It’s back to school and back to schedules, back to planned meals and back to looking at the calendar at least twice per day. Lily wants to nap when she gets home at 3:30pm, Michael wants to sleep in “at least until 7:35am”, Ella already has a sore throat and headache and Cory and I are exhausted by 8:30 (although, this isn’t entirely new). No one wants to wake up and get dressed immediately and everyone wants to have a movie night on a weekday. How quickly we go from carefree summer days to tightly scheduled weeks that force us to view life in large blocks of time rather than small, sacred mini moments.
This morning over breakfast we talked about some of these changes. How does it feel to have a happy teacher and familiar friends in the classroom? What is the feeling you get when you walk out onto a wide open playground? Is sitting down to a snack or a lunch with your friends something you would miss? How lucky are you to be dropped off and picked up from school by mom and/or dad? All of their responses were pretty expected and Michael even reminded Lily that his school is all day so she should stop complaining (mind you, she has never once complained about school yet this year-quite the opposite really). During this discussion, our old friend chipmunk perched himself on the rock outside our patio door. We have been tracking him all summer and, there for a while he was visiting quite regularly. Lily and Michael immediately left the conversation to sit by the door and observe. Before I could get annoyed and worry about how much time was left to eat breakfast, I joined them.
Flashback to yesterday when I walked into a quiet house and knew I had at least two hours and forty-five minutes of silence. I surveyed my tidy kitchen, the pillows in their proper places on the sofa, shoes in the baskets where they belong. On a rough day for me, these things matter. I care deeply if the floor is vacuumed and the toilet bowls are brushed. I hate dishes in the sink or an overfilled can of garbage. I invest so much energy in the outward appearance of my house that I almost always never stop to ask myself questions like I asked the kids this morning. What would we do without each other? When the day is said and done, what is the good stuff I want to remember about it? If given the choice, do I really choose dishes over a game of Sorry with my family? I use my “me time” to clean and organize, run errands no one else wants to, and prep for dinner. Today I think I will call a friend or read a book instead, try to store up some great moments, rather than chunks of time. Who knows, it may help to make all of us a little less moody.
*The family photo above was taken by my friend and local photographer, Amy Bartley. Her work reflects her lighthearted nature and we had a ton of fun working with her on this particular day. I like how this picture reflects how we are all capable of living in the moment.