Well, I am back to recording life and thoughts this morning. Today I need to talk about why I haven’t been here most of the summer. Part of me wants to blame just this summer, but the past few weeks in my reflections I can honestly say it has been more like the past 18 months. It seems I have been running against the clock planning and planning ahead to “save time” later. Can we really save time? I think it’s like clipping coupons. We clip them and save, but most of the time the $10-$20 gets spent on something else. Same with time we prep meals, we stock the pantry and freezer, we plan our calendars (BTW I ALWAYS spell calendars calanders the first time … just being real and I wonder why EVERY SINGLE time), etc. This is me … this was me … it will be me again it’s who I am, but I am working on slowing down, being intentional about relaxing more, and cutting out the urgency to get things done.
So, back to our summer that started 18 months ago. My husband has worked 2nd shift 98% of the past 10 years, except when he was laid off for 3 years, which means I did the majority of the kid running, meals, home stuff, planning, etc. I will not say most of everything … I was tempted to, but he worked 6-7 days a week and 10-12 hour days. So, I did a lot around here, but in his few hours home he took care of the garden, cars, yard, and farming. Yet, since he was only home and awake a few hours at a time I never realized how much I did for our home and four kids. I just did them. Then over the past 8 weeks he has been home much more no longer working any overtime and working 1st shift. It is like I can breathe again. I just told my aunt the other day I still find myself walking through the house thinking I need to do something, but I don’t. I mean there are always things I could do, but I used to always have something that NEEDED to be done. Those things that should be done or I wanted to do rarely ever were touched. I no longer have that never ending list of items that NEED to be done. It gets done and sometimes there is time to spare. Still not much time for reading or watching my favorite shows, but the fact that I have favorite shows must mean I do get some TV time.
Yet, my husband’s crazy work hours were not the only thing going on, it was also the season of life we were or are in. Four very involved kids and our own desire to do certain things. In the past 24-18 months, I planned 12 birthday parties, 2 First Communions, 2 Confirmations, had 2 girls in 2 dance recitals, fundraisers for a black belt test, typical activities of karate, dance, riding lessons, scouts, catechism classes, sacrament preparation classes, vacations, VBS, county fair, and holiday prep. NOT COMPLAINING ONE TINY TINY bit it is our life and I love it. When I realized the other day that Spring 2018 would not include 3 birthdays, recital, AND Sacraments I let out a deep sigh of relief. That’s when it hit me that we have had a lot going on, but when I thought about what we could cut out I struggled with that. The majority of what we do isn’t that it’s too much it was just the timing of everything.
Over the past 8 weeks we have discussed how to better plan out our 12 month calendar (I spelled it right maybe I just needed to confess) so we are not over scheduling our commitments or time. This year went like this March sons 12th birthday (cake here for a “drop in if you can” party and a friends Nerf Wars party), #4’s 4th birthday party with family, #3’s Confirmation and First Communion (and all the prep classes), #3’s 8th birthday party with family, 2 in dance recital, Up North vacation, Kentucky vacation, VBS week, fair week, prepping for a new school year, a day with the kids friends here, and then a 10 day UP/Wisconsin vacation. Now here we are rolling in our school year planning Halloween costumes, Christmas lists, my #2’s 10th birthday with friends (no friends parties until age 10 … one thing I never put on my plate) and haven’t thought about anything farther. So, we looked at that and said we decided to put on the calendar the things that just have to be done and decide from there if or what we add in. Granted dance, riding, karate, scouts, youth group, clubs, etc don’t have to be done, but they are limited to 2 things besides church stuff. So, with 4 it can be a bit much, but trust me they always WANT or should I say THINK THEY NEED to do more.
I will say we did have a great summer, but I feel like I never really relaxed to truly take it all in … So can you make too many memories? I think you can never make too many memories, but you can make too many plans.
A summing up with one more thought about this before I end … I know why we over do our planning. Do you? See my Dad died when I was 8 (our kids are 12, 9, 8, and 4), my husbands Dad always worked and died nearly 10 years ago. Time is important to us. My husband put it best a few months ago when he seen a friend of ours that is battling cancer. I could tell he was being thoughtful and said to me “I always think I don’t have enough time.” Right….? We can rush around putting the spending of time off, because we are too busy trying to save time. And there you have it … we can be pretty good about our money and intentional about where and how we spend it, but are we intentional about how we spend our time. Is it quality time or just time spent? See I think we really need to stop storing up … spending time to save or make money … spending money to save or spend time … LOOK BACK … Are you ahead? … Have your TRULY MADE more money or time? … Have you laughed with your kids? Your aging Grandparent? Had dinner with the parents? Taught your daughter how to use the camera she is always carrying around? Told them stories about when you were a kid? Caught fire flies with them? Made a meal for a friend that just had a baby? Offered to clean her house or do her laundry even though yours is piled high? Sent a card to say whatever needs to be said before it can’t be said? …….. on and on I could go. I am speaking to myself as much as anyone else. Yet, I decided THESE were the things I wanted to teach our kids to do. Spending time and even money on time with the people God put in our lives and in our hearts. Being like Mary (not Martha) and taking it all in while we can.
Take moments to breathe, notice, take account, really be there, remember, and share.
I am praying for you. Please pray for me.