For the first time ever the two older ones are at home, but in and out and doing their own thing, stopping for the odd conversation, while the youngest two are both away on the same week.
I get home from work and there isn’t anyone apart from the dog and the guinea pig who are waiting for me, and even they aren’t that excited. The dog raises her eyebrows in acknowledgment of my arrival. I’ve started to have squeaky conversations with the guinea pig who I’ve tried to tempt out of her cage by laying a carrot outside the open door. She doesn’t go for it as I’m sure she thinks she is in mortal danger if she steps outside…and I’m too scared of small animals to pick the thing up. She has to wait longer for my husband to come home to get any cuddles.
It’s weird not having my youngest chattering away to me, and I miss her, but it’s a little treat to have some time. I went out for a date night – with my husband of course. I’m going out for a girls’ night. I’ve watched a movie I wouldn’t with her around (summer late nights mean any TV watching has to be PG, though she did watch Suffragette (PG-13) with me a few weeks ago and got really into it, properly outraged, asking ‘Why would anyone want to even talk to a man at that time? They were horrible!’ I think that has been the height of my educational input this summer).
I have two days in the week almost free of commitments. My first impulse is to drive somewhere and escape, somewhere near the ocean for a day, think, pray…and maybe write whilst I’m there. The second is to go and get pampered, get a massage, have my eyebrows shaped or something.
Neither of these has happened yet. My brief study of economics still rears its head evaluating the opportunity cost of everything I think of doing. I plucked my eyebrows myself to save the cash. The time I spend driving would be better spent writing. So instead I’ve been at home doing all the things – well, not all the things because I often get distracted. Sometimes the little jobs (like getting groceries, why do we have to eat?) take so much time I don’t get to the stuff I want to do.
Take a breath (just went and made some cookies). It’s quiet. No one is asking me to get something, where something is, what we are going to do now, can we go here or there, or saying, ‘I’m so bored.’
I’m so aware my role is changing with my children. Their lives are heading outwards more as each day goes by. Rightly so. I’m so grateful for having the family I do, every one. I try to be there when they want to talk and I want our home to be the place they feel most encouraged, comforted, loved and equipped to go out and live their lives. Sometimes I fail and feel I’m driving them away. Sometimes I want to drive away!
I’m trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing too, as they go. Should I bake more than I write? Write more than I bake? Just write? Sew, bake and write? If it’s possible, go back to studying so I can be more useful? Just find full-time work, and put all of that to one side? (That one makes me want to cry.) Ugh, my head gets in a spin when I start thinking about this.
My identity isn’t in any of those things though. I don’t have to do those things to have value, but I do want to use the time I have on this earth most effectively. There’s no time to waste so I’m trusting God who knows exactly what time I have to direct my steps and those of my family.
Sometimes it takes a little time out to stop panicking, stop trying to do everything, and realize that.