How do you do it? A question I hear a lot!

a schedule to keepI often get asked, “How do you do everything you do?”

Truthfully there are times that I don’t even know how I do it.

I try as hard as I can to get everything done for everyone, and often I fall a little short. For the most part, things go smoothly, but then a business trip for my husband, or a track meet for the boys throws a monkey wrench into the mix.
Here is how I (mostly) keep it all together:

  1. a morning coffeeCoffee – I suffer from migraines. I have tried many different remedies over the years, and the easiest and most tried and true for me is two cups of caffeine in the morning. This plus a protein filled breakfast like eggs with veggies and cheese or (on a day where we are running out the door) a protein shake made with almond milk and  peanut butter. A good start to my day is imperative to everything working together.
  2. a calendar lookCalendars – Steve and I have calendars that connect to each other. My school schedule, the boys piano lessons, track practices and meets doctors appointments, even what day our dog gets her heart worm medication is all on the calendar. Without the calendar, we  would be lost. I used to use a paper calendar, but sharing that was next to impossible, and we were missing appointments. Once we shared a Google calendar it helped us to be on the same page with our commitments. Steve is the king of inserting into a calendar, and I let him because, well, I loathe it!
  3. Communication – Plain and simple. We do not schedule ANYTHING without checking with each other. we schedule our nights with friends and dates in advance. We have to because our commitments are many right now.
  4. Ignoring spam emails – I have over 2000 unread emails, 99% of them are from a store/stores I have shopped in at some point in time. I just do not take the time to delete them. so they go unread. It kills my organized everything has to be done side, but it has taught me to be okay with not getting everything done.
  5. Choosing to help the boys with their work before mine – My children need their mother. When I am home, their homework comes before mine. Even if I have a final exam to finish, they come first. I have spent hours working on a writing project with one boy and then stayed up way late writing my own paper. I have to put them first because they need me.
  6. Staying up late/waking up early – I stay up some nights until 1 or 2 in the morning to write a paper, read a text book, or plan a lesson. I also have woken up with my husband at 4 AM and while he heads to the Gym (crazy, right?) I will write a blog post or a paper, or plan a lesson for the next week. Sleep is something that alludes me, however, I get plenty of it during vacations, summer, and Saturdays (sometimes).
  7. a school scheduleChoosing a school schedule that does not interfere with the boys schedule– This is super hard. I try to pick a schedule that has me away from home for just one whole night, or online classes where I can work from home, or before I was teaching during the day. As I near the end of this degree, I am having to take classes three days a week away from home, and one of those days is Saturday from 9AM-2PM and it is a biology lab. I wish I hadn’t saved that till the end! My second degree will take place online 100% and will be one class at a time for 5 weeks at a time. so much more manageable. I start that in August.
  8. Spending one afternoon a week at school to write lesson plans (so I don’t bring them home) – This is huge. I spend usually Thursday afternoon at school cleaning up my classroom materials, planning stories and crafts, and organizing my collected work from my students. This has been instrumental in my teaching being a non-stress in my life. I enjoy teaching, and this method of planning has been key to a successful year so far! I often am willing to pay for resources from Teachers Pay Teachers to reduce my stress in planning. very helpful to not reinvent the wheel.
  9. Spending as much available time with my boys – When I do have time at home with them, I enjoy playing a video game, a board game, building Lego sets with them, and even a game of Minecraft on our tablets together. I try to meet them where they are, and spend as much time as possible building positive memories. we even enjoy 30 minute reading breaks together when things are getting crazy!
  10. Planning ahead – but not over-committing – We plan our family and friend events in advance, so they are set in the calendar, but we do not over-commit. we try to be fair and have time with everyone, however lately, we have focused on our nuclear family more. The boys were needing some family of 5 time, and that was important to recognize. We also keep family events low key by making them: potluck, board games, casual, and come and go as you can. With so many family members in our extended family, it can be hard to fit everyone’s schedule.  The boys commitments are minimal as well. They all take piano lessons, and run on the race team for our local youth sports league. These are manageable, and Steve is a runner (more than me) and I can read music and play piano, so I can help with those practice sessions. Simple is the key to not over-committing.
