Once again its been a while since I've written a post. I feel like there hasn't been much time to breathe, let alone sit down and write, over the past few months. We've had all our regular activities, time with friends, medical appointments, some extra volunteer activities on my part - there hasn't been a lot of quiet time at home, or time to go to the zoo or anywhere new. I feel like things are quietening down a little bit now - or perhaps i'm looking at things differently - I feel like I'm breathing again anyway, and I've even found time to write.
Over the weekend Caitlin went to a regional Girl Guides Camp. There were over 100 girls there from the various Guide units around the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Caitlin was in a group that slept in tents, and had their meals prepared and eaten outdoors. She had a wonderful time and made several new friends.
When I went to pick her up yesterday Liam and Millie reluctantly came along too. They had wanted to stay home all day (we'd had a busy day on Saturday - Liam went to a birthday party and then the 3 of us went to Healesville Sanctuary on the way home - it was easier for them to leave the party house as they were going somewhere else fun). Tony however was still on his way back from his uncle's place in Camperdown - he'd gone over on Saturday to pick up our new (to us) dishwasher - ours had died a couple of weeks ago so it was a good opportunity for him to spend some time with his uncle and see his Nanna, and get a working dishwasher as well. So the kids came with me and picked up Caitlin from the camp, and I said we'd try to find something fun to do on the way home so it was worth their while coming for the drive. As it was so hot (around 30 degrees - crazy, since 2 days before it was cold enough in the morning for potential frost, and we had the fire going) I thought we'd see if the Seville Water Park was operational yet (I thought it might be too early in the season). Happily it was turned on, and the kids were happy to play in it in their regular clothes, so they spent a very happy hour or so running around through the water jets, clambering over the dry rocks and through the tunnels, playing water pistol fights with some other kids (Caitlin even found one of her new friends from camp to play with!) We came home tired but happier than if we'd just driven straight to camp and back.
So I'm thinking that even though we are often busy, popping in those extra little fun activities is definitely worthwhile. A play at the park on the way home or dropping in to a friend's house, an hour at the sanctuary or stopping for ice cream - these things enrich our lives and stop us from feeling like we're constantly running on a schedule. These are the things that I want to focus on, not getting to gymnastics on time or making sure we've got everything we need for Cubs... We can still do all our activities, but they don't need to be the priority. My priority is spending fun and connected time with my kids, grabbing learning and playing opportunities as they pop up (and being open to creating them).
I think the reason that our busyness has felt so overwhelming lately is because I'd stopped having the fun times as well, it felt like there wasn't enough time. My days were more about 'having' to be where we needed to be, instead of thinking 'right, these are the things we'd like to get to today, how can we work this out so that everyone is happy'. So balancing Caitlin's need for activity and social contact, with Liam and my need for downtime and Millie's need to hang out at each place for long enough to feel comfortable - we can do all of that, if I prioritise our relationships, fun and learning, over sticking to a schedule and meeting external expectations.