This little tidbit came on top of me looking at the clock each night this week at 11pm or so and asking myself When exactly does this happen?
After the dentists appointments and the school pickups and supper and bike riding time and emptying the dishwasher and sorting the laundry and searching for the permission slips and exercise classes and [oh hey!] work - paid and unpaid, of course - and lunch making and bill paying and crawling under the beds to retrieve Lego pieces and Polly Pocket shoes and stupid grocery shopping nope scratch that we won't get to the store..........
When exactly does this happen?
When exactly do I stay friends with my best friend?
When exactly do we get to talk about the screen play he might write when he wins the lottery and is needing to wind down from running a successful vineyard during the day? When do we get to get things off our chest, to relate funny stories from the day, to gossip about the latest on Facebook, or to hatch hare-brained schemes to get bike lanes built through town?
When do we get to act like people who love each other, instead of business partners?
For all intents and purposes, we 'have it easy' - I am a stay-at-home-mom, he's got a really understanding employer who supports working from home on occasion, or an early night traded for a late night later in the week. We 'get' to have him home for supper a few times a week, and then I completely understand when that means he hauls out the laptop for work after the kids are in bed.
"Having it easy," however, isn't the same as blissfully co-existing in total harmony. We still want to carve out time for our own pursuits, our own private thoughts, a little eyebrow tweezing, a quick read-through of the latest in the European Champions League. (InterMilan won today!) Add 'me-time' to all of the above, and you've got the recipe for how you end up at thirty minutes per week.
So if we're finding it hard to connect - if we're finding it hard to find the time to sit down and really talk - how hard must it be for so many more families! Families trying to manage shift work, families trying to encompass two careers, families struggling with health issues or behavioral issues, families who are pulled in a million directions every single day?
Instead of throwing in the towel here, instead of saying with a heavy sigh "it's so HARD to be a modern family" - can I suggest something crazy? I want to share with you a quote that came home from school last year, a sort of "Message from the Principal" thing. We got things like this every week, and I don't know if the principal would even remember this if pressed. But this quote has stayed with me every single day since then:
We live in a culture of busy-ness. I do not think we will change this, but we can make choices for our children and ourselves. Do we model for children a peaceful rhythm of activities in our own lives? [...] Do we carve out time for kids to be, to think, to create and to dream?In our marriages, in our families: there is so much at stake when we fail to connect. Try, this week, to be more than average: aim for more than your thirty minutes with your significant other. Try, this week, to connect and listen to the whole vineyard pipe dream, or the earth-shattering blog post, or, just listen to each others' quiet.
I'm guessing you won't be sorry you did.