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Our Numbered Days

Close-up of a calendar book with a pen drawing a heart on the page

“Our days with our children at home are numbered. Do something that counts with them.”

 

I wrote those words at the end of my blog post “Forced Family Fun 101: How to Make it Work for Your Family.” As soon as I wrote them, I realized that they were the beating heart of my blog. That’s why I’m here.

 

I’ve truly enjoyed all stages of raising my boys. I loved the toddler/pre-school age. I had fun working their Scholastic Book Fairs in elementary school. I was astonished to watch my oldest mature through high school and do things I never expected.

 

With my oldest off to college and his two younger brothers now in middle school, I’m keenly  aware of the countdown we’re living. In less than six years, we’ll have an empty nest. Six. That’s nothing.

 

And yet, it’s also something to work with. Six years will go fast, but there are still enough of them to make the days meaningful.

 

I feel conflicting things when I think about the empty nest days that are approaching: I happily anticipate a more simple daily routine, with fewer activities, loads of laundry, dishes to wash, etc. Of course, those practical advantages will be accompanied by a shocking quiet. As much as I love a quiet home, I know without a doubt that I will laugh less when my boys are gone.

 

I got a taste of this sixteen years ago, when I had only one child and spent two weeks writing at an artists’ colony. There was so much I enjoyed about those days, especially the mental space to simply think and write without interruption. But I was keenly aware that as content as I felt, I didn’t feel the same level of joy that I did at home. Quite simply, I smiled less.

 

So, in these next six years when I’m still an On-Site Parent (as compared to a Long-Distance Parent), I feel a strong urge to make the most of them. In these years when our children are gaining more independence, becoming more of themselves, there’s a balance to strike between allowing them the space to do that and knowing they still very much need their family around them.

 

Our preteens and teens need daily hugs (even though some kids are awkward about it), they need invitations to talk about what’s on their mind, they need spiritual guidance from their parents, and they need to see their family as a place of safety and fun.

 

This is why I do what I do: why I still have a bedtime ritual with my boys, why we have dinner together around the table every night, why I created weekly Forced Family Fun activities, and why I make sure regular family devotions happen.

 

This is also why I created this blog, to inspire others to think about these numbered days with intention and to use them well.


Photo by ulleo on Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

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