It’s official—kids are back in school today. It’s time for a fresh start and the chance to learn and grow. We had mixed emotions leaving the house today. Two super excited kiddos, one nervous but quiet kiddo, and one anxious and grumpy kiddo. As for me, I can hardly believe another summer is over. I miss my people when they go to school!
Our send off wasn’t quite as picturesque as I had hoped for, but everyone made it on time to their classes. I’m trying to take a moment and enjoy the quiet and calm house, but really I feel frustrated and want a do-over for the 10 minutes before we all parted ways this morning. I don’t even have pictures to share!
Sometimes my brain gets caught up in the idea that my role as a parent is defined by these milestone markers: the first day of school, the birthday celebration, the band concert, the track meet, the piano recital, family vacation, Christmas, and other holiday celebrations. You know the times we are “supposed” to look great and make something great happen.
It’s really a sneaky lie. The truth is that a series of small moments strung together define our relationships. Not one single moment, and it’s a good thing! Have you stopped to consider the good things that have happened in your family recently? I’m not talking about grand vacations, perfect school send-offs, glowing report cards, or invitations to join athletic teams. I’m talking about the simple good moments where our hearts align and true connection happens. Rarely, are they scheduled. They just happen. These moments are so simple and unexpected, that if I’m not paying attention, I’ll miss them. Worse yet, I’ll chase them off!
- Everyone crowding on the bed laughing and talking about first kisses.
- Laughing at dinner and a child sharing, “Seriously, guys, we are funny. Not every family gets to laugh like this!” (Okay, part of the victory was even making dinner!)
- Offering to polish toes for the first day of school and letting it morph into a full mani-pedi session; way past bedtime!
- The chatter of an excited child as they approach the first day of school.
- Doing nothing, but sitting on the couch and doing it together.
Each of these moments began with me caught up in my own thoughts and ideas of what needed to be happening. It was mid-way through when I caught myself and realized, “This is good stuff. Soak it in for a minute. Don’t fight it. Let go of control for just a minute.” I was given an invitation, “Be with us. Open your heart, set aside everything else, and be with us.” The moment was happening with or without me. It was my choice to embrace it and soak it in or squelch it and demand obedience.
Yes, schedules need to be kept and boundaries need to be honored, but we can’t forget to open our eyes and catch the good stuff. These simple moments connect our hearts and strengthen the foundation for all other family interactions. These are the moments that fill my soul. They remind me that one mediocre first day of school send-off does not define me as a mother. They give me strength to keep going when things get tough. Capture moments that fill your soul. Collect 3 or 4 small moments when you felt connection. Write them down and save them for when life gets tough. Remember, being with our families is a gift. You are a gift to them.