WOW! This photo represents a lot. (No, I'm not going to blog about how much my seriously outdated kitchen needs to be remodeled ... and just in case anyone out there feels the uncontrollable urge to remind me, please be confident that as you speak, I am hanging my head and repeating, "yeah, I know, I know ...").
This entry will actually be about "letting go". Letting go of stress. Letting go of fear. Letting go of ... CONTROL. With just one look at this photo by my older children, they will be able to tell you exactly what I'm talking about.
I worked outside the home for 17 years. Not just one full-time job mind you - there were times when I worked two full-time jobs OR a full-time job and a part-time job. Why, I've even been known to work two full-time jobs along with a part-time job. Basically, I worked all the time - anywhere from 60-105 hours per week outside the home. Factor in commute time and I was only home long enough check on my sleeping children, catch less than 5 hours sleep for myself, then get the children off to school the next morning. The weekends? I usually worked things out so I could be home Saturday and Sunday mornings - this afforded me time to clean, do some laundry, grocery shop and cook a week's worth of meals before racing off to one of my jobs. Consequently, I had to run a "tight ship". Otherwise, there was the risk that absolute chaos would break out and the end result would be a huge mess that I did not have the time, and especially not the energy, to deal with.
Six years ago a miracle happened and I was able to stop being a part-time everything and begin working on becoming a full-time wife and mother. Five years ago, we decided to begin homeschooling JP, and as they started growing up, we decided to also home school OG and EJ. Now, don't be silly by thinking all this has been an easy transition. When a woman works away from home like a insane maniac out of necessity for 17 years - you know the cliche, "old habits die hard".
Six years ago I would have never dreamed I'd be able to let go ( ... don't have time to even think about a mess) and allow my 9 & 6 year old children to cook breakfast - all by themselves. Yep! without help from mom. As you can see from the photo, they were successful in creating a pretty good mess. But what you can't see from the photo is the self confidence they've gained by successfully completing this task completely on their own, without help from mom. You didn't see the pride in their faces when they asked me, "How do you like your egg sandwich?" "Did we make it the way you like it, mommy?" "Mmm, we sure are good cooks!"
AB and I recently had an opportunity to talk. I'd mentioned the contrast between my relationship with him and my relationship with the younger children. He questioningly implied that maybe I was disappointed in him. I had to explain that I am not disappointed in him. I am disappointed that I missed getting to know him as a child and that he missed getting to know me during his childhood. I am disappointed that he didn't get to make a mess in the kitchen. I am disappointed that I never heard him say, "Mmm, I sure am a good cook!" I am disappointed that I didn't get to spend all the crazy and messy days of childhood with him.
We can't go back and change the circumstances that caused me to have to work like an insane maniac. We don't get a do over. But, we do get today ... I have to go check in on OG & EJ - they are now "cleaning" the kitchen.