Trusting Their Choices

I’ve been thinking about how I will allow my children to be more independent in their decision making. Since they were small, we have allowed quite a bit of freedom. Letting them jump in the puddles and then dealing with cold, wet feet has always been the best way for them to learn not to jump in puddles with tennis-shoes on. My sweet husband calls this method the “experiential” manner of parenting. I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing, but while he teases me with it from time to time, I think it is the best way to describe my overall philosophy for life. How will we learn if we do not experience?

Still, my ten-year-old is getting to a point in life where learning through doing can cost her more than just wet feet. I wonder how to provide all of the right activities for her to live her bigger-girl life without overly harsh consequences? Too much freedom given in the teen years can lead to all sorts of unchangeable life situations, choices that will need to be lived through for years to come, not just an afternoon. Yet I know that this child learns best by living, by putting her truest self out there and trying it out in the real world. I have no answers for these questions this morning, we will walk along this path together, hopefully the puddles won’t be too deep for awhile yet and we figure out the necessary boundaries as we go.

I also have been watching my littler kids, my husband and I give them a lot of space to learn by trying things out, but these two youngest kids are around a lot of other peoples parents, how do I let them think for themselves when so many other mommas don’t give their own kids the freedoms we allow? How do I respect other parents’ boundaries, while still letting my kids respect their own? I know that I need to be more vocal, explaining to my mom-friends the “why” behind the seemingly crazy things I “permit” my children to choose. I forget that our way is what has worked best for our family and, while I don’t need to force it on anyone else, I do need to respect it even in situations where other kids might not be allowed to do the things my kids choose to do.

If I don’t respect the guidelines that I show my kids one on one when we are in a group situation, it sends a mixed message and my kid may start to question her body or brain. That is something that will come back to bite me when we are climbing or on an unfamiliar trail and they suddenly question themselves in a moment of fear. I know that by letting them climb out as far as they feel safe, by letting them jump off the highest wall they are comfortable on, by simply allowing them to choose to wear a coat or not, they are learning that their choices matter. More than that they are learning that they have power over their own choice. They also see that they are capable, sometimes they fall, sometimes they flail, sometimes they come down a step first, but because we are there to bandage the scrapes and encourage the efforts, they trust themselves.

I suppose that is how I’m hoping to make it through the teen years with grace this time. We have allowed, permitted, encouraged even, this child to listen to her body. To trust her gut, to choose what is best for her through all of her “little” years. Unconsciously, by supporting her in these small things we have encouraged her to do the same with the big things to come. Hopefully she has failed enough and dealt with unpleasant consequences enough times to have those lessons to draw from as she matures. Ideally, she will have so much faith in her own body and brain that she will not fall to pressures or fail to be true to herself.

And so we continue. This day I will allow my eight-year-old to wear shorts…in January…in Minnesota…because that is his choice and he has yet to regret it, though I can’t look at him some days without shivering. I will watch my tiny stomp out into the snow wearing dress shoes and be there holding the boots I suggested before we left the house if she chooses to admit that snow is cold when it melts into your shoes! (I know that she will not admit that, she is as stubborn as I am and she will deal with wet feet for as long as she is able, but next time? She’ll choose the boots from the start because she’ll remember.) I will explain myself better to the other moms that we interact with so that I don’t have kids who second guess themselves.

This is not always easy. I often try very hard to explain my “why” to my kids when I want them to do one thing and they are certain that their own way is best. It is hard to remember that cold fingers will not kill an otherwise healthy child when my own life experiences tell me to put on mittens. It is difficult to stop and see their independence growing when the way they want to be independent causes me to need to plan ahead more. I mean, you really can’t let kids be free to explore their world without remembering to pack a spare pair of clothes and a towel or two. I’m banking on this being best though, that as they grow up they will know themselves and have a wealth of their own experiences to draw from. Not just scary words that grown ups threatened them with.

While my confidence often lags behind what I know to be true in this area, I have decided to commit to advocating for them more vocally. If your family plans to meet up with mine on one of these mild winter days please be prepared. I will not be telling my kids they can’t eat snow because they’ll get too cold, that they can’t take their coat…and hoodie…and snow-pants off (insert eye-roll here). Because I trust that when they are cold they will put them back on. I will continue to let my kids climb the trees, stand on the ledges, and jump from the rocks. Whether we are with friends or not. Because I really, really do want them to hear their own inner voice whisper and they won’t be able to do that if I’m constantly screaming at them to “not”.