  11. a me time collageMaking time for me – This is crucial. With teaching, and being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, and a coach, I need to be sure I do things for me. It is always hard to take the time as I feel selfish saying, “I need some time for me.” It is necessary however to do so. How do I enjoy spending my “Me” time? I love to read and even enjoy an audiobook when my time to hold a book is limited, I used to run more but now I have a trainer so I go for a workout and sometimes a run, I love to play board/card games and these things are brain breaks for me but involve family, I like to color in my amazing coloring books I got from my best friend, I like to get a Starbucks and walk around Target looking for nothing,  I love to bake for others as we do not eat a lot of sweets here, and I love to watch a movie. I also spend time with my friends. I truthfully have one amazing friend who has been key to me staying on course. I go to her house and stay until midnight, she comes to mine and stays until late. she is the inspiration and support for me growing my blog, and really finding myself in it. Time for me often includes time with her as she is my best friend, and I need her around to keep me sane, knock me off of my pedestal, and to need me in return. being needed is a wonderful feeling, and I am glad that I have a friend who I can lean on.
  12. a moment aloneMy husbandSteve is a rock. He manages the calendar, takes the boys to the doctors, the dentist, pays the bills, grocery shops, does laundry, and cleans the house. He has picked up all of the things that I dropped. He also works full time. All the time. He is always answering an email, preparing a quote for a customer, or handling a situation with a tech or engineer. He has so much knowledge, and is so much more organized than I am, and I am fairly organized. He knows where I put my keys, where the boys need to be, and what I wore yesterday (when I can’t remember). He holds me when I cry over nothing in my closet looking right. He puts up with my clothes all over the bedroom because putting away my laundry is something I haven’t had time for. he laughs with me, makes my coffee, kisses my forehead while I am writing, and brings me snacks. He also entertains the boys, and for Christmas purchased every workout item I asked for without a blink, even though he had already purchased me the iPad I had been begging for (mine was obsolete and dying, and I was being a brat, I know this). He has been the stand holding me up while I have been barely standing up. The stress of my studies this semester was the worst, and he guided me through it with patience, understanding, and love. I am not worthy, but I openly accept it!
  13. a boy thingMy boys – My children are old enough to do a lot of things for themselves. They do laundry, load and unload the dishwasher, feed and walk the dog, sweep floors, clean mirrors and windows, make breakfast for themselves/each other, prep most of their lunches, and read, do homework and practice piano without question. They realize that mom is in school and busy, but that I love them more than anything. They know I love early morning snuggles, tickle fights, a good session of Minecraft and talking about Star Wars or Legos or both! I pray they understand that me completing my degree is as much for them as it is for me, and I hope they see my studying as a model for the hard work it takes to get good grades and work for what you want out of your education.
  14. My family – My mother and father have been supportive of me going back to school as a mom. They have helped with the boys when Steve has a business trip, read papers for errors, and been council on what my next step should be. my brother and sister have hardly seen me as I have not been around a lot with school and the boys, and they are able to communicate with me and let me know that they get it. my nieces and nephew I don’t get to spend as much time with as I like, but when I do, they are my priority, having fun, making memories. My mother and father in law have helped as well, taking turns with my parents in helping with the boys when school has kept me from being mom. It is actually amazing how a family can lean on each other and  support each other through something that should be simple. College as a mom in your 30’s is not easy, and you need a village. I have given up being the mom that can volunteer for  school events, or field trips. I have given up weeknight bible studies so I can be home or at class. I have stopped some of the things I love, but my family has supported me through it, and I love that!
  15. a end of day momentWine -I enjoy a glass (or 2) of red wine. It helps me unwind at the end of the day, reflect on all I have accomplished, and realize that I am an adult, “adulting” really hard, and I deserve a small break at the end of a long day.  I sometimes replace wine with tea, but I get the same effect.

