It has been forever and a day since I have written a blog post…and even longer since I shared any type of update of our lives. With all the reading I have been doing on time management and scheduling, I rarely say, “I don’t have time” anymore. Instead I say I use my time for other things. Which is in fact true. God has given each of us the same twenty-four hours in a day. We all use those hours differently, right?
Somehow time is slipping away and things keep changing. Did I really just register my youngest for kindergarten? Is it true my oldest does not want to play in the Playland at IKEA anymore? Since when did everyone’s shoe size get past the children sizes?
I have seen this the most lately in my oldest. Last year we drove to swim lessons and she spent the entire car ride talking about My Little Pony. Pinkie Pie is an earth pony. Fluttershy is a pegasus. Zecora is a zebra (which is confusing…how did a zebra get into Pony World?). There are times I will see her get the ponies out and let them prance around the family room, but most of the time it is with her little sister. She wants to listen to the rock station in the car and I am grateful I am (most of the time) content to listen to it with her. She actually bought me a Taylor Swift CD for Christmas instead of buying one for herself.
I sometimes mourn the little pudgy cheeked girl she used to me. But more of the time I am grateful for the beautiful young lady she is becoming. I have always had a heart for middle schoolers and have been doing middle school youth ministry for years and years. It is exciting (and a little nerve wracking!) that she is slowly getting to that age.
She is so unlike me. The day she was born my mom took one look at her and said, “This baby doesn’t look a thing like you.” She has been Daddy’s girl since she was an infant. She thinks like he does. Her hand writing looks like his i.e. hard to decipher. She loves to cook and has her own drawer in the kitchen with her own knife, measuring cups etc. She loves to make lunch for everyone and has cooked a few meals. When I was nine years old I doubt I could be trusted with any type of kitchen machinery or my own knife. She plays piano beautifully and is self disciplined and self motivated…again she did not get this from me. She likes to run but I don’t know if it will be her passion like it is for me. Then again I didn’t really become passionate about it until my 20’s. She enjoys basketball, wants to try soccer again, and still likes to swim. She loves theatre and acting. It is fun watching her try many different things.
My son is the child of which I sometimes feel like I am reliving my own childhood. His big blue saucer eyes remind me of “little me.” I hate to admit I thought he would struggle in school. When I home schooled him for preschool many years ago, I pulled out alphabet flashcards. After a few cards he groaned and said, “Mom can we do something else?” He never got into Sesame Street and was not a big reader like his older sister. I was very wrong. He is an advanced reader now and brings home A’s. Math comes pretty natural to him at this age. He works very hard at school. He has a great sense of humor and a big heart. He reaches out to the kids who are hurting or left out. He loves animals and like me cannot handle movies where animals get hurt (I guess we’ll never watch Old Yeller together).
He is very extroverted and likes having extra kids around the house. He and I both a share a need to be outside and we get stir crazy on rainy days. I love to run and bike with him. He loves legoes and hot wheels. Like me, he hates mushrooms and olives. I asked him how he thinks we are alike and he said, “We both have the same feelings.” Which is very true. We are both pretty emotional… sometimes to a fault.
He had an experience in school in February that mirrored a situation I had at almost the same age, it was uncanny. The class had to make heart-shaped animals for Valentines Day. It required them to fold construction paper in half to make hearts. He could not figure it out and tried repeatedly. He got overly frustrated. When he told me about it when I was putting him to bed and he got very upset. When I was in second grade we had to make hearts folded in half. We had to staple two hearts together and put memory verses we learned in the hearts. I could not figure out how to cut a half heart shape with folded paper. I tried so hard and gave up. The teacher laughed (which made me feel even dumber) and gave me one she had already made. I told that story to my son and he said, “Mom you’re not dumb. We just couldn’t figure it out.”
I wondered when the third child was born if she would be like her sister or her brother. The answer to that question is she is not like either one. She is who she is. She was a strong willed toddler that constantly kept me on my feet and challenged me in many ways. That made her into an independent girl who makes her own lunch every day without my help (she’s five), picks out her own clothes, and is learning to read (and do some basic math too).