Join me won’t you? It takes only a few steps. Choose a day and pack the car with all of the things you might need, take the extra time to do this. Then let your kid choose. Shorts in winter? Sure, if you want (you can pack pants). Take a few steps out onto the thin ice at the bend in the creek? Yes (you can explain currents and how far is safe, you can have spare boots and socks in the backpack). Climb on the frozen, metal playground equipment? Yep. (Maybe put dry mittens on first though?) Life should be experienced friends, even at four-years-old.

Where We Are Falling Short

Posting something today that I wrote out in March of this year. I was angry over a life taken. It didn’t make sense to me then and it does not now. I want to do more, I want to serve those in this dark place. I want to help. I wonder what I can do. I wonder how I can give more than I currently give. I wonder how I can reach my hand out to friends, neighbors, when my own family needs me so much. I cry out over my shortcomings and failings, and fears. I’m putting this out there today to let you know that I’m working on these answers, not that I’ve found them. I also need you to know that I write these things from the only place I can; from my mothering heart.

This one feels raw, emotional, maybe even angry… Read gently.

We are failing friends. If you’re like me you probably feel like you’re doing just all that you can and there is no more to pour out and there is no possible way that you can be expected to do more than this. But I say again; we are failing. We are failing our children, we are failing our communities and we are failing each other. We are not doing what mothers and wives and women should be doing. It’s okay if you disagree with me. I have a feeling a lot of people will.

I base this feeling of failure on current events, and so it is debatable to be sure. Where are the mothers when children begin to show dangerous tendencies? Where are the wives when men spiral into depression and despair? Where are the women who could be stepping into necessary roles as defenders, as counselors, as leaders? Modern women often claim they are just as strong as men, can do the same jobs, are even better at most things than men. So why aren’t we living it? Why do we collectively allow dangerous men to walk our streets? Why do we quiet our voice when something potentially scary happens to us personally? Why do we hide instead of stand up and speak out?

I do not agree with much of what happens in this world anymore, there is so little good left. I feel the brokenness deep in my soul and more than any of the other contributing factors I may discuss on this platform I believe the brokenness of man (read humankind) is why I personally struggle with anxiety, loneliness, sadness…more.

Do you know your neighbors? Do you know the moms in the pick-up line at school? Do you know the people in your church at all? If you feel like you do know these people, I’d ask, how often do you interact with them? Do you see them daily? Weekly? Occasionally? When you see them, do you work to build an actual relationship with them or are your interactions platonic at best and, more realistically; compulsory? Who is your community? How are you building them up?

I say again; We are not doing enough.

We are losing people, they are falling into the void, unseen by our eyes and untouched by our love.

We are failing.

Regardless of how or what you or I are doing I know that we could do more.

I know this because in community people grow and flourish, I’ve seen it in my own life, in the lives of my own children. I realize of course that I can not be all things to all people. I am not going to go out and get a degree as a psychologist, but does that mean I can’t talk with someone, really listen to what their heart is saying? Make a personal connection with them, let them know that I am here with them no matter what they go through. I may not be able to stop their pain, but I can sit with them in it. It also means that if I see the broken pieces of their soul and fear for them or their community I can reach out to someone who could help in the needed way. I can do this because I know my friend, I can keep them from falling through. I can also support others as they do this with the people in their circle. I can have a friend’s children over so they can support a sister. I can manage my household for much later into the evening without a break so my husband can assist a friend. I can do something as simple as bringing books along for drop off or pick up events so that my children are occupied while I lean in and listen to another.

Why do we bicker, why do we debate, why do we constantly question what is the right way to solve a problem when we should be quieting ourselves to hear the heart-cry of the person next to us? Why does everyone blame the political machine and then sit back in their comfy chair feeling justified in having criticized all that is wrong with the world, but having done no actual thing? I am so angered, so frustrated, so sick of all of this. I’ve asked these questions before, said that I need to do more, asked for suggestions on how I can act. I have not done enough. I am not doing enough. While no one in my immediate circle is currently falling through the cracks, do I even know how close they are? Do you?

