Do you ever feel like you have way too much to do? Do you valiantly attempt to do it all anyway? It’s part of the homeschooling mentality—that sense of juggling twelve balls in the air at a time—cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, nursing, teaching, shopping, listening, laundering, reading aloud, picking up, devotions, exercising. . .What did I miss from your list?
Oh, yes. That’s right. Loving. Being there. Really there.
And that, my friend, takes time.
At this season of life, my way-too-much-to-do-but-try-to-do-it-anyway looks slightly different from yours, because my children are grown. Normally my list includes writing articles for publications, blogging, preparing to teach an online world history class, working to upgrade our website, strategizing for our business, plus cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundering, picking up, devotions, exercising.
But, last month, I had two opportunities to love, to be there, really there. And it utterly blew apart my to-do list, as loving others tends to do.
First, I went to Chicago to help my daughter get ready to move. After two years of hard work on her Master’s degree, she is heading off to do her Ph.D., and that meant packing, cleaning, and helping transport stuff to a new city, a new state. As you know, it is so much easier, with far more laughter, when friends and family help with a move! But, in the midst of packing and cleaning, there was the incredible joy of simply being together. Chats over coffee, experiencing downtown Chicago, laughing over her cats’ antics, and most of all, checking in with each other, are precious building blocks of our ongoing relationship.
The second opportunity was tied to the first. My son brought his sons from Virginia to Chicago, so that he could be the MUSCLE in the move, and so that we could all watch his sister graduate. And, in an extension of the plan, so that Bill and I could have two incredible weeks with our grandsons.
Lovingly termed “Z1” and “Z2,” these 9 and 5 year-old boys have spent very little time with us. Their dad is in the Navy, and they have lived far from us most of their lives. In fact, next month, they are moving overseas for three years. So, these two weeks were a big deal. A BIG DEAL!
We decided that this opportunity was more important than anything else that needed doing. It was time to play, to relax in the hammock, to go to the zoo, to blow bubbles, to read Hank the Cowdog, to pray and sing to Jesus together. It was time to simply love, to be there, really there.
So, that’s what we did. It was an all consuming, 24/7x2 for these non-experienced grandparents. It was exhausting, exhilarating, challenging, joyous, and precious beyond belief. I didn’t accomplish my normal to-do’s. I didn’t blog. I didn’t strategize. I didn’t plan (except meals). I'm back in the office again, and my normal to-do list is topped up and running over. But we wouldn’t change a thing about these past three weeks. It was the right choice to make, the right priority to do.
When your to-do list is interrupted by your relationships, it’s not the time to fret about the impossibility of meeting all the demands, because the other items on the list are only supporting the real priority. Loving. Being there. Really there. Taking time to embrace the relationships.
Honestly, isn’t that why we are homeschooling in the first place?
Enjoy those kids, dear friends. This moment soon passes.