Technically, I still have one more day. The kids don't go back to school until Tuesday. But with Trent headed back to work tomorrow and all the kids activities back on it feels over. My chalkboard days of the week calendar has been empty and bare for 2 weeks. It still has on the thanksgiving saying. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were so busy I never put up another one and the weeks of vacation I just never wanted to be bothered by it, so here I am January 4th and my quote board says "It's all about thanks and giving".
I have such mixed feelings about the kids returning to school. I love them being around. We play games, go to movies, go out to eat, sleep in, and relax just fine. The pressure of being the cruise ship activities director does start to take its toll, though. I'm ready for someone else to plan out their time.
We had a tragic event happen to an old friend during the break that has left me really contemplative about me and my role in my kids lives. It makes me again realize the importance of surrounding my kids with many different and varied role models and influences in their life so that if something ever happened to me, that my kids would have many, many different women (and men) in their lives who care about them and can mentor them. While I obviously want to have a large role in my children's lives, more so I want them to be able to see and learn from so much more than me. I recognize that the world and knowledge is so much bigger than me. I want to help them find guides and paths that they want to follow and watch their travels far more than I want to be their actual guide (in most instances). It's hard to be the guide and let your followers feel they have a choice.
I give my kids this analogy often. Life is a juggling act. Every interest and every pursuit is a ball. When you can successfully keep all the balls in the air, then you will be happy and only they can know which balls and what sizes they want to juggle. What I do know is that every ball comes with a guide (i.e. if you want to play piano, then your piano teacher is the guide). And every guide will want you to focus on their particular ball. And that ball can grow in size and grow in time required and that will please the guide, but it may not be what interests you. My job as a parent is to help my kids choose their balls and choose the relative size of those interests in their life. One of them may want a giant BAND ball or a GIANT swimming ball while another might want a smaller piano ball. There will always be a ball for sleep and one for family and one for faith and 5 or 6 for school. And in every case, each one could grow significantly larger than all the others which is fine, if that is what they want . . . but the real challenge in life is be in control of the size and importance of each pursuit. No one else may ever understand why one juggles the things they choose, but happiness is consciously choosing the pursuits and the time they occupy. Misery is juggling interests you don't want or feeling obligated to a particular pursuit beyond your desired time commitment. Saying no is a hard thing. The piano teacher or the band director or the coach might be disappointed, but it is not their life.