I worked from home today, which technically I suppose I do every weekday, but what I mean is that I worked from my actual house instead of my parents’ house – the place I usually refer to as my summer office. I stayed home because Kristin was speaking on an education panel up in Lansing this morning. Maybe it was because I was getting a glimpse of the kids’ lazy summer days that I normally miss, or maybe it was because it’s August and my fear of not squeezing in enough special moments before school starts is creeping in, or maybe it’s because I have to leave for New York this Sunday, but I felt a huge sense of longing and sentimentality all day. I just wanted to sweep them onto my lap and give them one more hug and wander outside to watch them lolling on the tree swing. Today I wished that I could be a stay at home mom, at least for a little while. It feels so unfair some days to miss so much of what really matters.
We’ve been lucky this week though. We’ve managed to sneak in a couple of really beautiful weekday evenings full of magic and connection. On Monday night K had the bright idea to take the kids bowling, which we haven’t done in ages. During our game a woman approached us and offered us two unlimited arcade cards with 90 minutes left on them because her family was headed home. As much as we discourage it the kids love video games, and we were willing to make an exception for some (totally free) family fun time at the arcade. We even relaxed the usual rules about shooting games (while providing reminders on how we feel about actual guns and actual shooting). We even let them play laser tag, which also turned out to be free thanks to an incredibly kind staff member who didn’t usually run the game. It was such an avalanche of blessings that night, and we all went home feeling like we’d been on vacation rather than at the bowling alley on a Monday.
After my day of big feelings I needed to get out and play with the kids again, so we decided to take a family bike ride – first to a pretty outdoor area just down the road, and then out for ice cream. The kids ran and ran and ran and climbed on logs and ran some more. Being together in the setting sun was just what I needed.
Jonah stopped to rest on a bench at some point and when I shifted my camera he said, “no pictures.” I always want to respect their wishes, but I’m also not above trying to change their minds. “What if I don’t ask you to do or change anything? You can do whatever you’re already doing.” He said OK, and as I positioned myself I said, “I’ll just get you and the bird poop.” Naturally he tried to keep himself from smiling (and eventually burst out laughing) and I love that you can see the start of a smile here.
I worry sometimes about them growing up and how things will change. I’m afraid of losing this magic. But then we have nights like these and it gives me a sense of hope that if we just keep prioritizing time together, time to step away from the daily grind and just exist and laugh and enjoy each other’s company, maybe we’ll always have this in a way.