Quiet and a Cup of Tea

(bits of summer so far)
While John and the kids went to his parents' house for lunch, I headed to Panera last week to work.  But as I sat there and it slowly got more and more crowded with after-church lunch-goers and friends meeting for coffee, the noise level just kept rising and I realized that I just wanted to be at home, sitting at the dining room table and working with a cup of tea and a quiet house.

I did the same today as I headed to a coffee shop to work while the kids were with cousins and grandparents, only to sit there in the cold air conditioning thinking about how I'd rather just be at home with the windows open and the breeze blowing on a less-than-80-degrees August day.

I stood in my bedroom window one weekend morning recently after we all slowly got out of bed and looked out in the backyard. There was my 4-year-old trying to ride a tricycle on the grass, laughing at himself.  Trying not to tip over, he finally gave up and abandoned the tricycle and took off running to come back inside to try to convince his sister to play with him.  She was in her room, writing with chalk on their chalkboard as I had suggested after a lot of dramatic pleading that the ONLY thing she wanted to do was watch a show on the ipad or play a game on my iphone.  Which was the red flag for me that it was exactly what she DIDN'T need to do. Other options I suggest: Us making a list of things to do when she felt this way, drawing, painting, coloring, reading a book, playing a game, chalk on the sidewalk, helping Daddy clean out the car, cleaning her bedroom...when I finally got far enough down the list to the suggestion of cleaning her room and she realized it was a possible that I'd make her do it, she realized she better choose something, so she chose chalk inside on their chalkboard.

As I stood there watching her draw and listening to how it all moved around me, I thought of this article I read recently on Sweet Spots in parenting.  This summer has been challenging, but most of all it's been a reminder of how the kids are growing and becoming more of themselves and our needs are shifting less from immediate baby physical needs into more emotional needs.  It's crazy to me as I sit at a park and let me kids run that it was only 2 or 3 summers ago that I cringed and hoped that my all-too-confident little boy wouldn't crashed and break a bone.  But he hasn't. (Yet.)  His abilities have always been clear to him and so have hers.  And now we've seemingly overnight reached the part of life where they're still little enough to need us and want to snuggle, but big enough that I can mostly sit and have a cup of coffee and chat with a friend while the kids run free.  This year she'll be at school all day and he'll be at school 3 days a week.  That feels really good and it's definitely a Sweet Spot.  

p.s. I just finished Darrah Parker's LensMama e-course and a few of these are from that.  It was so simple and SO GOOD and exactly what I needed.  If you have a chance in the future to join, I highly highly recommend - her writing alone is worth the soul-soothing goodness:) 

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