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On Their Own

October 5th, 11:30pm

“Mom, Mom! Dad said we could sleep on the deck when it’s done!” My little ones met me at the door as I came home from work. Kevin explained that William and Joel were really excited about the new deck and had asked to set up the tent when it’s done and sleep in it. “Okay, I guess,” I said. I felt nervous at the idea, but I could see how excited they were.

It was the end of August at the time, but then the decking took two weeks to be delivered and then we went away for Myra’s wedding and then it rained for most of a couple weeks. Then today they asked if they could camp on the deck. It’s October and it’s cold and it gets dark early and they’re only 7 and 10, but we’d already said they could this year. So we set up the tent and hauled out loads of blankets and laughed about how soon they’d be back inside. 

We played frisbee as it got darker and then got out the sparklers. I wanted to make a bit of an event out of William and Joel’s first time sleeping outside on their own. 

I looked at the clock when they went out–8:45. I wanted to see how many minutes they’d be outside, maybe 15 minutes? We could hear them listening to music and laughing and singing. They came in a couple times for a drink of water or another blanket and then at 10:45 they turned out their light and went to sleep. 

And I had a little cry. This wasn’t supposed to happen. They weren’t supposed to be this brave and grown up. Kevin and I went out loaded down with more blankets. I held the flashlight while he covered and tucked in the sleeping boys. 

“Should I sleep in there with them?” Kevin asked. 

“No, this is their special night,” I said. Kevin suggested bringing them in, but we had told them they could do this. We decided to both sleep in the living room with just the sliding glass door separating us from their tent. 

But I had to take a few minutes to write about this moment and try and capture it. Things are changing so fast with my oldest married and moved out, my second graduating this year, my twins in separate schools, and  my youngest two sleeping outside on their own. 

For 18 years I was a full-time-stay-at-home mom. Much of my identity is wrapped up in being a mom and now that role looks different with working outside the home and my kids at school. My time with my children is spread more thinly and passes even quicker than before. 

I started this blog “Cherishing the Moment” 9 years ago to capture these moments that flit by with the passage of time–not because I’m good at cherishing each day but because I’m not. Life is busy and hectic and I’m a dreamer with my mind racing in a dozen different directions at any given moment. But every once in a while I’m reminded of how quickly the time is passing and how very precious this season is. I do want to cherish it.

Tonight, as I feel a pang in my heart for how my children are growing up, and some anxiety for them, I’m reminded of the blessings in my life. I’m thankful, so very thankful–for my children and my husband, for my relationship with God, for our home (and the new decks), for work that is meaningful, for good health, and for this busy season of life that leaves me exhausted but that I know I’ll look back on with joy. 

October 7th, 9:30am

An update: I would have guessed that my little boys would have lasted 13 minutes outside, not the 13 hours that they ended up in the tent! And a confession: I did not last the night on the couch but Kevin did. 😉 I did get up at 3am to check on them, though. 

In the morning, William and Joel excitedly told me of their night and about how they’d been scared when they heard me unzip the tent in the middle of the night until I said, “It’s Mom. I’m just making sure you’re okay.” They were beaming at their accomplishment.

“Did you stay out there because you were having fun or because everyone said you wouldn’t be able to?” I asked.

“Both!” They said, giggling. 🙂

Photo credit: Ethan Malcolm

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Happiness is . . .

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

I was recently at a birthday party. One of the partygoers brought out an aging notebook and opened it to a fresh page. “What are the things that make you happy?” she asked the birthday guy.

She wrote each “happiness spark” on a list, and then she read over some of the lists from others over the years. Apparently, she’s been tracking things that make people happy for over a decade, and has a book chock full of joy.

Isn’t that awesome?

This got me thinking about what are the things that bring me joy. Here’s a list in random order as they came to me.

  • Babies—chubby fingers and tiny toes
  • Sunsets
  • Fresh apple pie
  • Laughter
  • Reading
  • Soft blankets
  • Candlelight
  • Fall colours
  • Islands
  • New ideas—I love to dream
  • Trying something new
  • Playing games with my kids
  • Dinner dates with Kevin
  • Seeing a mama hen with her chicks
  • Having a job that is meaningful
  • Getting to homeschool my kids for 12 years
  • Getting a break from homeschooling
  • Extended family get-togethers
  • Time with friends
  • Making new friends
  • Evenings while my husband plays guitar
  • Making memories with my family
  • Lattes
  • Learning—I never, never want to stop learning
  • Fireflies—I’ve never actually seen one before but the idea of them makes me happy
  • Phosphorescence in the ocean at night
  • Loon calls
  • Mountains
  • Rivers
  • The northern night sky
  • Adventures
  • Refusing to act my age

I’d love to know the things that bring you joy! Please share your happiness list in the comment section. 🙂

I wish you laughter, soft blankets, and sunsets! ❤

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Into the Quiet Place

Photo credit: Debbie Pan

Some of us go to others for support when we’re hurting, others fade out of the crowd and find a quiet place to soul search when suffering.

I think I’ve always been the type to seek solitude when in pain or when experiencing anything intensely. (When in labour, I always had this powerful urge to find a place completely alone, dark, and quiet to birth my babies.) I’m very open about trials and pain that I’ve experienced, but not when I’m in the midst of it.

Two years ago our family went down a very difficult path. Marriage problems overwhelmed us. And three people who were close to us passed away in a relatively short time: my beloved grandpa, one of my closest friends,  and my children’s grandfather. Most painful though was that one of my daughters was in a place of such terrible darkness that we could hardly reach her. She’d be hospitalized three times before things very gradually began to improve.

My greatest desire was to be a good wife, mother and child of God, and it felt like I was a complete failure in all three areas.

I was devastated and exhausted, but I couldn’t break down because my family needed me. In the midst of the storm, I pulled back from many of my normal interactions and from social media. I retreated and focused on healing for my family and for myself.

You don’t come through a trial like that unchanged. I’m still a little wild and eccentric, and I’ll frequently be the loudest in the room. But I’m also more fragile—needing to be more aware of how much sleep I’m getting and monitor the stress, and we realized I needed a break from homeschooling. Another difference is I’m far more reluctant to offer advice when another is hurting, but I’ll offer support with a listening ear.

All this to say that after a year-and-a-half of almost complete silence on my blog and social media, I’m back. I’m enjoying the interaction, and I missed you guys. 🙂

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