my kids. I had had a rough morning, and wanted to connect with them in a way I had yet to for the day. I wanted to document it so that we could reflect on it in the days to come.
When my hubs got home last night, he knew that I needed a break. So he agreed to take the kids off my hands for a few hours. (Remember how I said I’ve had exactly 3 hours in solitude since May 20?)
He knows how they enjoy fishing, so they went to Big Fish and Campground to have some quality time together.
Sometimes I have a difficult time ‘letting go’ of my desire to be needed. But, I find when I do, I am much more fulfilled. My husband gets to do his thing with the kids. I get to do my thing alone. And when we all come back together, we are all much happier people!
(Sidenote: my daughter is reading this as I’m writing it…she said that SOMETIMES we are all happier people…when I asked her what she meant, she informed me that sometimes she needs a break from the two of us. Wow…she is truly my ‘mini-me.’)
We officially have one week of summer and one holiday under our belts! As many of you may know, this is my first summer not working full-time. This is my first summer with my kiddos 24/7, and my bonus daughter every other week. This is my first summer where I will likely want to pull my hair out before my birthday, which is June 20.
So far, things have gone pretty well. I worked about 8 hours last week and will do the same most weeks this summer. Our schedule hasn’t been rigid, but we have had things to accomplish each day.
Here’s a rough outline of how my husband and I are doing things this summer.
Generally speaking, the kids are in bed by 10 pm. Let’s be honest, anything later and we are all going crazy…kids are cranky, husband and I don’t get our ‘alone’ time and fall into bed right after tucking them in…it’s just better if the kids are still in bed at a semi-reasonable time.
Typically I’m the first one up in the mornings, even during the school year. It allows me quiet time to blog, write, have bible study, and just prepare for the day in general. This is also the case during the summer.
The hubs leaves for work between 7:30-8:00 everyday. The kiddos are awake between 7:30 and 9:00, depending on which kid and how busy we’ve been. This typically allows me about 1-1.5 hours of time, not completely uninterrupted, to work on things, like write this post.
The kids are required to do 30 minutes of reading everyday, which, I prefer they do before we leave the house. When we leave the house, we head to my part-time job, which, fortunately, I’m allowed to bring the kiddos and they generally have fun!
Most days, we are packing a lunch, so we don’t have the added expense of buying lunch while we are out. It’s not a feast, but it does hold them over, and generally includes PB&J or lunch meat, yogurt and some kind of fruit. We may have a picnic lunch or we may eat in the van, en route to our next stop.
We did some errand running last week — signing the kids up for summer camps, last minute summer clothes shopping, and the like. This week, I’m hoping to cut the errand day down to one per week. Hopefully I can get all errands ran in one day because our construction traffic in town is INSANE and it takes forever to get anywhere.
This week, we will go to a movie (only on Tuesday, as our local theatre has discounted tickets on Tuesdays). We will likely go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis and maybe visit some family down there as well.
In the next couple weeks, our schedule is going to get a little hairy, with VBS and summer camps — I’m going to feel like a taxi service, except unpaid…lol.
I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the beginning of your summer. I can’t wait to hear what you and your family have been up to!
Recently, a book came across my radar. It’s called ‘The Mother Letters.’ You can read more about it and purchase it on Amazon.
This book is a collection of letters written to mothers to encourage and inspire. In a society in which we are ‘trained’ to degrade one another and fight to get ahead, this book goes against the grain. And I love it. You can learn more about the project on the author’s website: Amber Haines. Her husband, gem of a man that he is, saw she needed encouragement for the hard days, and sought it in the form of letters from other mothers. They had no idea it would turn into the project that it has.
I encourage you to write your own ‘Mother Letter’ even if you have no plans to post it anywhere on the web or social media.
I see you. With keys and a cup of coffee in one hand and 3 bags slung over your other shoulder.
I see you. Juggling your hundreds of responsibilities for others.
I see you. Checking email on your phone, while trying to hurry your child along to get out the door.
I feel you. The internal struggles you have, trying to make the best decisions for your children.
I feel you. You’re single. This is not how you imagined yourself having kids.
I feel you. You’re questioning why God would choose you, of all people, to bear this child.
I am you. I try to be everything for everyone, all the while forgetting who I am.
I am you. I’ve been a single mama and now I’m a married mama.
I am you. I’ve wondered and questioned and mused over why God would choose me to mother any children.
I am you. I’ve worked full time (and then some) and I’ve worked part time. I’ve been room mom. I’ve been on the PTO. I’ve been involved, and I’ve sat silently on the sidelines.
I am you. I’ve critiqued myself in my head a hundred, no a thousand, times. Did I make the right decision to breast feed? Did I send them to the right preschool? Did I choose a good elementary school? Should we have participated in that activity, or should we have sat that one out? Do I get them to church enough? Do I spend enough one-on-one time with them each day?
See mothers, the truth is that in some way, we’ve all been where others are currently. We’ve all been wondering and questioning if we are making the ‘right’ choices for our kids, all the while feeling like we aren’t measuring up as women.
We are all part of this wondrous community of women, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus to the children entrusted to us. Motherhood is a calling, really. And as a calling, we are to rally around and encourage the mothers in our sphere of influence.
How, do you ask?
Instead of mentally criticizing the mother over her choice to bottle feed, encourage her. For by choosing to bottle feed, others can share in the joyous occasion of supplying nourishment to a growing infant.
Rather than shaming the mother who has no choice BUT to work, lift her up by offering to provide a snack or a meal to her family.
Better than creating barriers between yourself and another mother for differing ‘mothering’ styles, stop and listen to why she made the choices she did. I guarantee you will be enlightened. And you may even change your thinking on a thing or two.
Dear Mother, none of us are perfect.
Dear Mother, we are all questioning our choices.
Dear Mother, we are all just trying to get to the ‘other side’ alive.
Dear Mother, let us seek our similarities, so we can say, ‘Oh, you too?’.
Dear Mother, let us embrace one another’s distinctness so that we can learn from each other. We are all at different places on the same journey.