Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Break

Uh, we didn't cook this week!  I sat down to write this post and realized that a whole week passed and I only cooked a few meals, and my kids didn't cook at all.  It was Spring Break this week and while I had plenty of things planned for our time off from school, we mostly just took a break.  Aside from morning and bedtime routines, we completely parted from our normal daily activites.  Most time off from school is planned into a family vacation of sorts, but this time circumstances kept us home, and it has been a wonderful stay-cation.

Winter is fun, but it's a lot of work getting ready to go out and play.  Spring provides a mixture of summer and winter weather, and we got the summer end of the spectrum all week long.  What a relief for me and for my kids to be able to open the door and run free, in the backyard.  They did a lot of this and it was a real treat for me to get a little solitude without having to pay a babysitter.  For the first time in months all three of them played for hours without even a single call for mom.  One time they were so quiet I thought for sure someone opened the gate and they had all left, instead they were completely occupied collecting ants.  Their ant collecting continued for more than an hour.  In fact, their little home-made ant farms are still sitting on the table outside getting snowed on.  That's right, yesterday it was warm enough for shorts, and today it is snowing.  That's the great thing about spring here, and since they spent the whole week running around outside, they are now happy to re-explore the labrynth of our house. 

We also spent some time at nearby playgrounds getting reacquainted with old friends and getting to know new friends better.  Abby has finally learned how to swing by herself!  Yay!  Until about three weeks ago, I was quite certain she would make it to adulthood without ever having mastered this skill.  I am thrilled to be proved wrong.  Elijah has acquired some playground manners, which keeps me from having to apologize to every stranger and their kid within a fifty yard radius.  (Another thing I am thrilled about.)  In the days following 9-11 I was acutely aware of the lack of airplanes in the sky, and now Jonah has made me acutely aware of how many actually fly over our heads in an hour.  It's really pretty amazing.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much my children have grown up over the winter.  The last time we were at the playground I was pushing Abby on the swing while yelling at Eli to stop throwing rocks, and Jonah couldn't even talk!

Much of what I write is centered on appreciating my kids and noticing their greatness.  I'm aware that some of this may make me sound like a perfect Mary Poppins type mother.  This image couldn't be farther from the truth.  I lose my temper with them, a lot.  I miss some of the most amazing stuff they do and say because I'm scanning Facebook.  I've shushed them and turned my back on them because I'm on the phone and don't want to take the time to find out what they want or need.  I've been so frustrated with them I've actually locked myself in the bathroom.  So, I'm not perfect.  Raising kids is filled with tedium.  It's hard to push a 6 year old on a swing wondering if she will ever be able to do it on her own.  It's very difficult to be consistant with a three year old who pushes you to your patience limits daily and shows no signs of improvement.  It's not easy to be just as exhuberant about the 35th plane as you were about the first.  But the hardest thing of all is to see that your kids have grown and matured tremendously in a short period of time, only to wonder when and how it all happened.  It's impossible for me to be present for every miniscule second of my children's lives.  There are things I'm going to miss, no matter what.  I may have missed Abby learning how to swing, but it was because her dad taught her.  I'm pretty sure that Eli got his playground manners from preschool, and honestly, I'm just happy he learned them!  I was there when Jonah started to talk, and I remember it well.  I've watched his love of airplanes develop for nearly a year, so I'm prepared to get excited about every one that he points out.   Being present is hard, but finding out that you've been absent is harder.

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