Summer jobs, summer camp, summer vacations…ahhhh summer.
With seven people in our family, summer can be even busier than the rest of the year. Everyone has something to do and it never seems to be in the same place.
This week, I find myself in the unique situation of having only one child home with me. One is away at university taking second language courses, one is working full time for the summer, one has gone to camp to volunteer in the kitchen for two weeks, one has gone to camp as a camper and my husband is going on a golf trip with the fellas. That leaves me and the baby (she’s 9 1/2) home alone.
I love my children and as a homeschool mum, I spend a lot of time with them. It is not often, however, that we eek out very much one on one – let alone a week’s worth. At first, I was feeling overwhelmed. How were we going to fill all of the time? My health isn’t the best right now and knowing how quickly I tire I was worried that my little girl was going to feel bored and lonely.
Then I stopped and thought about what I just said…bored and lonely?
Bored is not a word that we have ever tolerated in our home. With so many of us, there is always something to do and I think that that is where I went off track. Instead of so many of us, we are down to two.
Giving our situation a bit more thought, I refocused and started thinking about how to make this one on one time special – not just for my daughter but for me and for us together. How could we spend this week so that I could still get my work done, she would feel cherished and we wouldn’t break the bank trying to do ‘things’?
The first step was to sit down together. I had some things in mind and I knew some of her favourite things to do when we went out on dates. I had a budget. Now, to create a schedule – together. As the baby, she is often overlooked in the decision making department. Often her role is to follow along and fit in with whatever the big kids have going on. This week is a gift to her and to me as we have the opportunity to get to know each other better and enjoy each other more than happens when the whole mob is here.
The phone rang while we were talking. It was Grandma. Would her precious granddaughter like to come for a sleepover? What a perfect topper for the week we have planned. At Grandma’s it is always one on one. She decided, as our family continued to grow, that she would do personal sleepovers so that everyone had some special time (and she wouldn’t be exhausted)! Special time with Grandma always includes a meal and activity of your choice. To provide insight into how much my children appreciate this, my oldest continued to ask for his turn until he left home. These are memory making moments.
So back to our week. Yesterday, I had errands to run. We had to take some paperwork to the local beach for an older sibling who is competing in a surf guard competition. Mission accomplished, we took off our shoes and played in the waves.
Next, we headed to a friend’s who was helping fix a camera lens for us. I got to visit, she played with the dogs and learned a little bit about grown up friendships. When I had fewer children, I took them everywhere. As they grew up and more came along, I often left them at home. This was a new life skill and we were hanging out together. Next, we headed to another home to drop off a tray of sweets before heading to church for the evening meeting.
By the time we were home and settled, she had made plans to play with a friend on Thursday and go and visit with a much younger girl one morning this week.
That plan we were working on? Now we’re down to only Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday so we decided that later today, we’re going to go to a ceramics shoppe to create something together. We get to pick out our pieces, paint them and then the shoppe will fire them and we will have a keepsake. Tomorrow, our treat is a trip to the movies. We’ll pop our own corn and take in the cheapy matinee. Wednesday is a trip to the local pool (I work there so it’s free). Thursday is with her friend and Friday with Grandma. Phew, what a week.
I didn’t want to get carried away with too much fun, and she is a struggling reader so we agreed that while mummy gets her work done in the morning, she would do some reading and practice her guitar. Now we have fun and focus. Our time is balanced and even though most of our activities are only a couple of hours, the focus of the week will be on us together. She’s even asked if she could have a sleepover with mummy one night while daddy is away. She’s pretty squiggly so she may be the only one sleeping but it will be a special night cuddling and talking and just being together.
What a wonderful gift. In the busyness of life, I’ve been given this one week to share with my little girl. This is a perfect reminder for me that these children will only be with me for such a short time. Being able to pour into them brings joy and the impact on our relationship will be beyond measure.
As you’re going through your summer, see if you can carve out some special one on one with your children. Even the teens appreciate this time. Mine were asking for their turns when they heard what we were doing this week. Being a mum is amazing. Being a busy mum is exhausting. Being an available mum is priceless.
Bless you mum and I hope you enjoy this adventure one day at a time.