If there’s one thing I didn’t anticipate about parenting, it is all the decisions that need to be made.
I didn’t foresee how difficult it would be to choose which activities to involve my children in, how much to push them, how to maintain a balanced life for each of them individually and somehow find a balanced lifestyle for the family as a whole.
This week would be the week of decisions.
It doesn’t help that most of the year is decided in May, when you’re most exhausted and least able to really perceive how things will work out.
Gymnastics. Soccer. Piano lessons.
Scouts. Church activities. Swimming lessons.
What about time with friends? Time to ride your bike? Time to read a book?
What about time to work around the house? Homework? Time to go on an outing with Dad?
What about time for good, old-fashioned childhood?
You want them to develop their talents, to give them opportunities to stretch and find new strength deep inside them. But you don’t want it to come with a price tag that ends up being too high. You don’t want to burn them out or have them gone so much that you lose your opportunities to just be a family.
I have an old friend whose least favorite words are “missed opportunity”. She makes many decisions with the assistance of these words. As a mother, though, I’ve learned that every thing we choose to do means there are many other things we’re choosing NOT to do. It’s important to grab opportunities when they come, but if we grab too many of them, we miss the opportunity to live a balanced life, or we miss the opportunity to gather at the kitchen table for family dinner (the studies regarding the importance of family dinner are amazing!). So I guess my own question isn’t so much about whether this choice will turn out to be a missed opportunity as much as whether it is the RIGHT opportunity at the RIGHT time. And you hope so much it will be a positive experience.
This is what you want to see.
My husband took this picture on his phone at my daughter’s last gymnastics meet of the season.
She looks so happy, and so at home. My eyes tear up a little because I’m so grateful it turned out to be such a great experience for her.
You hope your decisions feed them, make them happy in the true sense of the word. You hope they will feel a sense of accomplishment because they’ve invested so much.
So with a deep breath and a prayer in my heart, we push forward with our choices for next year.
And oh, how I hope it will all work out! Through the grace of God, I know it can.