As my kids get older, their activities become more.
More frequent, more demanding. We are not new to the “mandatory” attendance rule that some activities carry, but the gradual increase in frequency for everything makes me feel like I am speeding through each day. There are no more lines on my calendar for more things. We carefully planned so that our kids aren’t overscheduled – what happened?
There is practice after school and extra lessons before school. Games on the weekends, early report times, and on and on.
This is in addition to their regularly scheduled activities and fun events they get invited to. Celebratory dinners for a job well done get the rapid-fire treatment as we squeeze in a slice of pizza between activities to say hey, good job on your report cards. Parents of friends are asked to pick up, drop off. Our cars are running elsewhere and can’t get there on time.
It’s a blessing because we can do it. They have the ability and we have the resources. The only thing I feel short on is time.
Of course there is not more time to add; no more hours will be found at the end or in the middle of the day. We have to make do with the 24 hours we are given. And when activities happen at the same time, as they often do, we can only do one thing at a time.
And I would do well to not panic.
As organized as I am with the things in my home, I fall short when it comes to figuring out the timing of things. Logistics: “the things that must be done to plan and organize a complicated activity or event that involves many people” (hey, how about two or three people?), the “handling of the details” – I am not good at this. Luckily, my husband is – it’s his job, for goodness’ sakes. Unluckily for me, when the details of our childrens’ lives must be handled, he is often unable to help. He’s handling the details at work so that I can handle the details at home.
It’s a kick in the teeth. Honestly, it makes me want to cry, this unfortunate order of things. I am always late, kids are calling me from coach’s cell phones to pick them up, they go without dinner because I planned poorly, we have to turn around because I forgot the socks, the shoes, the ball. Once we had to make a stop and buy underwear. I’m a mess.
When I calm down enough, I realize that this is happening for a reason. I am being taught to build this unnatural talent, this skill set that I don’t have. Me: the woman who can’t even make hotel reservations without calling back two or three times to change the details because I keep screwing it up - I am training for something.
When I calm down enough, I remember that God has his hand in my life. Each drive-through day has a pattern that I can’t see, one that I would never have planned for myself, but one that stretches me. For that pattern, I’m grateful. It makes me feel not so frazzled, not flailing so wildly. It makes me feel like there is calm in the chaos.
Does it make me feel more capable? Nope. But it does make me not panic, and maybe that’s all I need to be learning right now. To not stress when I feel overloaded. To stay calm when the kids are calling from the coach’s phone. To realize that there are some things that just won’t be done, that sometimes we will just be late, and that’s okay.
I am in training to trust God with my life’s pattern.
Dear God, thank you for ordering my life. Please help me to stay calm in the chaos of activities, and to trust your pattern. Thank you, Amen.