 

 

 

The reality of it all is that I do not get everything done in a day. A lot of things fall between the cracks. A lot of things never happen. I forget birthdays are coming up, or a special show I was supposed to record, or a promise of a book read at night that I don’t make it home in time for. I cry a lot about that, but I cannot let it hold me back. No one can do it all. and if they tell you they can they are lying to your face. It is not easy, It sucks most days, but at the end of the day, you do the best you can, ask for forgiveness/acceptance/love, and you move forward, it is all you can do!

How do you make your busy schedule work? Do you have any tips for others about how to make a busy schedule less busy? do you need support through something? leave a comment let me know, and maybe someone else can offer support!

Blessings for a happy 2016!

Love

Melendy

The Graduation Situation

graduation ornamentYou may have noticed that there are very often several days or weeks between my posts recently.

I am sorry for that , but I have to be honest with you.

I have been having an affair on my blog.

With my studies. (insert horrible fake laughter here)

All kidding aside, this semester was the hardest semester for me yet. I am at the local community (or Junior) college completing my associates in Special Education and a certificate in Early Childhood. This means that next year I will move on to big kid school and work towards obtaining my bachelors in Early Childhood Education.

This semester found me taking three very difficult courses that truly should be taken at separate times. There was a lot of writing, editing, planning, demonstrating, and reading that went into this semester. I believe that this is the first time that I have actually read whole text books for classes.

curriculum classEarly Childhood Curriculum – aka a crash course in what your classroom/daycare center should look like and be doing. This course gave me so much insight on how to make my classroom a better place for my students and how to teach to them in a way that was engaging.

literacy class

Emergent Literacy – aka how children learn to speak and read and how you can teach them. This class was one I was intimidated by. The other students had so much more knowledge than me. I had to really focus and work hard to succeed in this class.

parent relations classParent & Child Relations – aka a class about how parents and children interact – aka how you are messing up your children in one long book.  This class was hard. The professor was very into allowing us to learn our own way, but I am a “Give me a rubric so I know what you want from me!” type of student. There was a learning curve.

 

I managed to obtain an A in all three classes. All of this while being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a coach. I also am in four musical groups, and teaching preschool. It is full around here. Our boys are doing well in school. We have even had meetings with all the teachers about our boys various difficulties. We have spent time with each other. My students have fun and educational things to do every week. Track has been successful (thanks to many other coaches- we have a great team). I mostly had all of my music learned for our Christmas performances in early December. I made time to help my friend move out of state (don’t worry, I live in Rhode Island, out of state is 20 minutes away!). I have even maintained a level of fitness that is changing my whole lifestyle. But I have missed my blog. I have missed pouring my soul out into this writing thing I do for you.

More importantly, I do not do this alone.

I find it hard sometimes to balance the school work for me, the school work for my students, the school work for my children, and the day to day tasks that need to be accomplished. I am grateful to have a husband who has stepped up to the plate. He does homework with the boys, the grocery shopping, the meal planning even, so that I can work, and study. He never once complains, and even goes as far as to being sure I am happy and have everything I need to do my work.  He is at his computer until late in the night being sure his work duties are accomplished, and has had to put time with friends on the back burner because my night classes interfere with his time to be with them. He has dedicated the last few years to being super dad while I am being a student.

I often remind him that he was lucky, he did college right out of high school, and moved right into a career. Not everyone finds their passion that early. My passion for educating children came later, and here I am trying to make everything work for  the good of our family. That reminder is a reminder to me. I need to work hard for this because I cannot afford to miss this opportunity this time.

graduation is almost hereI am doing this for me, but also for them. On May 20, 2016 I will graduate from Community college, a graduation that has been in the making since I started college the first time in 1998, and I will finally complete. Let’s hope the next degree does not take as long!

