Sunday, January 31, 2016

time together.

There has been a great deal of fighting in my house these days.  I don't want to pretend like fighting has never happened here before; it has.  But there is a new level of sibling discord here that we have never seen before.  My husband and I scratch our heads and wonder, Is it their ages?  So much changes as the three of our kids move in and out of their individual stages.  Is it their new school? There have been ups and downs with a transition to a new school for our oldest two children. Is it me?  All too often I wonder if there isn't something I am missing, somewhere I am failing them. Sometimes I can even hear my own voice in their harshness, a humbling reminder of my own work to do in managing stress.  There are so many variables, but there is a new reality in my house: a lot of sibling squabbles.

My first instinct is to divide and conquer - separate them and give them all some space.  But any parent who is outnumbered knows there is no way to separate children in a way that gives them all individual attention.  Someone always feels left out.  The second option was to go out and do something fun together as a family; this was met with groans.  With their new school comes a great deal more time in the car.  The last thing they want to do is get in the car on the weekend.  So we decided Saturday to stay home together.

In the past there are three things that always brought my children together; imaginative play, crafting of any kind, and time spent in nature.  So we decided we would take a walk in the woods to find materials for crafting.  Something happened in our time in the woods; we found one another again. We walked through the woods gathering bark, needles, pine cones and sticks to make wands and who knows what else.  We played hide and seek, which is usually track and seek in the winter, but it's a bit harder to track on the sheer ice that covers the ground this January.  You could feel the energy shift. It's funny how my instinct was to separate us all, but what we truly needed was to be together.

We came in and spent the day working on countless creative playthings.  Wizard wands, wooden swords, fairies and forest creatures, pine cone cars, and even a woodland rockstar.  Time spent in nature and crafting of all kinds led into imaginative play.  My children had found their happy place with one another.  As a parent, watching them - all together - lost in play has been my greatest gift.  I know these days are fleeting.  It won't be much longer that I can catch the three of them donning butterfly wings swimming together across the yoga room floor, but I will do everything I can to encourage it while it will last.

I wish I could tell you this happy, together time lasted all weekend.  That would be a fairy tale and I only deal in muddy truths, but it did last for one whole late January day and that is a win in my book. As parents we learn to cherish the good moments, however fleeting they may be, for the next struggle is right around the corner.

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