One thing about apartment living, especially during the summer, is that going to the park most mornings is part of our regular schedule. Much of the time I’m happy to do this (after we get through the ordeal of three kids getting ready to leave the house: put on clothes, maybe comb hair, take turns using the bathroom), because I know it’s good for them to run around and play outside. Sometimes I can even steal away moments to do things I enjoy, like sending text messages to friends to plan play dates or working on my “mom photography” (taking quick, multiple shots) skills.
But sometimes, there are things happening every other minute that require my attention. Often I get frustrated when “my” moments are interrupted by the needs or wants of my kids; when I think of the shopping that will have to be squeezed in just before making dinner; or all of the other projects or chores that are just piling up because of the morning spent at the park. Combine that with the stressful, packed-full summer we’ve had, along with the normal level of stress present when living in a different culture, and I can get pretty worked up grasping for moments of fleeting fun or productivity on my terms.
During our last week before vacation, I took the kids to what they call, “Our Park”, which is right across the street, so really pretty convenient. Opening the gate, Naomi announced, “the park is open for business!”
“Psssh, maybe KID business,” I said. Naomi then proceeded to run in, yelling with all her might, “KID BUSINESS!” What a fun, silly moment!
The next day we were at another one of the playgrounds within walking distance and Naomi asked me to swing with her. I reluctantly agreed, putting away the grocery list I was trying to write. As we got to swinging, she exclaimed, “This is fun, right Mommy?”
Silent tears started streaming down my face as I kind of remembered what it used to feel like to swing at her age, how easy it was to have fun. Nowadays it takes real work for me to have fun and I realized that she (and her siblings) can help me with the serious “kid business” of playing and living in the moment that I desperately need. I pray that God would help me to see the value of and to enjoy each moment and to be fully present in it.