Halloween is almost here and we have been transforming our yard into a spider infested cemetery. Just enough creeps with a touch of humor from our new Skeleton man ‘Bones’. My son insists that we need more. More decorations, more haunts, more amazing and fun things to add to our yard. I’m not surprised with his ‘over the top’ personality and I have told him repeatedly that I am done with the decorating because I am out of money.
Jonah gets great pleasure in transforming a house or a yard into a themed wonderland. I love that about him. He fully involves himself in what he’s interested in and does not stop until he feels it’s complete. He adds that little kid flair to the holidays that make them so much more special and I know that he is storing many, many memories into his brain to pull out for later enjoyment.
There is a sign that we pass going into Medford that gets changed out monthly with sayings that are put up there to make you think. At the end of summer the sign read something like, ‘don’t be sad that it’s over. Enjoy that you lived it.’ That just happened to pop up between our summer vacation to Sunriver and just before our camping trip to Lassen National Park. Both trips were ones that the whole family anticipated for months. Both are over now. But seeing this quote helped. It helped me put my experiences into perspective.
I have been thinking a lot about perspective lately. Because it is my perspective that drives how I deal with any sort of situation.
Lately I have been thinking about my perspective on time. Present time and how quickly it seems to go, past time and how it’s gone in a poof and future time and how I want to drag my feet and hold it off for just a little longer.
As I said, Halloween is almost here. But wasn’t it just the beginning of summer? Wasn’t it just marble season and the science fair and my baby girl was home with me bored as a rock watching t.v. all day? And we all know what Halloween means. It is the start of the holiday season. The start of counting down the shopping days until Christmas. For us, it is the start of party planning for a December and January birthday (what were we thinking?!). Halloween starts the domino effect of the most exciting and blissful time of a child’s life… the countdown till Christmas! And for a parent it is the push of a financial panic button where the decision to indulge in material gluttony or focus on a simple Christmas becomes a mind blowing battle. Throw two birthdays in the mix just for fun with a mom who has a drive to create epic party tables and you’ve got yourself a holiday season to remember! Or one that makes you want to run away screaming.
And then the worst of it comes… A new year. For me, New Year’s has always been a bit… depressing. Even more so now that I experience the loss of yet another year of my babies childhoods within a month of each other. And this is where my perspective on time needs some calming. I have to force myself to look at my past with joy. Joy that it happened and that I made the most out of what I was given. Babies were not fun for me. Toddlers were challenging. But we have entered into this stage as a family that I absolutely love. We are complete, we are close and we are having fun.
When I told Jonah that I didn’t want him to turn 8, he quickly responded with, “Why?! I can’t wait to be 8!” In his head it’s taken forever to get there and he’s more than ready to be another year older. And this is how they will view their whole childhood. I never wanted to hold on to 6 or 8 or 12 when I was a child. I didn’t remissness about the good ol’ days of childhood until… never. Because as a child I was living and loving life. I loved growing older and my childhood was complete so there was nothing to really miss. I still don’t look back on my childhood and wish I could go back. Never. And that’s how my children seem to view their lives as well. They love to grow up. They love to become who God made them to be. That’s why we celebrate birthdays. To celebrate that we were given life and to celebrate who we’ve become and to look forward to what our future will bring.
My perspective of my children’s childhood has to shift from looking at what I’m losing and focus on what they are gaining. And if I can change my rigid view of passing time, I will only be able to be more free to live and love in the moment. Yes, time is fleeting. But if you choose to use the time you are given wisely, you can be glad for what you had instead of focusing on being sad that it’s over.
Don’t get me wrong. I often remissness and shed many tears about the loss of my children’s childhood, but I choose to celebrate what I’ve been given when I have it. I choose to fill my yard with headstones and spiders and creeps and pumpkins and watch my children dance in glee at each new added ghoul to their already very festive yard. I choose to dance with them instead of just watch because their memories need me in them. And I choose to embrace my heartache of knowing that their interests will change and the headstones will become unnecessary and maybe even embarrassing, but something else will take their place. Something equally as wonderful.
We are a busy family. On the go. Every moment seems to be planned out. School, work, Karate, homework, church, play time, quiet time, rest, cleaning, animal care… the list goes on for miles. And the more your day is filled the faster it goes until you are left spinning, wondering what happened to summer and now fall. Life is not going to slow down simply because I’m tired of the pace. It will only slow when I choose to slow it down. Life will continue to happen. In fact, it will get busier. But there will always be those little moments, that if I choose to take them, they can slow the pace just a bit to catch my breath and make some memories. Moments like helping my daughter draw pumpkins, helping my son put together a Lego house, taking just a few minutes to play a simple board game with them or even cuddling up to watch a movie after school. I have found that taking these short breaks to spend bits of time with my children mean so much to them and slow my mind back down to kid time. That’s the perspective I need to seek. The one that twists my brain and dumps out the unnecessary priorities and replaces them with the ability to have quality time with my family. I want to be in their memories by being present in their lives. I want them to love childhood and never look back. Enjoy, love, grow, learn. Time is a gift. Even more so, time with your children. Use it wisely and you’ll never regret it!