Is anyone reaching out to you today? Do you see what they need and are you ignoring it because you have your own troubles, your own stress, your own mess? I can assure you that if we all did one thing for the person next to us that it would not only bless their heart but it would come back to us in some way. What’s the worst that could happen if we all stepped out and did something? Like it would be so bad if each of us did one good thing for one person today? Even if we don’t see the benefit or if the good doesn’t bounce back to us, can’t being a blessing to someone else be enough? Can’t touching someone elses soul on a personal level be seen as the exact right thing in this moment? Can’t we see that we must do this?! We must, people are falling-right now-we are losing them, we have to do better as a group of women, as a group of people.

This is one of those posts with more questions than answers, more words spoken in passion than could really be expected to find resolution. The cry of my soul is to catch my people, to let them know that we are better together, not without their difficulty or struggle. That while I don’t have all of the answers I can hear you, I can stand by you, I can help you to find what it is that you need. So I will say it again;

In the darkest struggles of our souls, in the deepest dark that we sink into, each one of us is needed. We are loved. We are cared for. I say “we”, not “you”. I have been there, I can be there for you now because someone has been there for me. Though I fail at this often and I fail at it with the ones I most deeply love, I circle back to this knowledge that I do have more to give, I can give better. Sometimes this means a physical task, other days it means listening, hearing without needing to repair what is broken. It may mean admitting that I can not help, but supporting and suggesting ways to find peace.

I ask yet again; What can each of us do this day, to really let someone know that they have value? If you find some answers, would you let me know?

 

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A Deeper Sense of Community

I write about community quite often. About how children can not thrive without a group of supportive people, how each of us needs a tribe to call our own. Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed how much the women in my own circle have grown closer. I feel like I am a little on the outside because we are off adventuring so much, and while this makes me a teensy bit sad, I can still feel the shift and it brings me so much joy. Some of us need it more than we would even care to admit.

I have frequently felt like the group of women that I’ve come to call mine through homeschooling is special, we are not a bunch of moms who get together regularly so that our kids have normal-ish friendships and educational opportunities. Well, we are that. More than that though the women I homeschool with are friends, helpers, sisters…some of them are like silly aunties to my kids. Others are trusted adults who can be relied upon in difficult circumstances. To me though, the women in this group are simply what keep me going on days when it’s hard to do so.

Over the few years that I’ve known them, these friends of mine have gone through a lot. There has been so much life lived and when one (or more) of these women has struggled, I’ve seen them lifted up again and again. As a group we have cleaned each others houses, we have sat with tears, we have pulled weeds, we have welcomed babies, we have brought meals and watched each others kids. Most of the time these things have been done without anyone asking, for some reason I am surrounded by this group of women who simply want to do life together. They are such an answer to prayer.

Recently I was feeling like I couldn’t do this thing-that-needed-doing in my life. In the past I would have talked to God, talked to my husband, probably not have done the thing. This time though, I did something else. I still brought it to God first. My husband and I did talk it over and he encouraged me to move forward, I was still afraid. I was afraid of angry words coming back to me, of a harshly worded “no”. So, I reached out to my circle. I told a few friends what I needed to do and what my fear was and they all spoke words of support and encouragement to me. I did the thing-that-needed-doing and the answer that I received was not nearly as scary as I had anticipated it being. There is still a road to walk there, but my point is that I would not have confidently taken that first step if not for these wonderful friends.

In reaching out a couple of other things happened too, other needs were exposed. Other hurts touched on. Conversations were had that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have happened. In other circles of women we worry. We worry about being judged. We worry that we are not enough and that we are too much and that we can never, ever, in a million years live up to the invisible standard of the group. I am blessed by the opposite of that. I’m not exactly sure how I came to know these moms, these teachers, these women, but I am oh-so-glad that I have them in my life.