 

What are you doing for you? What did you start and never finish that you wish you could? What are you waiting for?

being a grown up

relax finish1

Sometimes when I am feeling stressed, I need to unwind.

Today I woke up feeling overwhelmed with the day ahead, so I grabbed the coloring books my bestie gave me for Christmas and started coloring. It gave me a feeling of calm, and allowed me to focus only on the task at hand.

 

How are you taking the time to relax during these crazy holiday hours?

 

when the moment to pause arrives

peace in the momentI stopped in to Target last Thursday to grab nylons for a dinner on Friday.

I of course grabbed a few other things, and I headed to the line to check out. There was a shorter line with a man as a cashier, and a longer line with a woman. I stopped and waited in the longer line. There were two women in front of me with overflowing carriages, and me with 6 items. As I stepped up, the woman in front of me was unloading her carriage, but offered to let me step in front of her.

It was sweet.

I declined.

Strange as it is, I enjoy waiting. It teaches me patience and gives me a moment to just be.

She almost insisted, and I again declined. We had a brief conversation about life (as you do in line at Target) and I expected her to turn away and put her things on the belt.

She did,for a moment. Then, like we were long lost college roommates, we kept talking. Other people came to the line. Calls for more cashiers rang out.  A few offered to help me. I declined, and asked the person behind me to go ahead.

People think I am strange when I do this.

My comment was, ” Thank you, but she and I have a relationship now.  I can’t abandon her!” Laughter from the cashier now too.

She was in our tribe now.

The conversation continued

Life

Husbands

children

work

saying “Yes” to too many things this time of year

How next year we will RSVP “NO” to everything we are invited to.

How I always forget to use Cartwheel

How she is worried about getting everything in with a sleeping family at home

How she has 1% left on her phone

We cheered as the cashier completed the order before her phone died so she could get her Cartwheel points, and then, she packed up.

I said happy Holidays

And she was gone

Two lives

Never before met

Never to meet again

But for a moment

Two moms at Target had a moment to laugh, and relate, and realize we all do this. not a one of us stands alone in this motherhood game. working, stay at home, separated, divorced. we all are moms, and we all will be at the store at 10:45 to get whatever is needed because well, that is what moms do. Our lives were parallel. In that moment we realized: We are not alone.

It was 10:45 at night, and truthfully, I felt bad she was going home to a house of sleeping family. Lugging the carriage full of gifts and necessities into the house alone. I wished I could help, but that was not the plan.

I am most grateful for this moment of laughter with a stranger in the checkout line because it reminded me to pause, be still, and listen!

Too often in life we are in a hurry. We want the fastest check out. The least distraction from our day. The easiest path. But how often do we miss the moments to laugh with the PERSON in front of us in line because we both are buying control top pantyhose or push up bras? How often do we miss the chance to lament our children’s wants, that they list as needs? How often do we make the cashier feel rushed to finish our shopping, forgetting that that same cashier will do their shopping from what is left over because it is so hard to shop when you work retail?

In this season of hustle and bustle it is all too easy to rush. To make haste. To be aggravated with humanity instead of enthralled with the season of wonder and love.

merry christmas to me

What moments have you had this holiday season that have reminded you to pause?

Something Isn’t Right

Anxiety.

It boils over in a moment. It happens when you least expect it. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to the hospital with an anxiety attack. I manage my anxiety with planning. I probably should manage my anxiety with medication. but I just am not there.

Change.

Change is the catalyst for an attack. A new schedule, a new teacher, a detour on the road. All of these can lead to anxiety. How do you manage? How do you crawl  out of the hole that you dig for yourself when you see the change coming? For me, I meet change with more change. New clothes, shoes, bags. I drive the detour long after the road is repaired. I spend a Sunday cleaning bedrooms and downloading college syllabi because I know I cant avoid the change.

