What are your plans for the weekend?
As I dined over lunch with a few of my co-workers, we talked movies and food and delight in two days off.
I work with a diverse group of individuals all enjoying varying life stages. A few people are single, another divorced and sharing custody of his daughter, and a few more who are married with kids.
I am the only one with three (call me crazy!), and my eldest child is about three years older than the rest of the kids discussed among the parents.
While I am past the days of diapers and potty-training and toddler tantrums, my evenings are spent picking kids up from soccer fields, overseeing homework and trying to stay atop mounds of paperwork and loads of stinky laundry. The weekends are for catch-up and tackling the big school projects. Just yesterday there was book report to finish, an oral report to practice, a poster to create and a science fair project to begin. In between, there was cleaning and grocery shopping and new shoes to buy for the youngest.
As I rattled off my task list, I could see my childless co-workers silently give thanks for birth control.
Do you ever have downtime?
I laughed. No, not really.
And that is generally the truth.
Long ago, my husband and I had our lazy weekends. We could sleep in, head to the gym, watch a late movie, go to restaurants of our choosing, read a book without interruption …
Now our quiet time is usually before 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Date nights are few and far between. Weekends are for the kids, for family.
I sometimes miss my moments to be selfish and do whatever I want. I yearn for another hour of sleep. I wish for the freedom to be unstructured and abandon the task list.
I wouldn’t trade my jam-packed, kid-filled, catch-up weekends for anything.
Because what I don’t share enough is all that I get with the demands and chaos and responsibility of being a parent.
I get hugs and kisses every morning and night.
I get to see three unique, growing children blossom and learn.
I get to laugh a lot … at their discussions and jokes and discoveries in how they see the world. From learning to tie a shoelace to making a basket to being amazed by nature’s creatures – big and small.
I get to view the world through their eyes and hear about how they want to make it better, to make it more fun, to make it kinder.
I get to color and build with Legos and read stories about princesses.
I get to watch them learn – and I in turn learn again – everything from silly details about history to how to do math equations to putting together 3D projects of the Nile River.
I get to break up fights (not so fun), but then see how my kids rally and appreciate one another.
I get to listen to my boys after I shut their door for the night and chatter on about Star Wars or sports or Santa.
I get to imagine who they will become, wondering how their special gifts will be used in this world and who will appreciate what they have to offer.
No, my weekends are no longer restful, but they fill me up in different ways. I probably can’t articulate what makes my weekends special because they are filled with ordinary moments. But add up all of my ordinary moments and I know I’ve been blessed.
What did I do this weekend? I spent it with my family, and for those moments, I am forever grateful.