Friday, March 22, 2013

Back-seat or back-yard?

As a mom, if you haven't found yourself filling the driver's seat of your van regularly as you transfer one kid or another to this or that...then count this gift as you thoroughly enjoy those days of choosing how your little one's spend their days, uninterrupted naps, eating snacks and meals at the table with you, and laying them down at night knowing you spent the best of their hours with them. That transition of having my children home every day with me and then moving towards a school schedule and slowly adding activities has been one that I have had to really walk gently into as I learn to let go, but not let our culture of "busyness" steal too much of my boy's childhood. Each year I really have to consider what we are going to participate in, how it will affect that person and ultimately the family, and what is a long term investment worth making now. It would be easy to get swept up in a sport for every season, an art class for every category, a music lesson for every instrument, a foreign language session from every country, a church activity from multiple resources, and anything that falls in between. All of these activities are wonderful, don't get me wrong. Simply great areas to plug a child into at one time or another if that is their given interest, talent, or strength. But too much of good things, can be a bad thing.

I have found myself driving down the road and as I look in the rear-view mirror I see three boys interacting. Sometimes they are laughing, sometimes they are arguing, sometimes they are eating, sometimes they are begging to stay home. And sometimes I wonder if all this running to and from is really worth it? We have stumbled upon some things that just are and have been worth it. And we have learned some things just are not. To live simply, which is one thing I want for this growing family...we say no a little more then we say yes. But our yes's are big and we make them count. Because as I look at my boy's from the driver's seat I hope they will come to learn that we each were made uniquely and we will spend some time devoted to encouraging that in each of us...but the relationship they are building right now, as young siblings, is not one I want solely created from the back-seat together. But more the back-yard kind of relationship I hope will carry them well into their old adult lives.

That back-yard relationship I hope my boys build on is one that is unstructured...loose and natural. It happens not in the back-seat of our van but out back in the yard and running through the house and down at the park and hiking through the woods and riding bikes around the block until sunset and sitting across from each other around the dinner table. Riding side by side in the back-seat will be a part of their days, but it won't over-take them. And this is a tough culture to make that happen. Some seasons I will just be in the driver's seat position as the siblings tag along... but most of my years as I play Mama to this crew I hope to make drivable from my own back porch and in my kitchen and on my living room floor just an arms lengths away from the sibling crew that I truly hope will grow up together and stay together, rather then grow away from each other.Back-seat brothers or back-yard brothers? I hope they too find the most enjoyable childhood side by side running through the grass and not side by side the back of our van.

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Jess!! This has been on my heart lately as the 'sign-ups' begin... wanting the kids to try things, but wanting them to foster friendships with each other and explore the world freely/unstructured. Thanks for sharing this!