So, it has been quite a while since I’ve posted my last article. Nine years to be exact. Enough time to get pregnant and have a daughter who is now 8 years old. Never in my wildest dreams did I think motherhood could get any harder than it already was. At one point in my life, I was juggling 3 kids who were 5 and under and I could barely remember one day from the next. I floated through the past few years with the assistance of family and friends, as well as healthy pours of Rose. Recently, I’ve finally felt the urge to write again. All it took was a WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC to allow me the time to rediscover my love for writing and my need to share the chaos that comes with my life.
If I am completely truthful, participating in second grade virtual writing class with my daughter also gave me a wake-up call. I saw her passion for the art of prose, I’ve read some of her creative pieces ,and remembered that I used to have that same drive too. She is a good writer at the ripe old age of 8 and even though I tell her that LOL isn’t a word, and you can’t write ummmmm and like so much, her instructor loves her creations, and I must admit they are pretty impressive. So, recently, I have felt a little healthy competition arising between my daughter and myself. If I am honest, I am the only person aware of the competition, and I am also the creator of it, but ……I digress. No judgement please because I know that I am not the only one who can enjoy a little friendly challenge with their children, especially a spirited daughter who has a knack for being blunt and painfully truthful with everything she shares with me.
So back to this pandemic, that brought our family train to a screeching halt! All at once there were no more early morning soccer games, afternoon basketball practice, piano recitals, school performances, live concerts, amusement parks, playdates and trips. My initial feelings were filled with focus on what we had lost, but I eventually realized (with some pain and stress) what we had gained. We gained time to watch movies, time to sleep in, time to talk to each other, time to share ideas, time to reorganize and time to listen to the endless fighting between three siblings forced to spend hours together, but……. I digress.
These past 10 months after the Spring Break that Never Ended has made me promise not to return to the crazy schedule we once had. I was crumbling under the pressure of our life and schedule before Covid-19 shut us down. I now need to figure out how to maintain a healthy balance in our lives of family, sports, academics and enrichment without feeling like we have been hit by a bus by Sunday afternoon. I have yet to figure this out. I keep calculating number of dance classes, UIL teams, triathlons, piano lessons, soccer games, basketball, band and before I know it, we are back where we were if I add all these things back into our lives. Ironically, what ultimately happened is that I found myself having to be the enforcer of punctuality and responsibility in all these activities. Keeping up with uniforms, games, competitions and scheduling all fell on my shoulders before the pandemic. Currently, our family hasn’t returned to most of these things, and as much as it pains me, I have been asking my kids what they would like to do. Some of them reply “none of them” (one kid in particular) and my previous response would be to ignore this and keep them busy, give them options, broaden their horizons and in the process overstress our schedules.
I am not making any promises that I will make all the right choices, but I know that I will try hard to remember how much fun we have all had eating wings on Friday nights, watching movies on Saturday nights, creating our own new family traditions, making candy apples on Halloween (I will leave out the part where my husband left my son in charge of watching the cooking candy mixture and setting off the fire alarm along with smoking up the entire house). We have had special times before but never really had the opportunity to realize that these moments were just as important as getting all A’s, those yearly Triathlon medals, making the All-Star teams and all those piano recitals.
I LOVE watching my children succeed and I love providing them the opportunity to participate in activities that I was not exposed to at their age. I will admit that I push them to succeed but I try hard to come from a loving place. I think its okay to want the best from your kids, to teach them that sometimes we fail, but the most important lesson is that your character ultimately outshines any accomplishments. I learned a lot these past few months about who my kids are, what their fears are (two of them don’t like to have their cameras on during virtual learning), how much they learn from watching us and why it is important for us to have as many winning family moments as we do during their individual activities. All these experiences shape what type of humans we are raising, and I just need to remember that its quality of these interactions, not quantity, that is important. Wisely choose where you focus your energy and make the interactions matter. Inhale the experience and make every moment count.