My son, he doesn’t know that the anger that boils out of him during a time of change is anxiety. He doesn’t know that mama prepping him with what is going to happen weeks before is mama’s way of avoiding the boiling over. He doesn’t know that mama understands the boil over  way too well. She feels it every time an outfit doesn’t fit. She feels it every time she cannot find her car keys in her purse. She feels it every time the tag on her dress scratches her neck. She knows the boil over all too well. She wishes he didn’t have to.

He doesn’t know that tonight I told his teacher that change in routine makes him anxious. He doesn’t know that mama spends her days putting out fires before they are set so that he doesn’t get set off. If only he could.

Someday he will know. Someday I will teach him to manage change. How it makes him feel. How it makes his blood boil over. How he needs to control that feeling. but for now, I try to prevent that feeling for him.

Change is scary no matter who you are. anxiety, or not. Change in and of itself is the root of the anxiety and anger I feel on an almost daily basis.

Many around you may be suffering with anxiety. Help them. Be consistent, be considerate, be present. For me, knowing that when I finally work through my boiling over my family is there for me makes the boiling over easier to deal with.

The Human Touch.

  

We all have had moments where we just aren’t ourselves.

Hungry

Angry

Hurt

Depressed

Lonely
All of these moments are lows. We long to be “high” all the time. Not in the medicinal way, but in the emotional way. We search for things to fill those lows.
  We use food as an antidepressant more often than for nourishment. It has become acceptable to say “I am so sad that I am going to go home and eat that tub of ice cream/whole bag of chips.” We rely on that non human object to smooth our despair.

  
We run. Many runners will say running is a great way to relieve stress. I like to get out on the road, but I do not necessarily feel less stressed when I do. It is nice, but it just doesn’t change my attitude. For some it makes them feel like they have run away from the world. For me, it makes me feel like the world is right on my heels.

  
We search the Internet for friends. We collect “likes” and “hashtags” and “loves” and “comments”. Dating isn’t even in person anymore. We look for love on our phone or our laptop. We sometimes value the thoughts of a person miles away on a keyboard over those of the person sitting across the dining room table from us. We long for contact, but it may not be what will help.

  
We get hurt. We get angry. We stop talking to our closest friends. Years go by. We let that anger steep inside of us like an old tea bag. Getting more bitter and cold the longer we steep. Friendships go sour over a wrong look, or a misinterpreted voice message. Or a person with postpartum depression and social anxiety not returning phone calls because it is just too painful.
  We even turn to things like alcohol and drugs to manage our pain. Drink until you fall asleep. Get as wild as possible at a party so that no one knows you are hurting. Complain about the cost of the alcohol in your hand. It is a choice you make.
In my opinion, there is something greater. The power of touch. The moment I fell in love with my husband was when he kissed my forehead as I was mourning a friend. In that moment, I felt like he was removing the pain from my body. When my anxieties are rising, a deep hug from my husband or one of my children helps to ease the rising feeing of stress. My own children melt into the arms of a hug when their day isn’t quite what they expected. A child who is sick wants to be laying on the couch with their head in moms lap.
  A high five is the ultimate expression of joy! When we have success we reach out for one, or a fist bump, or a celebratory hug. We seek out contact in celebration because we know that the two feelings go together. It is ingrained in us from birth. The crying child reaches for their mother because mother is the source of food, comfort, love. As the infant gets older, they reach for others, father, grandparents, friends, siblings. They discover quickly that reaching out, drawing another in, brings comfort.
Humans need each other. Families need to hug, to high five, to love each other. I have observed lately that when we stop and just comfort, the anxieties of our day relax, and our heads are clear.
The human touch can do so much. And yes it can do harm, but I want to focus on the positive effects it can have on you as a person.
Reach out

Hug

High five

Lift up those around you who need to be loved. You never know how you might be helping them.

There is No Pause Button

palm trees just feel like home.
palm trees just feel like home.

