My life is busy. Not just a little busy, but seriously jammed from start to finish. It didn’t always seem so wild, and up until recently, I thought we had a pretty firm handle on our time as a family. Recently, almost every single extra moment is committed to an event, activity, family commitments, or something else that is stretching us out further and further.
Let me break down a typical weekday for you. We get up around 5:15-ish so one of us can get some exercise and walk our dog, Sophie. Whoever is not exercising will get lunches started for the kids, and get clothes, shoes, belts, and bows ready to roll for school. Once we get all of the kids ready, we have to get ourselves presentable for the office, and then we all fly off in different directions. Kids in school, parents at work; some days, it’s quiet and some days, it’s insane. Pull it all back together and then head home for some homework, dinner, baths, some light reading, prayers, and finally bed. Amy and I will then get some alone time which usually involves doing some dishes and laundry, probably more reading before bed. Phew–I am worn out from describing it!
Not that this wacky schedule is a bad thing. My kids love everything they do, for the most part. Band, piano, dance, swimming, meet ups with the cousins from New Orleans, going to LSU games and tailgating, library trips, riding bikes, etc. I have never once heard either of my three kids complain that they have too much to do. In fact, it is usually the opposite–they tell me they are bored.
When I stop to think about it, I am really shocked at how my life went from something that seemed busy (at the time) to a schedule that is overflowing with stuff to do. When did we only get a couple of hours with the kids? When did I only see my wife in passing in the morning and that short time after dinner before we crashed for the night? Things to ponder!
Growing up, I remember being pretty busy. It was just in a very different way. Playing outside, swimming, riding bikes (always riding bikes), me and my small group of friends were always on the run. I don’t recall my parents stressing about the time, or bemoaning the fact that they had to haul us off to some other thing we were doing at school or church.
As a kid, it was great just to be a kid. I loved it–I absolutely loved it. However, I don’t know how my parents really felt about it, and I’ve never really asked them about it. They like to chuckle when they hear me complaining about the fact that I have to be somewhere else ASAP. They really think it’s hilarious.
What I do know is that they were always counting their blessings. One of my favorite lines from my father was when I asked him if we were rich. “Well Toby,” he said, “we are rich in blessings and that is all that matters.” This thought has stuck with me throughout my life. Rich in blessings–it’s a saying that we hear a lot, but do I really stop to think about what that really means? I didn’t even realize that I now say the same thing until my oldest child’s teacher told us a story that really hit home and got the waterworks flowing. Her teacher was apparently having a rough day and was discussing some difficulties with one of her co-workers. My sweet girl tapped her teacher on the arm and said, “Remember, no matter what, you are rich in blessings.” Wow. Not only has she picked up on the wisdom of my own father, she listens and takes in the things that I now say, completely unbeknownst to me. It was a super profound moment and gave us all the feels in so many ways.
I have come to realize that our daily chaos and routine is our normal, and that it is the blessing of life. As I fight to maintain some sense of calm or togetherness during the comings and goings of our daily life, I realize that in the midst of all of it I have immense blessing. Not small blessings that make me feel good in the moment, but over the top, my cup is an overflowing type of blessings. The challenge for me is to stop and recognize this and truly appreciate all of it.
Do you struggle to maintain calm in the midst of chaos at home? Are you struggling to keep your perspective on what is good about the seemingly out of control? I feel you! My hope is that we can learn from each other and teach each other how to focus on what is really the good stuff of life with our kids, spouses, families, and friends. My life is busy. But it is the busy that makes me remember the blessings, and I am thankful.
My Dad was right all along; we are truly “rich in blessings!”