My claim to fame for the day is I took G., L., and H. grocery shopping today and lived to tell about it. Not only that, but it was a pleasant trip. Actually far more pleasant than my usual shopping trips where my goal is to get in and out as fast as possible. And it really wasn't that much slower to have the girls in tow.
Part of the success of the shopping trip was that I decided ahead of time, since I needed to take all three, that I would make the best of it and just not worry about how long it was taking. (And I needed to take all three because J. has a paper to write today and everyone else was gone. B. was in M.'s directing final at school and the others had gone downtown to Moody where P20's theater group was having an acting workshop. There was no way J. would get any writing done if I left him with the three youngest girls.) So off we went. There was only a minor scene before leaving when I told L. that she had to take the Superman costume off. I've relaxed quite a bit in my parenting career, but not completely. I did let her wear the cowboy boots.
These three girls are particularly nice to take places because they are generally happy and interested in everything around them. They think the grocery store if fun, and seen through their eyes, maybe it is. Isn't this one of the great gifts of children? That they remind us to look at the things around us with new eyes. That is if we can get out of our 'do things as fast as possible' mode long enough to do so.
Since Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year, it makes more sense to me to make resolutions now, for Advent. And this is mine... to slow down and actually enjoy my children. Their presence, their laughter, their joy, their delight. And there is a lot of delight at this time of year. If you are feeling a bit tired or humdrum about the approaching birth of the Messiah, this could be your antidote. Become like a little child and see the world and the celebrations through their eyes.
It is so easy to get caught up in needless busyness, to fall into the trap of feeling as though everything needs to be done as fast as possible. And why? Why do we rush around? (And I'm as guilty of rushing around as anyone.) I suspect that we are trying to just do too much. Trying to squeeze three months' worth of tasks and projects and events into one.
You know, it's OK to not to do things; it's OK not to do everything. And not just during the Advent season, but during the entire year. It's OK not to sign your child up for every class and activity and sport available. Really. You're won't ruin them. In fact, giving them more margin in their (and consequently your) life is a very healthy thing. It's OK not to fill every minute of your day with busyness. It's OK just to sit and enjoy a quiet moment or two or three.
Rushing serves no good purpose. It saps our joy in what we are currently doing because we are worrying so much about getting to the next activity. And by filling our schedules so full, we are often unable to take advantage of things that we would enjoy doing... if only we had time. And rushing is a particularly poor way to build relationships. People and relationships are particularly time consuming. If we aren't willing to slow down, we risk missing out on what makes our lives have meaning: loving other people.
So, join me in slowing down and remember that people (and especially our children) come first. Before everything else. Those things can wait. That job can wait. That class can wait. Your children cannot.
I know it's Saturday, but wanted to share a bit of good news. Kramer and Garnet have been relisted on Reece's Rainbow! People can again donate towards their adoption expenses and make it that much more likely that these dear children will find a family.