We are egotistical creatures. We protect ourselves. Relationships with others can be hard and confusing.  I have always struggled with friendships. I worry if the person really likes me, or if they are playing a cruel game. I worry they laugh about me behind my back. Most of this stems from real life situations, childhood scars that I haven’t taken the time to open up and pour a healing balm of knowledge on. Some are just my own insecurities.  I find it hard to trust others. My relationship with my best friend, the only who knows everything, the one who supports everything, is not this way.

Our friendship has been fast growing, and a really important part of my healing. She believes in me. She pushed me to write, to grow my writing, and myself. She has pushed me through races telling me to “suck it up buttercup.” Those words were true, and are today. I may have taken a pause for vacation, but that does not mean that the rest of the world did. That would be my ego, thinking that I was responsible for the world.

The world did not pause. While we were away, something wonderful happened. My best friend, who lives a 5 minute walk away,  sold her house, and purchased a new one. I am beyond thrilled that she has found their forever home, and that it is almost a reality! This new house is much further away, and not one I can walk to. It is a short drive away though. I am glad she will be close enough for a visit, and I know her friendship isn’t going anywhere.

on the other side of these flowers was the shell of a baby sea turtle who did not make the journey to the sea.
on the other side of these flowers was the shell of a baby sea turtle who did not make the journey to the sea.

I am only sad because I wasn’t here. She has been preparing for this moment for over two years. A wonderful Realtor, a beautiful house, and fresh baked cookies at every open house. She has dreamed of their forever home for a long time. We have purged over online listings, driven past houses in the dark, and dreamed of what we would do to change our dream houses. This is the moment you look forward to. I wasn’t here.  I couldn’t go over with a bottle of wine and a packing tape gun and help her work. I couldn’t even answer my phone when she called to tell me the news. I was there on the beach…I wasn’t here with my friend.

In my mind, this was a turning point moment in our friendship. All of the old feelings came back. Is she mad? Was she hurt? How do I make up for being 1300 miles away when she had the happiest news of her life? (okay maybe 4th happiest with two children and a spouse!) Then she called. As we were heading home, she called. She wanted to know when I was coming back, and when we could see each other. I was relieved. I still have not seen her as our schedules are crazy right now, but, I know she wants me to be a part of her life.

So grateful for this lady in my life!
So grateful for this lady in my life!

When we work within relationships with other people, we have to remember that there are many points of view. If we always look from our own, we may miss a moment that is important to someone else. I was worried, she was elated to have made this step. I thought she would push me away because I wasn’t there. She drew me in. We cannot let our perspective cloud our ability to see the other side of the fence.

Back to Life

a part of my classroom
a part of my classroom
the essential teacher bag
the essential teacher bag

I am definitely still feeling the relaxation coming off of our vacation.  Today we were back to the real world. As a teacher my job doesn’t end when school ends, and it certainly does not begin when school begins. This summer, I have been working since May to prepare for this school year. I have been doing paperwork, cleaning toys, and many other tasks to be certain the school I work at has a smooth start to the year.  I also have been writing lesson plans, and preparing my classroom. I work with children ages 4 and 5. My classroom has to be fun and interesting. This is quite a challenge but I enjoy it!

i love my new school bag
i love my new school bag

I  am a full time student. I am preparing my text books, my notebooks, and my laptop to be ready for being a student again. I am almost finished with one degree, and then onto another. As A teacher, I know that my education is important. If I want to be an effective teacher, I need to be on top of the latest research. I also know the example I am setting for my own children.They see me reading my text books, writing papers, and finishing projects for my honors program.

just a small sample of the boys school supplies
just a small sample of the boys school supplies

I also am a mom to 3 wonderful boys. All three will be at the same school this year for the last time.  My oldest in 6th grade, my middle in 4th, and my youngest in 1st. Getting them ready for school was my first priority. I purchased school supplies and lunch boxes. We prepared them for the bus ride and our new routine. I also have prepared them for how busy mama will be. I think it is important for them to know that when they have my attention they have my attention.

