I read a great reminder this morning to focus on our children's' whole self instead being a "Behavior Patrol." This really hit home because, in the thralls of summer, I have found myself slipping into survival mode. This usually consists of a sole focus to ensure that my kids aren't killing each other.
At the beginning of summer, I started a photography challenge to document our days- the exciting, the mundane, the emotional, the sometimes brain numbing usage of all day electronics (don't act like you've never done it)- not because of any delusional belief that the world is dying to see my life or admires my photo journalism skills (or lack thereof) enough to take moments of their day to look at my blog. I created this project to help me stay in the moment of my three wild ones, to maintain a presence in their little worlds that I can sometimes over look and, if I'm being honest, squash.
Here I am two weeks in, a couple days behind in editing, realizing that I've lost track of my mission. I've heard myself say through my lens "Wait! Do that again, I missed it! One more time, just in case!" "Smile more in the next one!" "Lilly, stop looking so angry. I'm trying to document happy memories!" <-- Total mission failure there. Also, capturing a smiling preteen is next to impossible.
Behavior Patrol- within my own mission of mindfulness! And that's just a peek into of how bad it can be. I've gone an entire day with only communicating with my kids to correct their behavior. Days when the chore list is never ending, when I'm a one track mind of check lists- laundry, dishes, toilets, find the source of that awful smell in the car/fridge/August's bedroom/T.V. room, edit photos, meal plan, check in with friends, check in with family, laundry, make beds, organize art room AGAIN, laundry, grocery shop, laundry. It can seem never ending.
But then I come across something as simple as this meme and I realize, you know what is NOT never ending? Helping to shape these three incredible humans' hearts, their identity, their sense of self worth. These summer days of cuddling in our pajamas until lunch time, these days of Lilly coming to me for advice on boys, friends, eyeliner- her willingness to choose me to confide in- those days are numbered. These days of Grace testing out her jokes on me with no inhibitions and the highest level of confidence (she does the BEST Donald Trump impersonation, I'll try to get it on video for you) are numbered. These days of August not being able to start his day until he gets to cuddle me on the couch/bed/at the kitchen table, telling me how much he loves his mama and will never leave her- are numbered. <-- I will try not to remind him of that when he starts bringing girls home.
The days of looking across the kitchen table, making eye contact with my husband as we try not to laugh over the craziness that is our life- those days are numbered. There will be a day that comes when we don't have these dinners with absurd conversations full of potty talk, hysterical laughter coming from every chair. Dinners whose sharing of "Highs and Lows" will be void of our favorite three human's stories of triumph and heartache.
So for now, I am challenging myself to the "whole person" focus. I will remind myself to soak these days up- these kids up, like warm sunshine on my skin. I will work harder to savor their curious, independent, and sometimes precocious spirits instead of stifling them.
If you are like me and need a daily reminder, check out Positive Parenting on Facebook. Rebecca Eanes is a wonderful breath of fresh parenting air. In a time when Scary Mommy fills our feeds with sarcastic parenting drama (which is always hilarious and I could not live without), having a reminder of just how precious this time is, is a balancing necessity.
Until the next caffeine high,