A Better Path

This is my favorite time of day. The sun is setting, and I love the light in the living room. Dinner is cleaned up, the kids are busy with bike riding, costume design, piano playing, and slime creation. I’m thinking a glass of wine for myself might top it off perfectly.

Some days my head spins with responsibilities…work, kids, homeschool, doctor’s appointments, driving lessons, groceries, errands…it never ends. Every mother knows what I am talking about – single or married, we carry so much weight. The expectations are crazy. But then, there are the quiet moments like tonight.

Moments when the sunset is noticed, and the sort of messy living room looks beautiful with the evening glow coming in. Moments when you feel happy that the kids are all being creative, and entertaining themselves. It’s funny how deadlines, appointments, and meal times can drive us to the brink with pressure. Then suddenly, those small moments make those pressures disappear. I think it is these moments that are actually our reality, but we often have it mixed around.

I am the queen of guilting myself over just about anything. I seem to think it is my job, and my job only, to make the world a happy, satisfied, well fed place for all. Therefore, these quiet moments alone on the couch need to be few and far between. I have to be working. All. The. Time. But what if I was told I had one week to live? Would I hurry up and make everyone’s favorite meal? No. I’d sit here on this couch with a glass of wine, and enjoy everyone’s company.

It is a shame that life usually has to throw us a curveball, for us to realize what is important. We know it; we just don’t act on it. The funny thing is, acting on what we know is more important, probably takes less effort than our ridiculous efforts to please everyone. Hopefully that is one good thing that will come out of our “lockdown” time…the realization of what really matters in life. Life has a way of removing things we thought we couldn’t live without, before showing us a better path.

This year as we “school at home,” the bulk of my children’s writing will be in the form of a daily journal. I believe writing can help us get to know ourselves, and of course instill a love for writing. My desire for them, is to be deep thinkers, empathetic, and to choose their paths with confidence, even when going against the grain. And yes, I believe writing daily is a good start in that direction.

Writing gets us thinking and changes our focus. Just like getting into a great book, as we begin to write, the distractions of the day diminish, and new thoughts about life start to stir. It’s a wonderful thing. For some of us it is an addiction. Could be worse things, I suppose.

I can’t wait for all of this lockdown stuff to pass…assuming it will some day. But honestly, I don’t want this slower, thought provoking phase to end. I hope we all hold onto it. I hope when the kids are grown, they look back on those journals, and after laughing about how mom made them write every day, they start reading what they wrote, and remembering the simple time of not going out too much, staying home, and just relaxing more. I hope the journals remind them of the many conversations we had about our world, and what was going on during that time.

They’ll also remember how stressed they felt at times. Our children have so much more knowledge than we did, when it comes to news and information. They worry. I don’t remember worrying about much when I was 17. With that worry comes responsibility. A responsibility to make a better world. This up and coming generation might really be something.

I see a strength and thoughtfulness in my teenagers, that I don’t think I really had at that age. What a wonderful opportunity we currently have as parents. Many kids are now back in school, but there is so much to talk about at dinner time. So many questions to ask about how they are doing through all of this craziness. Now is the time to nurture those thoughts and concerns the kids have about our world. Now is the time to encourage them to make a difference.

It’s a great time to be alive. The world is scarier than most of us have ever seen it, but passionate people are being created…including, and especially, our children. If we all take some things away from this time, I hope it is mostly a love for what truly matters in life, a smaller desire for unnecessary things, and a renewed strength to make a more beautiful, and gentle world, starting with our small circle…and a journal.