She is truly an artist. She takes paper creations, pipe cleaners, paint, magazine cut outs, stickers and makes things. She will do this for a whole morning. What she comes up with is incredibly creative. I am much more “arts” than “crafts” and I appreciate the “not having to follow directions.” I would much rather have a blank canvas and some paints.
Like her brother she loves to ride her bike and get dirty outside. She is still very much wrapped up in the world of My Little Pony and Barbie. She is still strong willed. I have to tell her to tone it down and not tell her friends what to do. Yet I see some leadership in her. I am excited to see how her little personality is going to continue to develop. I am not sure if she is more like me or my husband. Most days I see a bit of both. Sometimes she reminds me a lot of my sister and my niece which makes me smile.
As for my husband and I…when we first moved to Oregon we were in our late 20’s. 30 seemed normal and 40…well old. Now we are inching closer to 40. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am in my late 30’s and I’m not 28. I don’t feel old most of the time. Maybe sometimes when my middle school youth group kids have no idea who White Snake or Van Halen is or what life was like pre-Internet or that our family shared a phone that was attached to the wall. There is something fun about sharing those stories of pre-technology age.
The husband and I both listen to indie/folk music pretty regularly now. I don’t know if that is because we are in our late 30’s or it is more popular in the Pacific Northwest. When I was driving my middle schoolers to go bowling I said, “You can put it on whatever radio station you want. I have it on the indie/folk alternative station. I am not sure you have heard of it.” She said, “No I don’t listen to it but my mom does.” It is a different experience when your youth group kids moms are your age and even your friends whereas when we started youth ministry years and years ago we were actually closer in age to the kids.
The husband is about to graduate with his doctorate which is pretty amazing. He made trips all the way to St. Louis for 2-3 weeks each year for classes. He wrote a dissertation that included interviews and tons of reading and hours of research. All while being a full time pastor, husband, and dad. And author…he wrote a book in there too! I honestly think he could teach a course in time management. I asked him what he is going to do with his spare time once he is completely finished. That might include more reading, writing, and possibly model airplanes.
As for me I feel like my life this spring has not been this “run around crazy one thing to the next circus” like it has been in the past. Maybe my husband’s time management skills finally rubbed off on me after 14 years of marriage. I work almost full time doing in home child care, but I do have time to read, connect with friends, and of course run a crazy amount of miles. I will be (Lord willing) running my fourth marathon at the end of May and this time with my sister. I desired friends who run and even prayed for running partners over the years. But I still was (mostly due to my unpredictable schedule with kids) the lone runner. I have found people to train with and it has been a tremendous blessing. I shared more about this on my running blog where you can also follow my marathon training.
In this phase of life being a stay at home takes on a new form. I feel like I still need to be at home, but I am not doing the changing, dressing, picking up their toys (most of the time they are supposed to pick up their own) etc. We are doing more together outside of the home that are things we all enjoy (like going to a movie, bike rides etc.). More often than not, I am the mom on the play equipment or the trampoline or in the tree (that was a little much–I wasn’t sure how I was going to get down). I don’t expect every mom to be like me, but I am grateful for my energy and need for activity.
I know this post is getting super long…I am nearing 1800 words…yikes. But tomorrow I leave for Michigan for my grandma’s funeral. She was 96 years old. I am reminded again how precious time is. I am grateful for all the memories I had with her. She was an amazing grandma and I am grateful I got to know her so well. But we don’t live forever here on earth…time does not stand still. It is time to say good-bye at least on this side of heaven.
So I close with this: Don’t let time pass you by that you looked back and questioned, “What did I do with those twenty four hour periods God gave me?” Create memories. Make a meal together. Go for a bike ride. Paint a picture. Jump on a trampoline. Dance to 80’s music. If that’s not you–figure out who you are. Even though there is pain, brokenness, anxiety, suffering, and fear of the future, don’t discount this beautiful life God blessed you with.