Lately I’ve been thinking about my younger days.
See that sweet face? (Yeah, BrightSide, too.) How innocent, how naive…ready to go along to get along, keep the peace, calm the waters no matter what.
Well, lately I’ve been thinking about what I’d tell that 20-something me.
Oh, the special joy of a winter storm. When a four inch layer falls overnight, covering your world with sleet and a bright fluffy snow that defies all logic for this area of North Carolina.
Children wake up bright eyed and fluffy tailed, ready to layer up and head out with sleds in hand. Despite the fact that it’s ten degrees outside. Regardless of their lack of proper snow boots (because, again, North Carolina). With barely a bite to eat they rush out the door, anxious to run madly through the snow.
And me? Well, I just try to keep up.
You will never guess where I am right this moment.
Well, at least eight of you will guess because you’re family and keep up with me in real time, but as for the rest of you? You will never guess where I am right this very moment.
In our nation’s capital. With Bear. And all the other fifth graders from her school.
That’s right! Less than two weeks after one of the country’s most contentious presidential elections…as protestors numbering in the thousands march the streets…while temperatures drop into the mid-forties for a high…we will be visiting Washington D.C.
Praise the Lord and pass the thermal underwear.
Watching them that day was like seeing unbridled joy collide with utter adoration. Love and delight shone all around them, brighter than the sun as a blast of energy exploded out of the water, spinning furiously through the air before crashing with a dazzling splash.
It was one of those moments forever frozen in time, precious for both T-man and Bear’s love for BrightSide and his limitless devotion to them.
Parenting is one long teaching gig. We’re tasked with raising up the little people until they’re self-sufficient human beings who will go forth and make a difference in the world. So it’s kind of a big deal.
Except the people can’t go forth and do that do-gooder thing until they’ve gained the necessary skills. Now at the risk of sounding immodest, I’ve always considered myself an intelligent woman as well as an adept teacher. It’s not that I didn’t think we’d hit a few snags here and there, but I have to say I’ve been surprised by some of the skills that have been challenging to teach.
So here’s the rub. I’m writing this at 11:30 Monday morning which means I technically haven’t seen the kids after they’ve completed day 1. Some might consider this an obstacle to writing about the beginning of a new school year, but not me. No sir. Full steam ahead, that’s what I say.
I hear tell there are moms who feel a little, well, down on the first day of school. Their house is too quiet, they miss their youngsters, the days seem to be slipping by far too quickly. Bee’s advice for me when our second kiddo went to kindergarten? Don’t go home. Plan an outing for the morning so I wouldn’t sit on my couch and drown in the absence of noise. Go get a coffee, go to brunch, go shopping with friends, but for the love of all things holy don’t go home.
What did I do? I went home.
This mama instinct is nothing to fool around with.
I mean, I’ve always had a protective impulse; kids and animals hold a special place in my heart, and I don’t remember a time when seeing them treated poorly didn’t push my buttons.
But none of that prepared me for the tsunami of emotions that rages through me when someone screws with my kids.
Road trips and long summer days and technology breaks and next to no schedule. Being bored is not the same thing as life being boring.
“We’ve had several ‘What’s next?’ days this summer. You know, as in ‘What will you do next to entertain me?’ And I’m sure we aren’t alone. In an effort to raise grateful kids this summer, we are embracing boredom.
And according to researchers and physicians, boredom is actually really good for them.”
Hey Kids: It’s Called Boredom And It’s Good For You – Kristen Welch