Lately it feels like all our days are busy. Between homeschooling, the kids’ sports and activities, and the demands of my husband’s new job it feels like our family is being stretched to our limits. I can’t remember the last time we had a day–much less a weekend–to relax and catch our breath. Our days “off” have been spent organizing the garage, hanging curtains, and trying to make this house finally feel like home. Even the few “lazy” days we’ve allowed ourselves either began or ended with me catching up on housework, lesson planning, meal planning, or washing & sorting laundry so my husband can begin packing for his next trip.
Today was no exception. Last night the kids informed me that they noticed the container of homemade whipped cream in the refrigerator and it needed to be put on top of pancakes and covered with fresh strawberries, bananas, & maple syrup. So, with a karate tournament, a flag football game, and piles of laundry on the agenda, I got busy making pancakes at 6am. By 8:10 everyone’s bellies were full, water bottles & snacks were packed, & we were headed out the door. And so it had begun….another busy Saturday.
As we were driving to the tournament I was thinking about how much I detest busyness. I was longing for the way we used to spend the weekends camping, making s’mores, and playing corn hole. I was pondering how nothing good ever seems to come of this crazy over-scheduled lifestyle and wishing that we hadn’t signed up for all of this.
Little did I know that within just a few hours I would be singing a completely different song because in the midst of my self-pity party I had forgotten one very tiny detail: the excitement of my children. Jimmy had strutted out the door that morning with a backpack containing his football jersey, gloves, & cleats. He had his ear buds in his ears and was listening to his music; getting “pumped up” for the game. The minute we got to the tournament, Nate & Sophie rushed off to find a spot to practice. And when their names were called, the two children that stepped onto those mats to compete had transformed before my very eyes. Two months ago, when they started taking karate, they were awkward, uncertain, sloppy kids whose eyes would dart back & forth across the dojo, attempting to copy the other kids’ movements trying desperately to get it right. But today, the two kids who stood before me were completely confident. They were precise, focused, and had an intensity in their eyes that I hadn’t seen before. When it was all said and done, in the back of my van sat 2 kids with 2 medals around each of their necks and perma-smiles tattooed on their faces.
By the time we were driving home, I had come to the conclusion that busyness isn’t always bad. We all need to fill our time with the things that feed our souls. For some it may be playing an instrument, getting in a killer workout, reading a book, or writing a blog. For my kids today it was having the opportunity to compete–to try their hardest and have their efforts be recognized and rewarded. Sometimes we need to rush from place to place so we can practice our skills, meet deadlines, and fulfill obligations. And sometimes we need to slow down, sit quietly, and inhale the smell of campfire.
Even though I prefer the campfire seasons, I’m grateful for this season of busyness and for all the ways it challenges our entire family to do and be our best for ourselves and for each other. I’m grateful that we all pull together to encourage, help, and support one another. And I love that we can celebrate accomplishments–both big and small–along the way.