autumn days

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Family Determination

When parenting with my partner, I had someone to back me up, to help me stay balanced, to make way for my alone time, to push me to be a better example for our children.  Now that I get to parent these beautiful children alone, I pull upon my own determination to push me to stay healthy for my children, to find ways to shower alone (instead of with all four of us), to creatively make time to be with other adults, to get my responsibilities completed while parenting, and to find personal balance while with children around the clock.  I am thankful my children are nine, six, and one year old.  My older two are somewhat independent and helpful with their younger sister.  Now we move as a team.

My partner used to plan wonderful vacations for our family, do much of the packing and shopping, and all the driving.  I prepared all details of food and children.  He brought luggage into the hotel room, I washed dishes unloaded food, he put clothes and books into their places.  We managed these trips together.  Yesterday my children and I left home to a yet-unexplored-place to find adventure on our own, as a family of four once again.  We have never taken a trip or even an overnighter without their daddy.  For this journey, my two older children made piles of their clothes and supplies with the help of a list.  I checked and packed the piles.  It took me two days to pack everything.  I stayed up until 3:00am the night before our departure to pack everything, in part because of our wonderfully full social time.  Each older child packed snacks and entertainment to share with their little sister.  They worked as a team to meet each other's needs so I got to focus mainly on driving.  Upon arrival, we worked together to unload and unpack.  Yes, they've been rewarded for their vast efforts and good attitudes with Cheetos, screen time, and a very grateful mama.  My children have more responsibility than most children their age in our culture.  I trust these new skills and determination will help them to care for themselves and others for the rest of their lives. 

Every time I mow our lawn (with a baby on my back or entertained nearby by older siblings), I feel such gratitude for my father making me mow the lawn as a child.  I say out loud each time, "Thank you, Dad, for making me mow the lawn."  He now laughs when I tell him this, but I know this is one of many ways he was teaching me I could manage simple-yet-overwhelming tasks on my own.  I am so thankful for being responsible for household tasks at an early age that benefitted my family.  I mowed the lawn so my dad had time to repair and maintain our household while my mom tackled laundry and shopping.  My family worked hard to support each other.  It was not fun.  It was hard work.  Lucky me, now I get to carry that determination and ability to work hard with me.  I get to share it with my children.  They get to see now that their hard work and cooperation make it possible for our family to take trips.  It wouldn't happen otherwise.  I am so grateful for my children accepting the responsibility in these challenges and their determination to support each other.  What a gift.

Working and playing together

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