So as I dragged my feet towards my computer, I wondered what I might pull together for today’s blog post – my enthusiasm was there but my brain and body certainly were not.
And then I came across this post which I had written but shelved for some reason … a lack of time perhaps or maybe it just didn’t feel right at that moment.
But reading back over it this morning, it was exactly what I needed to hear. A reminder that time is too precious, that it’s ok to slow down and do what feels right at this moment.
So I thought I would share it with you …
Lately, it’s like life is imparting its wisdom everywhere I go, reminding me to refocus on what is most important to me in life.
Visiting my dad in hospital while undergoing cancer treatment recently, I was holding my baby girl and he smiled as he said to me: “She brings you so much happiness, doesn’t she? The youngest one is always special”. While I love all three of my girls as much as the other for their perfect uniqueness, I know exactly what he means. He told me to just enjoy ‘now’: “I never really had the time when you were young. I was too busy working to make money for my family. But now I have another chance with my grandchildren.”
A few days later while riding in the hospital elevator a lady looked at me cuddling my baby, smiled knowingly and said “She’s adorable, enjoy every moment because it goes by too fast.”
Then the following week, while shopping with three kids in Bunnings of all places (crazy I know!), an elderly man saw my two older girls happily running around and said “They are just gorgeous, they must give you plenty of laughter. Enjoy them.”
Three times in just as many weeks the world was slapping me right in my face with what was most important, with what I needed to focus on right now, because sometimes it is far too easy to slip back into old habits and for your mind to start telling you what you ‘should’ be doing.
Last year was truly a wake up call for me to slow things down, although honestly at the time I didn’t realise I was making a conscious choice towards ‘slow living’. But it’s only now looking back on the past year and a half that I realise there is a name, a movement behind what I have done. At the time, all I simply knew was that our current lifestyle was not working for our family and who knew where we were headed if we continued down that path.
Making the decision to leave work to focus on my family didn’t come easily, but more than one year on it was the best decision my family has ever made. I was stressed and extremely run down, my children were dealing with anxiety issues they had never experienced in the past, my relationship with my husband and my children were suffering. I needed to spend more time with my family, to enjoy watching my girls grow up and re-connect with life.
In some ways, I have discovered that perhaps I need to parent more like my parents by slowing down, not over-scheduling our lives and allowing plenty of unstructured time for my kids to play and use their imagination.
I grew up taking part in very few structured activities outside of school. Sure, there were plenty of play dates with friends but otherwise most of my activities were between held between the hours of 9am-3.30pm. That gave me plenty of time to read a book (after book after book after book), tap out creative stories on the typewriter (no computer at home back then much to the horror of my kids!), jump on my bike and ride up around the house or down the street over and over again, play board games with my brother, head outside to the backyard for a game of backyard cricket, tennis, badminton or shoot some hoops.
It was free time, full of great memories, and looking back on my childhood that’s exactly how I did feel as a kid – free. That’s a feeling I wish for my three daughters to experience too.
So thank you life for throwing me the reminders I need to hear right now and for letting me know I’m on the right track for my family. Sometimes I wish I knew all this before having kids, but I have come to realise that it’s all just part of the ever-changing journey of parenthood and I’m on board for the ride.
What reminders has life thrown your way lately?