I wonder how I will give this to my kids. I wonder if I even can give it to them. Will they hold tight to the friends that they have now? Growing together in their friendships as they grow in size. Will I instill in them a deep need to not do life alone, will they feel it in the very soul of themselves and seek out this same sort of circle as they move out into the world? I hope so. I want it for them, not only because I don’t want them to be lonely, but because life is so much better lived in this community! It is so freeing to know that I don’t have to keep all of the plates spinning, that I have friends who will come along and give one a spin if it starts to wobble. Better? When a plate falls they’ll be there to help me clean it up, help me to realize that I’m still me without that one. I want my littles to know this, now and as they interact more with the wider world.

This morning I went back and forth with a few friends, it’s funny how much we all struggle the same as mommas. Same frustrations over kids not listening and then our own yelling. Same doubt; whether over a mom we feel does this gig better than us or if our schooling choice is the right one. Same worry; sometimes our kids are hard to understand or we don’t feel like we’re good enough to parent them. This is normal, I have these conversations often. More than these though, in this circle of mine we go deep.

There have been conversations over death. Broken hearts and broken marriages. Sickness. Jobs lost and gained. Our inability to do this SAHM life for one more minute without a change….More even than this these women don’t just talk about these things together we have silently made the pact that we will walk these struggles together. We will be there when the times are good and when they really couldn’t get much worse.

I suppose all that I am really saying here is “Thank you.”.

And so I will take a moment and a paragraph of your time to thank the women who have accepted me in spite of all of my flaws.

Friends, this group is something I have prayed for since I was in my early twenties. I have wanted to have friends who felt like sisters since I moved away from my actual sisters. Thank you for welcoming me in and making me one of yours. Thank you for bringing out the best in me over and over again. Thank you for listening to my worry, for talking through schooling options and sensory concerns and hearing me when the anxiety has gotten the best of my heart. Thank you for opening up your homes and your hearts and for sharing your deepest, truest selves. I love you all and I am so thankful to have you to do this life with. Thank you for never letting me feel judged in any way. I was once afraid to share details of my previous life, I know now that there is very little I could do or say to cause you women to leave my side. You are a blessing to me, a gift, an anchor when the seas get high. Thank you seems not enough, but it is what I have, and so I will say it again, “Thank you”.

If you do not have a group of women who welcome you into safe, uplifting, life-giving relationships please let me know. I will pray with you over your circle, you are not meant to walk this life alone. If you’re in my circle and you don’t feel this way, please reach out. I want little more than for you to know the peace and joy that is this type of friendship.

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One Good Day

Today was a good day. It was actually one of an overwhelming many. This Summer has been blissful. We have gone places I haven’t been in twenty years (am I old enough to say that? What the hell happened?!). We have gone places I’ve never been. It has been a season of awesome and I am in love with it.

I know that I’ve been MIA lately. I haven’t really known what I want to share and what I want to let soak in deep. I deliberately haven’t kept my phone on this Summer because I wanted so badly to just “be” with my people in the moments. I’ve questioned that a few different times, but mostly I’ve really loved not worrying about catching the perfect shot and simply noticing the minuscule details instead. I’ve enjoyed not jumping on Facebook to share something with people who probably don’t care and also probably don’t need anything else to compare their own lives against.

The wandering has gotten deeper and slower and free-er (just go with it) I’d say. Today I took my littles to a state park that we hadn’t yet seen. We ran up and rolled down. We splashed and sloshed. We looked for the tiny things and we were repeatedly rewarded.

As I watched my three littles run on ahead of me I was struck by how much this is life. I walked, at different times today, holding the hand of each of these children. Each one walked beside me, held my attention and my gaze for a few moments at a time. All three though, took off boldly over rises, darted down steep hills, ran ahead on smooth, grassy paths.

That’s what we do as mommas, isn’t it? Hold their hands for just a little while…mine become more independent by the day. Then they run off, unafraid of the world, certain that they can take on anything that comes their way. Running back from time to time for a squeeze or to show off a treasure. Needing to be picked up once or twice as they stumble over roots and their own feet. Mostly just moving, climbing, leaning, looking ever forward.

I want this for them. As they grow and change I want them to deeply know that they’ve the ability to do all of the things. That I’ll be here when they mess up, with a tight hug but not with harsh judgement. To trust that I will still pick them up, brush off the dirt, dry their eyes and send them onward into the big world. Know that I will be genuinely excited over the things they bring back to me, the rocks, the sticks- that-become-wands will change I’m sure. Morph into complexities I can’t yet foretell. I will always want to see, always share the wonder.

