My boys decided to go sledding last Saturday morning while I was unloading the dishwasher. As I looked outside and saw them sitting on the top of the sledding hill, the same hill that hasn’t been used in years because really, they’ve felt they are too old to sled, I felt a pang in my chest.
Trying to be present and find joy in the moment while watch your growing kids enjoy something they used to do can quickly be ripped away when you realize the rigmarole starts up again in a day or two. It enough to make you want to shut down your life, catch your breath, and wonder if you are even doing any of this right.
Should you really feel a sense of nostalgic longing every time you don’t have ten things on your plate at any given moment? Because that’s been the story of my life lately.
As I was watching them out the window clutching a pot in one hand and a ladle in the other, giving them a thumb up like I used to when they were young and zipped down that hill then looked up to the dining room French doors to see if I was watching, my daughter sat down on the sofa. She curled up under a blanket and had a plate of Christmas cookies for breakfast and I sat down and joined her.
The bubbling in my chest was replaced with a spark of happiness and I realized winter break was just around the corner and it would be the perfect time to keep the schedule free so we could all experience the rarity that was happening in my home at that moment.
While some parents have had enough of the teens while they are home; enough of the mess, enough of the back talk, enough toting them around from place to place hearing they are bored, lately all I want to do is stay in with my kiddos and slow down.
Believe me, I’ve been on the other side and have wanted nothing more than to kick my kids out the door and tell them to go air out their shorts. I can only see their heads bent towards their phones with food wrappers surrounding them for so long before I go to the very bad place and start lecturing them about what they are going to do with their life because this scene is unacceptable.
But this slow, lazy morning was the reason my boys decided to head outside in the first place. For once we had no place to be, nothing that was on our immediate to-do list, no one needed anything from us, and I didn’t ask them to do a thing. I just wanted to be.
The days of clearing our schedules are few and far between. Winter break allows to take a break, shut down for a bit and really regroup so we are ready to hit the New Year in a positive, healthy stare of mind.
More than that though, we need it because we are constantly rushing. Even we try not to rush and make more room in our lives to just chill for a bit, something always comes up to fill up the space anyway.
This year, I’m clearing the schedule even more than I normally do. I am not going to feel like I have to fill up the everyday with some activity to keep my teens from getting sloppy and lazy. I am going to let my kids (and myself) be as lazy and as sloppy as we want to be.
I hope more sledding down the hill they used to spend so much time on as kids happens. I am going to make extra cookies so there’s enough for breakfast (to eat under a blanket, of course).
I am all about settling into winter break and staying in our pajamas and having cereal for dinner and watching movie marathons because honestly, I am so exhausted and sick of catching a glimpse of my kids during the occasional downtime we have and wanting more of it yet never doing anything about it.
Instead of counting down the days until my kids go back to school like I used to when they were little and I felt they were taking every thread of my energy, I am going to savor winter vacation.
We all know the mom still reserves the right to kick out kids outside (no matter how old or big they are), and tell them to air out their shorts and I can totally do that if I see fit.