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When I let go of the wheel…

%NYcOB9qSgiLnN24msExlg.jpgMy kids fight me every.single.time we need to transition from our comfortable home life to the frenzied routine of preparing for and heading out the door for swim team. “We hate swim team,” they repeat, three of the four of them, one after another. I rationalize that we’re participating in swim team to stay in shape– in fact, I remind them, I ONLY make them go to two practices when most parents require their swimmers to attend all five each week. To add to my level of extreme generosity, I only make them participate in the minimum number of meets required to qualify for Championships. I’m nicer than most parents, I remind them. And so we did this for many years and endured several meltdowns… until what I heard one day through their pleas that what they really want is more family time and less on-the-run time.

And so we settled on this understanding– if we aren’t going to swim, we’re going to have more family time, but we’re also going to pitch in around the house a little more than we have in the past…

And so the new routines have started (though swim team hasn’t completely ended yet)… I’ve let go of some of my responsibilities and have allowed the kids to take on a bigger part of our family time. They prepare their own lunches, do more chores around the house, and spend time in the evenings preparing the vegetables, fruit, and table for dinner. In the end, their contributions free me up for their much-desired family time.

I’ve been letting them dream alongside me– what will our next adventure be? What needs to be done in advance? What goals can we set as a family? How can we achieve those goals? What can each of us contribute? And then I let go of the wheel, and I let them take over. They’re capable and where they might have once lacked confidence, they grow exponentially.

Coincidentally, I’ve found some freedom in our new routines. I have new teammates in this family of mine– we set goals and we accomplish them together. I’m no longer on an island, and I’m able to offer support to my kids outside of the household expectations I place on myself. I like this freedom, and they seem to, too!

 

 

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The fighter

This picture was taken a few days after Emma was born. In a state of shock after delivering a 1 lb 12 oz baby, I was afraid to look at her and certainly didn’t want to hold her. It was like my maternal instincts hadn’t kicked in yet— the wires, the masks, the tubes were so intimidating. Sadly, I didn’t know my baby at all— I was so thankful the NICU nurses knew her rhythms and helped me learn what she was all about. And I was so grateful that my whisper, quietly echoing against the walls of the incubator, was enough to sooth her in those early rough days. All these years later, 11 to be exact, I am still a student of a fighting micro preemie and the nurses who taught me so much. Happy Birthday, kid!

Trucker Salute

Back in the olden days, when Paul and I were dating, he drove a Jeep. We’d drive around Cincinnati worry-free (or at least it seems like that now that I look back on it), Paul teaching me the appropriate hand signals to offer other Jeep drivers, while I soaked in Cincinnati, trying to discern if this could really become my forever home. He didn’t think I was paying attention then, but I was (at least a little bit). Then the engagement happened, and Paul bought a used Ford truck from my dad’s company (maybe that would win him over?), and I had to learn the appropriate hand signals to offer other truck drivers. He didn’t think I was paying attention then, either, and he’s probably right– I was planning a wedding!! Either way, after thirteen years of lessons, I think I might have it down.IMG_E0122.JPG