They will do more than I can do in this life. They will do it better. This makes me cry a little to know that it’s true, but…to know that they’ll be their truest selves so much sooner than I was, to know that because of my own wildness they’ll be stronger, smarter, more real…well, it gives a Momma peace about her own small space to fill.

It helps me to stay quiet for now too. Storing up these treasures in my heart like Mary did (Luke 2:19). Today I am full of peace and I am so very grateful to be here.

Change of Pace

This afternoon, my sweet husband left with our little guy to enjoy an overnight at Bible camp. This makes me thrilled beyond belief because they don’t get much time alone together. The experience of sleep-away camp is one I want for my littles, but I worried about this kid. I didn’t want him to be frightened and end up hating camp completely because it is so far outside of his comfort zone. A night at camp with Dad there too seems like a perfect fit. I also secretly hope that the time spent in nature with a specific Bible focus, will help both my husband and my son reconnect with God.

I realize this is a tall order for twenty-four hours worth of time.

As I went about my afternoon I noticed that I was doing things differently. It took a little while to figure out exactly what was going on, but as I look back over the day now I see how many things I modified simply because I only had a tiny to look after. Isn’t that strange? Normally I mother from about 5:45 A.M. until roughly 9:00 P.M., sure there are a few opportunities for quiet or for rest in there, but mostly it’s keeping little people alive and helping them grow into good people all day long. Today when I put my girl down for her nap I rested my head next to hers for a full thirty minutes. Then I snuck out the bedroom door to finish a little gardening that I really couldn’t overlook any longer.

I watered. I picked beans. I watched the bees bumble about. I read my book on the deck in the sunshine. The biggest difference from my normal was the silence. I didn’t talk to anyone for her entire two hour nap. As a momma to talkative children this quiet is extremely rare, so rare in fact that I seek it out and ask for opportunities to steal it. More than just the quiet though I found myself unconcerned. Of course I always pray over the safety and well-being of my people, but today I did not need worry over what I would feed them for dinner. I didn’t care at all what time it was all afternoon; I simply had no schedule. When the teeny woke, we had a scoop of ice cream and played ponies for quite some time. She took her silly self into the pool and I watched her dunk herself under for the first time. We read thirty-seven stories and she fed the dog.

 

Our oldest child -who is really an adult- came home at some point late in the day and I directed him to the leftovers in the fridge. And you know what? He ate them. He didn’t die because I made him warm up his dinner, he didn’t even complain! Who knew!? After books we went back outside with a pb&j to share. My tiny girl and I walked barefoot around the yard stopping to pick, and eat, all of the berries we found. We admired my hard work in the garden as well as the echinacea which is taller than my toddler this year. This took the better part of an hour and when we went back up the steps to the house she told me she was ready for bedtime.

Those words are rarely spoken in honesty.

After I finally got her settled, because, really, this girl still wasn’t easy to get to sleep, I was thinking about the pace of my afternoon and how I know this is what I am continually striving for. Everything simply flowed together from one activity to the next.

Normal-Me was jealous of Today-Me.

As I was thinking over what was different, I stopped, I mean; glaringly obvious; I only had one child to manage and give snuggles to. There was no fighting or attention seeking because this girl got nearly all of me. I also had no other adults to consider in my timeline for the day, no husband, no grown kids (nearly). I didn’t worry about what time I should have the house basically put back together or what random things from my fridge I’d throw together to make dinner last minute after secretly hoping dinner would just appear on the stove at 6:30. I didn’t rush through bedtime stories for the teeny to get her to bed so that I could then read aloud to the littles and then put them to bed with the hope that my hard-working husband might still be awake so that we could have eight minutes of uninterrupted, adult conversation before bed.

What I’m saying here is that the pace was totally different.

