when the sun stays up....

Friday, July 27, 2012

....so do the children.

It has become harder and harder to get the kids to bed this summer. It is always more difficult when it's still as bright as midday outside their windows. 

I have realized that part of the problem is scheduling. I love summer for just that reason though, lack of schedules. No where to be, nothing to do, but (for the most part) the things we choose to do. Our time is our own. We can fill our days with whatever we want. Adventure awaits! But a much later bedtime usually accompanies our summer days. It didn't make to much difference when the kids were little. Now that they are older, the later they stay up, the later they get up. And the cycle continues. I have a confession though - As much as I love my children I want them to be in bed and asleep by a certain hour of the night. I need to know that at some point in the evening my time will be my own. 

Drastic measures were required. I set the alarm for 6 am. And when it went off, even though every fibre of my being was telling me that I was crazy - the kids were still sleeping, so should I be - I got up and woke everyone else up as well. 

We have been spending our days outside, at beaches and parks in an effort to wear. them. out. So far it has been working.  

After all the bubble baths are had, teeth are brushed, stories are read and prayers said, we say goodnight.

I put on the kettle.....

and make myself a cup of tea.
side note: this is the yummiest, with a bit of milk and honey (or sugar if you please). 
Thank you my dear friend for introducing it to me. 
I can promise those of you who think herbal tea tastes like dirty water, this could not be more flavorful.

I pick up a book from my stack....
and drift off to sleep.

You see, there is a flaw in my plan. Not only has it worked for the children, but for myself as well. 
I barely get through a chapter before my eyelids feel heavy.
The next thing I know I hear the alarm signaling the start of a new day.

My time is not my own. As much as I may still think it is. Something happens when you have that sweet baby, you trade your life for a life that is shared, sacrificed, changed, not your own. It doesn't happen right away. Even though we may think that new baby is the center of our world with its cuteness, and sweetness, and nocturnal scheduling, it isn't until later, when they stumble into an age of becoming that the difference can be felt. When they are small, we fit them into our lives. They go where we go, they do what we do. They are our little sidekicks that we bring with us through our lives. 

Then one day you turn around and see that your baby girl has grown up, not full size yet, but approaching. She has ideas and visions and dreams that are completely her own. 
You will see the boy become a young man, who seeks for adventure and wants to do things and try things when his mama would rather he keep all his pieces and play with his trucks at her feet. But not really. 
For watching this metamorphosis is one on the wonders of being a parent. And I understand. My time is not my own, not completely. I have traded not only the corners of my heart as each child has entered our lives, but early betimes as well, and the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, for something much bigger. 

Even while I am out, even while I am pursuing my dreams and goals, even when I am simply taking a much needed mental health moment, I am ever aware, even subconsciously, that the clock is ticking, and little hearts are waiting for my return. I am the cheerleader, the personal assistant, to these individuals. I am here to help these children realize their dreams. The older they get the more I realize an exchange is happening. I am becoming the one who must fit into their lives, instead of them into mine.

 As I walk past that stack of books during the day and dream of my tea and quiet time, and long to immerse myself in both my bed and my books, I realize that I have others dreams as well - they belong to the imaginations of my children and have somehow become mine. 

You can schedule playdates, dinner, and bedtime. But there are some things you cannot schedule, and they are probably the moments of most importance. We must listen to our children, not only to what they are saying, but what they are needing. These things cannot be calendared. And if they are left to wait for us while we finish whatever it is that we are doing, they just may not be there when we are ready for them. We need to be ready when they are in need of us.

I live my life of course, but I work somewhat silently in the background of thiers. I am the voice of reason, and understanding. I am the listening ear that will never betray. I am the extender of comfort when spirits are sad. 
At the end of the day I flop into bed and my book falls all to quickly from my hands as I drift off to sleep. 
I am mom. My time is not my own. Morning comes quickly, and so does the growing up of children.

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