I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is homeschooling her kindergartener. She said it feels like this is a stolen year that so many people don't get. I loved the thought and can totally relate to the idea of stolen moments with our kids. Being a stay at home mom I have had and continue to have stolen moments with my girls. Despite a few evenings out with friends, a Bible study or two and a handful of retreats I have been here for every moment of my kids lives. I will always cherish that.
The question that I have though is, how do we continue to have those stolen moments when we send our kids off to school? What happens if you are a working mother? How can we ensure we still have moments that are special, unique, or should I say "stolen" in the midst of busy lives? I am far from an expert but I would like to suggest 3 ways that help me experience those special stolen moments.
1. Plan for them. There is nothing more special to my husband or my children than when I plan a special date, project or time with them. I love finding inspirational ideas for creative things to do with my kids from other parents, blogs I read and most importantly just watching my girls in action. I love seeing where their imaginations and passions are and then planing something to specifically match their interests. This is probably my favorite way to create memories and have special moments with my family whether as a whole or as individuals.
2. Make them part of your routine. I know it may seem ridiculous to say you can plan or make special moments happen, but in my experience, you can. One activity our family regularly participates in is what we call word box. Often times when we eat dinner together (yes, we eat together every night) the girls will request we play word box. I found these great conversation questions and we all go around and answer the question. I realize this may not sound much like a special moment but let me remind you , kids say some pretty funny things. I wish I could say I was really good about writing down, blogging or scrap booking their funny answers but I am not. I do like to think that the lasting effect of those moments is greater than my inability to document them! The key here is to evaluate the things you already do in life and see if you can't come up with a creative way to build in memories. If you are in the car together, eating dinner, bath time, homework, bed time, these are all great times to build in moments that draw you closer to each other and to God. We don't always have to look for ways to add to an already full schedule we can just capture the moments that are just part of the life you are already living.
3. Recognize and revel in them when they happen. One day last week Lydia was up and ready particularly early and we had an unexpected moment together as a family. Rather than our usual running around and trying to get out of the house on time we had a fun dancing time in the living room. I am sometimes uniquely aware of how quickly my girls are growing up and on this particular morning I was totally present and engaged. Justin was walking through the room with his ipad and was listening to something (as he often is) and I just started to dance with Lydia. Justin turned it up and began dancing too. Then Emma joined in and we had such a fun and refreshing time together. It only lasted about 5 minutes but they were a special and for me "stolen" few minutes. I can think of nothing greater than living with the ability to recognize, cease and revel in these unplanned times. I defintely lean heavier towards the first 2 ways but God often surprises me with the unexpected moments just to keep me humble and expectant.
Our families are worth fighting for. Our husbands and our children need to know how much we love them by showing them how we love them. I hope you find some ideas you can use in your own life to steal away some moments with your family in the upcoming week. Please feel free to share what works for you in your family and what some of your favorite moments are. Thanks for reading.