Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Busy Little Summer

Remember last summer? And, of course, I don't mean your last summer, I mean my last Summer. Remember how I was trying to be a good mom by planning at least one exciting fun thing a week? Well, this summer feels quite different. In fact, this Summer, fun simply won't leave well enough alone! It keeps zipping and dragging us along with out me ever having a moment to stop and think whether or not I have any interest in the fun at all. We have already hurdled right through the entire first third of summer, and the fun wasn't even supposed to begin til July!

At first I didn't realize this was going to happen, so I tried to take some initiative by carting my kids to the dinosaur park, etc. But then summer just grabbed hold of us and threw us into day trips to Bear Lake, and parades, and little carnivals, and fireworks, and little water pads with cousins, and swimming lessons, and friends.

Abe and Daisy also started on instruments this summer -- which is all they are doing (oh, plus scouts for Abe and Achievement Days for Daisy), but it is strange for me. I enjoy it on one level, and it worries me on another. I like being busy and I like seeing them involved in things, but I also miss a little our slow unfilled summers of yore. I know that probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I keep remembering when they were all small. Even when I had baby number four, Abe was just out of Kindergarten. They were involved in nothing particular. Summer days didn't really seem much different than any time of year -- it was warmer, there might be a few more fun activities with family, but it was still just me and my little ones filling our days with whatever suited our fancies. Now, it seems our days are beginning to fill of their own accord.

I do feel blessed to have my days busy and happy and full of good things, but then I get a little worried thinking how I only have two kids getting involved in outside things, and wondering how life will stay calm when I have five or more involved in things. And that is a funny strange thing in and of itself because I feel very strongly about not wanting our lives to get over scheduled and so full of "good" things that we aren't just here as a family much of the time. At the same time, there is a lot of pressure that comes as your kids get older to get them involved in things. Some of it is pressure. Some of it is a "keeping up with the Joneses" feel -- where you don't want your kids missing out on learning to sew and paint and sing and play sports and play an instrument; but a lot of it is legitimately wanting to offer your kids every good opportunity to develop talents and learn new skills and be involved in things that will increase their confidence and allow them to give joy to others.

I think I worry even more about this than some because I don't want the fact that we plan on having a large family to end up being a limiting factor for what my kids will be allowed to do, but, in truth, it will be. There is no way around it. Two kids can be involved in three different activities each and it would only be about the same amount of time spent away from home as my kids each having one activity. I don't know how to balance all of it -- to make sure they aren't shortchanged but not to lose the calm of a non hectic and not overly busy life. I don't want them to resent things or feel cheated. I don't want them to miss out on any fun thing. The Spirit then tries to whisper to me that these are the last days and that there are strong and amazing spirits waiting to come here -- needing good safe homes where they will learn about their Savior and what this life is all about -- and that really, that is more important than the fact that they might not feel as cool in high school if they didn't learn enough early on to be a stellar basketball or soccer player. Still, seeing the pace of life picking up and changing from the days of having only very little kids has me thinking and worrying about all of these things.

So, this summer really HAS been fun. In fact, it has been actually the perfect amount of busy things going on and down time to just be. I love having places to be and things we need to do, but it is also nice to have a some days totally free. Sometimes, admittedly that means kids begging to watch too much TV or getting into more fights than is good, but it also means me being able to organize them into doing some responsible chores, games of Uno and Connect Four, lots of reading, being free to go visit family or do some spur of the moment thing, and lots of creativity. The past two days alone, Goldie and Daisy (with absolutely no guidance or suggestion on my part) have made a doll house out of a box -- with cut windows and doors, painted gold and pink and orange walls, dolls and animals made from leaves, sticks and buttons, pictures hanging on the walls, furniture, etc. They have also made party hats, snowflakes, masks, glasses, calendars, paper plate spiders, flags, home-made shoes out of cardboard, and various other clever little items.

Now, I should sum this all up nicely with some thoughtful remarks, I think -- rather than end abruptly, but I've gotten out the thoughts I wanted and I have no real closing remarks other than adding that I do love my kids so much. I feel so grateful that I get to have them and raise them and be here with them and listening to them and the cool things they say no matter how much of a balancing and guessing act it may involve.


Tia Juana said...

Well. Here we are, you and I, both of us thinking and doing the same things but at completely opposite (well, not completely opposite but you know how it is) ends of the spectrum - me with the busy kids, you with the not so busy kids and yet our worries are so similar and our paths, even though different, are set on the same goals. As much as we worry and want to plan and say this is the way it will be and thats that and this is what is best of our family, the reality of the whole thing is that as each child comes along and matures, we will know, guided, as to what to do with them, and how much, to make them into the most wonderful them we are capable of making them. It will all work out, dear Nancy, and I am glad to see you are just having fun while it does! You are such a good mother and I hope I can be just like you when I grow up! (I just hope I grow up before all my kids do so they can benefit from my being like you.)

Perla said... sister nancy...are worrying about something? that is very, very curious to me. haha. just kidding. i really liked the post. so many of the thoughts i have. i know i probably have my kids in too many things sometimes. but i really do think that i could care less about what others are or aren't involved in. i just feel like i want my kids to have every opportunity to grow and thrive and excel and to find what it is they truly love (for example...addie does NOT really excel nor love sports...good to know...but grace has a natural affiinity for soccer and her mind really gets it and craves it...but its not the most important thing...) hmmm...anyway...
i just sold my double-jog stroller this morning. and then it made me almost start to cry because it means i don't really think i'll have another baby around while miles is still a baby...but if i'm wrong then i'll be happy and i'll buy another double if i need to. i'm wondering if my sarah is already born some place and i need to find maybe she's in another state or something crazy like just never know. sorry, your post just got me thinking about that.

Lara said...

Oh, I so related to your post Nancy. And I also agree with Shannon. Its always a balancing act. I'm in the phase of no more babies, my kids are curious and excited to try things, and yet I have to put it all in balance. 4 kids even with one activity each has me going different directions all the time. Which is one reason I put both my girls in dance. At least I could consolidate a bit. My kids sometimes say, why won't you let us do this, and that, and I have to just hope they still love me in the end. Having had parents that really supported me as I figured out my talents, I wanted to do the same. I do think those talents will figure themselves out whether or not we sign them up for one thing or many. You have a good heart and your mind is in the right place. I miss those quiet days but then when I think about it I'm still having a great time with my family.

marzee said...

You're such a good mom. You must be doing something right if they're entertaining themselves so well in such a creative and productive way. They're all kind, thoughtful, creative, and just GOOD. I know balancing is hard with good, gooder, and goodest pulling at you. And I'm sure it's even harder figuring out a way to provide those things when you have so many. However - I think of you and your large family - and am sure that your Mom had similar challenges. Somehow - she and your Dad managed to keep you all entertained and educated in a way that produced amazing kids. You're doing similarly - and like you said, it all seems to be falling into place on its own - like with your busy but happy summer. Why? I bet it's because you're doing the most important things that Heavenly Father wants you to. The rest just blessedly falls into place because of it. Good Job Nanc.

Krista said...

I think society puts a lot of pressure on us to be the perfect parent and give our kids opportunities. I think basketball, ballet, being a cheerleader and honor student doesn't give you extra points for getting into the Celestial Kingdom. Some people seem to think so (especially during "Good News Minute" in RS). I think the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure your kids know how much you love them and that you are there for them. Love has nothing to do with entertaining them 24/7.

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