I’d love to know if there is a way to live this…steadily?… when all of the people that I love are home and doing their lives all around me. What would have to change? I’ve tried to do the casual dinner in the Summer, last year that worked pretty well. This year with a college football player and a ten-year-old girl who eats like a college football player in the house I can’t just put out a veggie tray and a plate of meat and cheese and call it good. They need a lot more food than that. I’ve done the meal planning and it has worked really well for me for, like, eight years. Not so much this Summer. It’s not that I’ve fallen off the planning wagon so much as that I don’t want to make, or really even eat, any of the things that I normally make. New recipes have helped a little, but not enough to motivate me to cook when the weather is hot and the sun is shining.

I realize, of course, that in having a large family I will have to look at more than just dinner time if I want to change the pace of our days. I have kids who want to be very busy, as well as kids who would happily stay home most days. We won’t be able to balance that out, what we need to do is find balance within the flux, peace within the chaos…I think. I don’t quite know how I’m going to do that, but I think that I must try. In knowing that the solution of loading life into the RV and driving away is not imminently on the horizon, I must find a way of balancing myself inside of the busy, not losing my sh*t when I’m pulled in several different directions at one time. This is going to take some work.

There are activities that I have loved, that I am considering tabling for the upcoming season. There are new opportunities that encompass more of a family learning environment that I am thinking about adding in. I have other ideas as well, I may assign each of my kids a night to cook, or I may entrust more of the household tasks to them. Something I have realized through camping, is that my ten and seven-year-olds are begging for more independence and opportunities to earn trust, this desire for a smoother day may be just the push we need to make those leaps.

I’ve also been reading and learning more about the value of independent, unstructured, outdoor play for my children. I think that more fully understanding this piece of the puzzle will, eventually, unlock windows of time for each of us to do the things that cause us joy. For now I trust that we are heading down the right path with this idea, I’ve made only small changes and have noticed fewer meltdowns from my tiny. Realistically, if that were the only benefit, I’d still be all-in. Going outside more often and more consciously, has helped me remember that I really want to be outside, why am inside anyway? It’s Summer!

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Tomorrow will start early, and I fear it will be a full-of-emotion day. There will be more children, more activities, just more expected of and from me. I’m going to work on maintaining my natural rhythm though, not running ahead, or dragging along. I’m going to be more present in the moments that I am given to care for my family, and while that is an ofttimes exhausting place to be I really can trust that each moment can only hold so much. Letting go of some of the crazy is probably a good place to start.

 

 

 

 

Throwing Sand

So there’s this kid in the sandbox with my kids right now. He’s chucking sand all over the place. His mother has come by to yell at him several times, but he keeps on. I don’t really care. My kids have voices to tell the kid to stop if they don’t like it and feet to walk away if he won’t stop. Here’s what I’m wondering; why do we tell them to stop?

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There is always a parent telling a child “don’t throw sand!”, “don’t splash in the pool!”, “don’t climb up the slide!!”. Why? Why can’t they do those things? There are opportunities to teach respect here. If someone wants to come down the slide, make way for them. Wearing new tennies? Take them off before you stomp in the mud for heavens sake! Don’t throw sand at other people-especially if they ask you not to. It’s the unthought-out “don’t…” that gets me.

Do we even have a reason? It seems like some momma somewhere in 1972 uttered these statements and we’ve all latched on to them. How many of us actually care if our kids run up the slide? Who decided that slides were only for going down? Maybe they’re actually ramps for going up? Why do the parents get to say? Didn’t we all do these same things as kids?

Or at least, didn’t we want to?

I think I might go tell that kids mom that it’s okay. If my people take issue, they know how to handle it. Let’s just let the kids be already.

I wonder how many unnecessary boundaries we’re building for these kids. I wonder how all of our “no’s” and “don’t do that’s” negatively affect these kids. By telling them no all of the time are we teaching them that they can’t do things? Or that they can’t do things by themselves? By limiting a slides purpose are we narrowing their creative minds? I catch myself a lot. I use “does that feel safe to you?” now, instead of a frantically shouted, “don’t climb so high!!”

We were walking together the other evening and my husband told our kids to stay out of the muddy puddles. I giggled to myself because I’d been thinking so much about the “NO!”. I could understand that he didn’t want them to get muddy because we’re living in our camper and it’s new and he doesn’t want it to be destroyed. To be fair, these are realistic concerns, my littles and I wreck stuff, we just do. It’s in our nature it would seem. Through our experiences and our play and our learning; things just break. His concern over muddy feet is justified.

