There are a lot of times when Im packing ALL of my kids up to go to a weekend of basketball or baseball and I think, whyyyyyyyy?!?! Why am I doing this?
It makes me giggle because sometimes I forget we are quite the circus. Im so used to the chaos and constant chatter that I can't even hear it. (Kdog doesn't do quite as well at this. ha).
This is how I envision us walking up in to a basketball or baseball tournament for the ENTIRE day:
We tend to take up a lot of room. And sometimes my little kids get whiney towards the end. But, Kdog and I decided it was worth all the inconvenience because of a few things that we have experienced in our lives as children and as young adults.
We are THAT family. The one who loads up all the litter and drags them across the valley.
We are THAT family who has dinner together on Friday nights and drags the entire crew to catch the last hour of baseball practice in the batting cages.
We are THAT family who actually likes each other.
Time is precious.
Unfortunately, when Kdog was 12 he lost his Father to colon cancer. When you go through something like that and then have your own children you really realize how time is precious. Tomorrow is never promised and while we have the opportunity to be together we are going to do it. Even if it's hard and inconvenient.
SO many times we've looked at each other in the car on the way home from a long day of sports and just smile (but a lot of times we look at each other and mouth cuss words). Our saying is "at least we were together!" (and sometimes that looks like Kdog yelling at our youngest to get out of the dugout and me chasing 1,436 pages from a coloring book across center field that our daughter decided to throw into the wind). But, hey...we were together!
For our family, being together is one sure way to help us stay together.
I know it may seem odd but Kdog and I actually like each other. We choose to spend time together whenever we can. He's totally hilarious and goofy. He's intense and loud. He's caring and selfless. And that's something I will never take for granted. But I also know we have to work at our marriage every single day. Because raising kids is HARD and DISTRACTING. Sometimes we find ourselves slipping in to a rut and routine that isn't where we want to be. So, we slap each other and get back on track (hahaaa, just kidding. I just slap him.).
This article below is such a great reminder to focus on the NOW and to cherish and build your relationships with the people you love. Kdog sent this to me this morning and I thought, how appropriate!!!
Spending time together as a family helps us keep our bond strong. It's so easy to run around in our own circles and wave to each other as we walk in and out of the door. Believe me, we have had to divide and conquer. Its a new skill we have acquired this past year with three playing on teams (and eventually a fourth! Thank you to my village, in advance, for all of your help.). We go in so many opposite directions during the week that it makes me dizzy. For our family, we can't go in so many opposite directions on the weekend too. It's a sure way to distance ourselves from one another even more.
Our promise to one another is that we are going to protect our marriage during this crazy, running around, busy, kid raising season.
Because it is a SEASON.
And, heck, when this season is over I still want to know who my husband is and get to enjoy him immediately!! I don't want to have to spend years finding out who he is and wondering if I even still like him. It happens all the time. (personally speaking, my own parents, so I do know first hand how hard it can be!).
And for us, this means being together on the weekends and at all day tournaments supporting our kids and dragging the entire litter along even when it seems absurd to everyone else.
Our kids are with us for such a short time. And the amount of time I spend with them matter to me. I refuse to get sucked into becoming my children but I'm sure as heck going to show them that they are worthy of my time. Modeling this to my kids is important to me. I want them to know they are worth the struggle. And by golly...it's a freaking struggle sometimes.
I mean, don't you enjoy taking your four year old poop in a port-a-john at baseball games?!?
Having kids is certainly going to make you learn about sacrifice and compromise.
But, we've decided it doesn't have to make us sacrifice and compromise our marriage in the process.
To all of the families out there who are just trying not to completely go bonkers and keep your family unit a float...
I FEEL YOU. And I also applaud you!!
This isn't something that a lot of people talk about. But it is a HUGE struggle for so many families.
There are so many families out there who have one parent that takes on most of the load. And I want you to know, that if that is you, your effort and consistency is instilling great things in your children.
I naively knew how hard it would be to raise a family and keep my marriage a priority.
I knew it would be hard. But I had no idea it would be THIS HARD.
You don't quite realize how complicated it is and how society as a whole doesn't quite understand families who prioritize their relationship ABOVE ALL ELSE.
We are all encouraged to enroll our kids in this and in that, more sports, more classes, more opportunities, more more more.
But what are we really doing?
What are all these activities really doing to better our kids and ourselves?
I just don't know.
Ok, yes, I do know.
Most of these activities are actually awesome. And they teach our kids self discipline, character building, how to have relationships with others, etc...
So don't get me wrong.
Activities are good!!
But we've had to really draw the line in the sand to say, ok, this amount is ENOUGH. And sometimes our kids are going to get backlash or less playing time. (Statistically the odds of one of my kids excelling in a sport outside of high school is pretty low. Sorry, kids! Genetically you are destined for mediocrity.).
But I hope and pray that in the end, when my kids are grown, that they can look back and realize their parents made family a priority and felt like they were worth more than an activity to run them to.
What can we really take with us when we die? Trophies? Social status? Job Title?
None of it matters in the end.
Except our relationship with The Lord.
Teaching my kids to love the Lord, their family and friends, and then themselves are my main goals.
The harsh reality in my life that nags me daily is that my kids will model my example. I can fill them up with all kinds of words. My advice means nothing if I don't follow it up with living it out in my own life.
If my life behind closed doors doesn't match up to the show I put on for other people then why on earth would they listen to my advice anyway?
SO, I'll continue to load everyone up, pack a zillion snacks, coloring sheets, and say a sweet prayer that I don't lose my mind too awfully badly (because I WILL lose my mind a little. And if you say you don't lose your mind on your kids, ever, then you are a liar.).
It will be worth it.
IT IS WORTH IT.
Making my family and marriage a priority is worth the struggle.
The advice I give my kids today surely should be visible to their little eyes tomorrow as they watch me living this crazy, chaotic, amazing life.