seriously love this bag
seriously love this bag

In order for mama to stay organized in our busy schedule I need several bags. Sounds crazy, but I find having a bag for each event works best. I have a bag for teaching that holds markers, stickers, lesson plans, curriculum, and anything else I may need (water and lunch). I have a laptop bag for school for mama. This has my notebooks, a folder, my laptop, and a section for pencils, pens, highlighters, and my flash drive.  I also have a wonderfully large purse that goes with me to church or out with my husband. How do I keep it all together?  I have a few small zippered bags that hold all of the essentials. This way I can  just grab the small bags, change them to the other bag, and go!

the moving pieces
the moving pieces

I love that I can organize myself in a way that I always have what I need. Sometimes I have more than I need, and that works for me in situations like teaching or learning because I would never want to be unprepared for the opportunity to learn.  I am currently enjoying the last bits of summer I have with the boys before we all begin school again next week. I hope that I have prepared them for school in a way that will leave them having everything they need, and knowing that the woman that prepared it for them loves them more than they will ever know.

I find this to be very inspiring...
I find this to be very inspiring…

Being a mom

a wife

a student

and a teacher

means my heart and mind are always full

and I am pointed in a direction that means so much!

the pause button

the top is a hidden mickey in our resort, the bottom is water drops by the pool, it is not a hidden mickey.
the top is a hidden mickey in our resort, the bottom is water drops by the pool, it is not a hidden mickey.

Here in Disney there is a thing called Hidden Mickeys. This is a “secret” mission to find all of the Mickeys hidden around the theme parks and the resorts. These were purposely put in place by “imagineers” for guests to find.  The rules are very clear, it has to be intentional, it has to be hidden (not a Mickey face on your cupcake), and it has to be proportionate. Easy? No, not at all. Some can be. Some I know exist, and I have looked and looked for them and have never found it.

It takes patience to look. Stopping in one place for a few moments and searching. While searching it is nice to breathe in the atmosphere that was so carefully assembled for you.
Much like searching for those little gems, searching for peace in your family can take time, patience, and stepping back to breathe.

a snail and a very tiny lizard we saw on a walk at our resort
a snail and a very tiny lizard we saw on a walk at our resort

The boys have discovered many little creatures and a few big ones while here. From a tiny lizard to an alligator, we have seen a lot of things. We also have seen each other. I watched my oldest pick up my youngest so that he could return his towel. I watched my middle put his last three quarters into a video game for his brother, I have watched the youngest find independence in the pool.

all my boys gaming.
all my boys gaming.

I have enjoyed a trip where we did not have to be anywhere at any given time. I find that there are moments when I want to rush, I want them to just go, and I forget that they need to stop and pause and take it in.

As adults we rush. We have deadlines and responsibilities. We feel a sense of urgency about everything. Often we impose those senses of urgency on our children. Often I forget that there is no reason to rush when we are away from home. I want to pause. I want to stop and take a moment to see what they see.

watching the water raise and the sorcerer light up at mini golf
watching the water raise and the sorcerer light up at mini golf

In pausing, I am finding moments I never saw. The way they play, the way they fight, what they worry about, and what they need. I am seeing the communication breakdown between them, and I am able to step in and give advice when needed. I am able to lift them up when they are unsure. I am able to ask them to step back when they overstep (mostly the pre-teen). I am grateful for a pause in our lives to see these things.

All three boys sat on the sidewalk to watch the fireworks. I have never seen them just sit. It was also nice because my parents are here as well.
All three boys sat on the sidewalk to watch the fireworks. I have never seen them just sit. It was also nice because my parents are here as well.

I am also grateful for the ability to see these while in our favorite place. Today we leave this place and head to a resort on the ocean. A resort where our options are beach or pool. A resort where all we will do is pause, and I am so excited to stop, breathe in, and find the details.