I mentioned that we have a hose and can rinse the people before we let them in. While he may have still felt that they should stay out of the mud, he did relax about it and was playing along with them.

At the lake with friends recently, someone threw a handful of soppy-wet sand at my teeny. She didn’t like it at all. I almost told the kid to stop throwing sand, but I caught myself. Instead I asked if she was okay and helped her tell the boy that she didn’t want sand thrown at her. Then the two of them sat and tossed handfuls of sand into the water for several minutes laughing happily together. She might have missed out on the fun if I had simply yelled at the boy.

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I am working on giving these kids more independence, more freedom. It’s one of my biggest learning goals for them this Summer. I want them to trust that they can do stuff-hard stuff. Biking without training wheels, talking with the lady at the counter to check out the paddle-boats without mom, telling that kid that you were next…by doing these things that end in fun I can see that they are learning to trust their abilities. They are learning that they really are able.

With luck, and some effort, these people will go into their Autumn activities a bit more confident. They will trust that they can do some of the more difficult math problems, spell longer words, read thicker books! Because they take these months to practice out there in real life-without me constantly telling them “NO!!”-I think they’ll have bigger successes.

I ended up not talking to that mom, she walked away though. She went over to make some lunch and our kids played together for half of an hour or more. No one got sand in their eyes, no one cried. After a little while they took their bodies over to the monkey bars and worked together to get across. It was hard, they had to use team-work, and be patient. It was fun and they were learning, and we didn’t even break anything!

 

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Little Adventures

Some days you’re living the dream. Other days are less so. I’d be hard pressed to put a label on today. Five days in to our Alexandria, MN trip and we are starting to figure some things out. For example we actually did school the last two days, and it went pretty well. Sleeping is wonky, but then, it’s that at home too.

After school, the littles and I loaded up and went into Alexandria. We were planning on finding a swimming beach-I was sure we had passed one yesterday-and having a picnic. We never found the beach, but did have a great time while we were out.

We found a quiet county park for our picnic…

….and stumbled across these gorgeous Greater-Yellow Lady-Slippers near Brophy Lake.

We came home and I thought we’d be able to swim in the pool at least, but the dog wouldn’t stop barking and the rules of the pool were inflexible. My tiny was tired and cranky, stretching her meltdowns to surpass her personal best.

My littles really are amazing, they rolled with the inconveniences as best they could and still managed a pretty full and fun afternoon. My teeny though, she’s spent. This week has been a lot too much for her I think. I know she’ll fall into a routine, I just wish it would happen soon. As I was typing this, she crawled into my lap, pulled her favorite blanket across us and promptly fell asleep.

It’s a pretty cozy spot, so I’m not complaining. Sure, I wish it would have happened three hours earlier, but I’m really working on rolling with whatever comes.

I did have a lot of complaints from today, I listed them all off and sent them over to my sweet, hard-working husband. I know that when I do that he feels stuck, unable to help because he’s not here. Sometimes I just need to spill it all out, I wish I had another way to deal with it. I wish there was some way for me to move past the frustration without venting it to him. A lot of the time I just need someone else to hear me, to know that I’m here, that I’m struggling. Usually that’s enough.

Tomorrow is a new day. We are thinking of heading all the way back to a friends house for a day of playing outside. That will definitely help my momma sanity. We’ll also be able to drop our doggy off at home to relax in her crate. I could use a little time to not have her leash in hand, time to let my littles run wild with friends, time to talk with my own friends. It’s always good to do something familiar when you’re feeling stretched thin. I’m looking forward to some normal activity.

Sitting in my camper with my Bible, my journal, my cuppa; these things comfort me and give me a little bit of peace in our new environment. Hopefully I’ll be able to hold on to these things tomorrow and the day after that, because part of this path I’m on is supposed to be a greater sense of quiet. Right now I’m in that place, snuggled in close with this teeny girl. I’ll not rush myself along to the next thing, rather I’ll sit with her under a blankie, listening to her breathe softly. Seeing the quiet that was carved out just for me.

 

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