Ah…peace and quiet. It has been a LONG day today. We packed up our troops this morning and headed out a whole whopping 45 minutes away to a state park to meet my dear hubby’s dad and wife. After a long, exciting day, all 4 of my little angels are soundly asleep and my hubby has gone to help his sister move some furniture into her new home…hence, the peace and quiet! And as I sit here listening to the crickets, I don’t mind my extra fatigue…I have it because we chose to live life and make some memories.
I go through phases of wanting be a “fun” mom. You know? The kind who is spontaneous and adventurous. The kind who will strap on the baby in a carrier and take my boys hiking through the woods, perhaps even dressed like Indians, finding ancient treasure. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Reality for me: baby is way too heavy for that thing, toddler would be screaming/tantruming and trying to push his brother off a ledge, preschooler would have to find a potty every 10 minutes, and I probably would lose my oldest, because if I don’t pay attention, he will get distracted and wander off (like his dad).
Nope. Not brave enough. Alternative: stay at home, play in the backyard, and have friends over. It sounds like a great life, but unfortunately, in my head, I’m the Indian Chief mom who is dying to live adventurously with her children. Here are my excuses, if you will, for not being brave: laundry, dishes, tantrums, groceries, meals, tantrums, vacuuming, diapers, boogers, spit up, baby food, tantrums and so on…let your imagination run wild with this mundane to-do list! The other reality is that it takes me about 6 years worth of energy to pack everything we need for a “simple” adventure and another 3 years of energy to make sure everyone has clothes on and hasn’t taken off an article while I was busy changing a diaper!
So this has been my prayer (quite literally one that I’ve written down): Lord, I want to show my kids that the life you gave them is fun and full of adventure. I don’t want to be a parent to just give them rules, I want to give them memories. I love watching them learn, but I long to watch them live. I just don’t know how to be adventurous within the limitations of this season of life. Help us learn to live boldly, without fear, and with excitement in our hearts about each day that you have given to us.
Result: my conclusion that said memory-making does not have to be a big production.
Besides getting out the door, today was simple. The boys threw rocks in the water, collected snail shells, and ate sandwiches without plates (a concept that blew their minds!). They loved every second of it! The real treat was when their grandpa took them into his boat for a spin on the lake. It was three generations of Stack men and the great outdoors-a sight to be beheld! After their relaxing boat ride, sitting still for an upwards of 45 minutes, they had some extra energy ; ) I uncharacteristically ran around and played soccer with them…we’re talking some competitive soccer. Well, that is for a 4 year old, 5 year old and an out of shape mommy! Then, it was some relaxing fishing with grandpa…with live bait! Can we imagine what my 2 year old might have done with bait? That’s right-worms for dessert!
We laughed and played a lot more today than we had in awhile.
Earlier this week, we started our school year off officially. I wasn’t planning on it, but these kids were busting at the seams, so I thought I would encourage learning rather than discourage it because I wasn’t ready. It was tough getting back into a schedule, but we were intentional about making it fun.
One fun new tradition that we decided to create is our annual donut day. We decided that at the end of the first week of school every year, we celebrate our new family holiday! On Friday morning, we all got dressed “stylishly,” as my four year old would say (in baseball caps and sunglasses-just to add some extra fun) and the boys got to go to the donut shop and pick out their own donuts to eat while doing school work. So simple, and yet, you would have thought they had never had a donut! It is a rare thing in our family, which made it extra special.
We also started this weird, but fun, little game. The boys have a stuffed animal possum. One night, I went to the bathroom and one of my little guys had left Pasta (oh, that’s the possum’s name!) on the bathroom floor. Yes, the boys were indeed woken up to a shrieking mama in the bathroom! My hubby thought it was so funny, he has kept the “hiding” game going, and I have returned the favor. Be careful in our house…if you open the refrigerator, the mailbox, the linen closet, or just go to bed, there may be a small, furry Pasta waiting for you! The boys have caught on and are thoroughly enjoying scaring my hubby or I as we go about the daily routine only to have a stuffed possum jump out at us from an undisclosed location. This stinkin’ possum has brought more laughs to our family than anything else I think!
We are really enjoying our boys. When you have little ones close together in age, sometimes that statement is hard to make. We’ve had to learn to lighten up, think like a child, and play more. This is hard for us because we are both task-oriented people. However, in the midst of all the tasks that must get done, we can lose sight of why we do them. We do all this because we are privileged to have a family to do it for. While our reward is in heaven, we get glimpses of it here and there…in every curious discovery, squeal of delight, wide-eyed gaze of excitement and tight hug.
It’s hard to maintain a balance of getting things done and enjoying your family. I’m so grateful that because of our kids, we’re growing into having family traditions and silly games. There are lots of ways to connect with our kids in a long term way. Fun is one of them. The best part: having fun is the most fun way to connect! It doesn’t have to be intricate, expensive, or labor-intensive. It just has to be fun! For us, we’re learning how to have fun again after a sabbatical while growing babies!
So, plain and simple…have some fun and make some memories!
P.S. I still want to be a pretend Indian chief one day. Don’t be alarmed if you catch me with a feather in my headdress!