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This blog has taken quite a while to write, not because of the difficult topic, but because I keep changing it. I tend to write in my head long before I ever put it to paper, but this one has been difficult to nail down. I have always known the importance of time and rest, but I have a much more difficult time putting it into practice. I’m a go getter, a person driven by the lists and to-dos. Slowing down is difficult for me. I know I need to enjoy the time now, and this period of life because all too soon the kids will be grown. The grandparents ageing, and the great grandparents gone.
Over labor day I had a very stark reminder of this. Instead of taking a vacation as many families do, we went down to the place my mom grew up to help do some maintenance work on my grandparents house, take down the rest of the corrals, and pick up a billiards table. Remember the not slowing down part? Anyway…As a younger adult, I didn’t really enjoy my time there. There is no internet and cell reception, well if you climb the grain bin you might be able to make a phone call. If you do find that sweet spot in the house, just leave your cell there and you’ll at least get text messages through, sometimes. Now as an adult, who’s job revolves around her phone? I love going there, because phones don’t work! It is a forced unplug time.
I wanted to pick up the rest of great-grandma’s canning jars while we were there as well, since I managed to use my entire stash this year. I also agreed to split them with my sister who was wanting some. When we walked up to the house part of my heart broke. The office door was open, and many of the windows broken out. Not going to lie, I went back to the pick up for a gun, just in case we encountered some animals or snakes who decided to make it their home. Armed we begin walking through the house, making as much noise as we could to scare anything out before it was cornered. What was inside broke my heart more. Tumbleweeds in the office, dirt and broke glass all over. Piles of memories scattered around. The house had been mostly gone through and cleaned out before, but some of the odd things left: Great-Grandma's pans, her dishes, Great-Grandpa’s old desk, the records, coffee cups, vases, dishes and bowls grandma had painted.
As we made our way room to room, on our way to the basement where the jars were, we assessed the damage time and nature had done. The natural flow of nature is order to disorder, when no energy is imputed, and the house showed just that. No one had lived there for nearly 20 years, with no one wanting to live there, the house wasn’t worth maintaining. Once grandpa and grandma moved, the house wasn’t kept buttoned up either. We relived the memories as we walked about. Great-grandpa sitting in his chair under the window in the living room, Mitch (the dog) laying in the office, eating ice cream at the kitchen table. The door we always went to, you can’t even get through anymore. We laughed and cried a bit, then set our minds to the task at hand: jars and anything else that was salvageable before it was all lost. When Grandpa walked in his face fell a bit though he tried to hide it. He knew the house was in bad shape, but didn’t know it was this bad. The home he was born and raised in was in ruins.
As silly as it may seem I haven’t been able to get that old house off my mind. For me it is a visual reminder, burned in my mind, of the importance of taking time for family while they are still here. Enjoying the seasons of life no matter how difficult they are. Not just being physically present, but mentally present as well with those around you. A reminder to put down the phone and enjoy the toddlers while they are still young. To invest in their lives and teach and train them.
I may be home with my kids everyday, but I’m not always present. I’m busy looking up that information, taking that call, replying to that text, working on a project, just wanting to get the list done. They unfortunately get placed on the back burner a lot and just drug along for the ride. That isn’t fair to them. And it greatly affects their behavior. See my kids act out most of the time to get my attention. It is the only way they know to say “Hey! I NEED YOU TOO!”
Starting now, I will do better, for me and my family.
Work stays within work hours (nap time).
Everything else will be done at a slower pace with the kids.
Sundays will be family days, for time together.
You all can keep me accountable. I give you permission.
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