Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Are You There?

All I think about lately is my family. I am constantly looking at the calendar and trying to plan the next family outing, the next family home evening, the next time all of us can have dinner together, the next time we can all sleep in and I can make them a big breakfast. I have always been mindful of family time but something in me now has gone into over-drive. I know it has something to do with Kaden's upcoming 16th birthday. 16 means that my time is running very short.

I try not to let anything be more important than my time with my kids and sometimes that can be pretty tricky. This last weekend there was a family project day scheduled for a family member who is moving into a new house. All the adults were supposed to come and help paint the house and do other jobs to ready the house for moving in. My heart sank because all of my kids are home on Saturday mornings, (a rarity). I like to make them breakfast and I like to work with them through our Saturday chores. Our big kids are old enough to come help but if we brought all our big kids then we would have no one home to stay with the little ones who were of course not exactly invited to the painting day. 

While most of the other adults in our family stayed most of the day, Scott and I only stayed for a few hours. I felt guilty and torn but in my heart I know that home is where I need to be when my kids are home, which is becoming less and less as they get bigger. 

And then late last night I got a text to come to a 7:15 work out. I love working out. Its hard for me to say no to this sort of thing. But I had promised my kids that we were going to make biscuits and gravy and then plan out a fun day together on this rare day off of school. Excersize for me has to happen in the wee hours of the day and not during a time when I can be with my kiddos. 

Things just change as kids grow up. They are gone. They have their own lives. They are on teams, have jobs, make plans with friends and it becomes harder and harder to have all of your children together. As a Mom you have to sort of force it. You have to give up, sacrifice and plan to make it happen. But when it does- it pays off. Family unity solidifies. Memories get made, and you can see that when you make the effort,  your kids-even those big ones whose wings are stretched and ready for flight-come home. 

Every day the phrase "Mother are you there?"  from a wonderful Robert D. Hales talk goes through my head. I truly want to be there, I truly love being there, there is no where else I'd rather be. There have been times over the years that instead of looking at the calendar and trying to find family time I was looking at the calendar trying to find away time. Any time at all that Scott and I could escape and get a break. I had all these little ones and I was literally with them 24/7, breaks were important and I definitely looked forward to them. But before you know it those Littles get big and they aren't home with you all day anymore, it becomes easier to get a break and harder to be with them. I am so grateful to be a Mom and everyday and every moment that I can have with these quickly growing kids by side is a treasure. 

For our interactions with [our children] to truly touch their hearts, we have to pay attention to them just as we would pay attention to a trusted adult colleague or close friend. Most important is asking them questions, letting them talk, and then being willing to listen—yes, listen and listen some more—even hearken with spiritual ears! Several years ago I was reading the newspaper when one of my young grandsons snuggled up to me. As I read, I was delighted to hear his sweet voice chattering on in the background. Imagine my surprise when, a few moments later, he pushed himself between me and the paper. Taking my face in his hands and pressing his nose up to mine, he asked, “Grandpa! Are you in there?”
Mother, Father, are you in there? Grandpa, Grandma, are you there? Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too.

So we spent the morning cleaning, then went to lunch then to open skate at the ice-skating rink and then we hit ice cream cones on the way home. After a quick swim in the pool Grandma and Grandpa joined us for FHE. It was a good day. I'd like to have a million more just like it.

Later, Cali brought me this sweet little picture. "Mom, this is us when we go'd ice-skating." And then my heart died of love and joy over this family of mine.

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