It was a weekend of first time experiences for our fam:) I bought Gabe a family size tent a few years ago and we finally got the chance to break it in over Labor Day weekend. We met my sister Tricia and her family in the Smoky Mountains for two nights of fending for ourselves;) [Read more...]
This is the first summer in years that I felt that time stood still for a little while. I pushed pause in July on work related things to simply BE. To think about the day only as they came. To have time to spend quiet moments on the back patio with Gabe smoking an occasional cigar, and talking about our family’s future. Time to engage in long conversations with Veronica interpreting her numerous drawings, reading books and dozing off to sleep with Max, and building master forts with Gabriel. This summer and I had something good going, and it has made it a little harder to come to terms with it coming to a close.
When I was a girl summers lasted forever… chasing “lightening bugs” at dusk, staying up late giggling with my sisters, running through the paths our dad would mow in the yard for us, climbing trees and eating watermelon in my grandparents backyard…I would do almost anything for just one more of those days, but for the first time in many years, I had a taste of it again.
Now I have three little ones of my own and they are in the middle of the golden years. Gabriel is an inquisitive, compassionate, and imaginative 5 year old willing to rise to any challenge you propose. Veronica is a strong willed, musically inclined, sensitive 3 year old always looking for an angle. Max is a curious, stubborn, and cuddly little 1 year old ready to conquer the world one sofa at a time.
As any mother knows, you would give up everything for them at a moments time. And as they grow you have to slowly let go as they enter their little feet into the world. Today was Gabriel’s first day of Kindergarten. He will be gone all day every day of the week. I am not going to pretend I am not super attached to my children. There were many tears mixed with proud moments as I scrubbed his shoes, prepped his backpack, and laid out his uniform. It is hard to let go. It is hard to trust them into someone’s care. Today, as I saw his little smiling face look back one more time in the classroom, I felt a wave of gratitude for good teachers. They help us mothers loosen our grip a little and have the courage and confidence that they are ready:)
And so our summer comes to a close. We are adjusting our sails as every new season seems to demand, but when you allow the adjusting to take place, there is peace. And peace leaves room for gratitude, which is the royal chair for happiness it seems:)
“You cannot direct the wind, but you can always adjust your sail.” – Ash Sweeney
When you first starting dating and enter your first year of marriage, there is a “fire” and excitement that is often called the Honeymoon Phase. I can honestly say that Anna and I, thanks be to God, have not lost this excitement after 6 years. It has changed and matured, as all things should overtime, and as such that fire has grown, not diminished. I think this is due to a commitment to seek the happiness of the other person before yourself. I believe that this is best made apparent to her through consistent and small ways throughout the week. So, here are six practical things I try to do to let Anna know I love her…
1. Give one honest random compliment daily.
This does not mean things such as “thank you for this great dinner” or “you are very beautiful.” Although these are very important, a compliment such as “I love how your hair curls in the summer” or “That top looks great on you” or even as silly as “Have I ever told you how cute your ears are?” Show her that you are being attentive and notice and appreciate subtle nuances about her.
2. Regularly set a good drink in front of her. (wink wink)
This could be a cocktail she really likes, or in Anna’s case a fresh cup of coffee or homemade glass of fresh lemonade. (Or as of late, a homemade microwave s’more works well also.) The key is that the drink is something that you put effort into just for her enjoyment.
3. Clean the kitchen and high traffic areas, especially if she is out of the house.
I have noticed that Anna truly appreciates this, especially on days where the kids where, lets say “overly energetic”. I want her to know that I appreciate her efforts and that I am her support and partner in the challenges of life.
4. If you have children, or if she has had a long day, give her some quiet time to decompress.
Take the kids to the park, or take the dog on a walk when you get home from work so she has some quite time, even if you have had a hard day. An act of loving self sacrifice rarely returns void. This would also be a great time to provide that drink mentioned above.
5. Frame your words carefully when in a discussion.
Few things can cut deeper, than ill placed reactionary words. We try to avoid criticizing each other and using words like “always” and “never” because they can make the other feel less of themselves and immediately bring out defenses. The habit of discussion over accusation ensures the other person you still care deeply for them and want to talk through an issue.
6. Just grab her and dance, just for a moment.
Whether there is music or not, it tells her that she is desired and still pursued. Or course, a little pinch on the rear never hurts either.