For the past eight years, I have had at least one child that naps. For eight years, I have had a small break in the middle of the day to clean up a bit, read a good book or just stare at the lake behind my house and appreciate the quiet. My eight year streak is officially over.
“I’m a big girl, Mommy. I can just have quiet time in my bed like my boys do,” my daughter announced matter-of-factly. Her “quiet time” has consisted of ripping down the little canopy over her bed, jumping from her bed to the floor and giving medical advice to Pooh Bear and Barbie. My boys napped until five years old (an anomaly, I know) and when I instituted quiet time, they sat in their room looking through books. This has been a whole new experience.
I wish I could tell you I have taken this in stride. I haven’t. I give my kids my all during the morning and I need that hour of quiet time to physically and mentally prepare for the afternoon. I need time to talk to my friends and check out cute shoes online. I need to just worry about me for a tiny bit of the day. That is patently impossible to do with my daughter destroying her room upstairs. My frustration was mounting on the fifth day of not napping when I looked out at the water sparkling with sunlight. I felt a small voice telling me that I was being given something, not having something taken away.
I took the dog out and breathed in the warm and humid Florida air. I suddenly wanted to go to the pool. I wanted to splash with the kids and feel the sun on my back. And then I realized I could leave right that minute. I didn’t have to wait for anyone to wake up.
I marched up the stairs, bathing suits in hand. “Everybody up! We’re going to the pool!” They peaked out of their rooms, worried that someone had stolen their mother and replaced her with some crazy person.
“But, what about quiet time?” my rule loving oldest asked.
“Let’s play instead. Sound good?”
They all started cheering (literally cheering) and grabbed the bathing suits to get changed. We drove down to the pool with the windows down and the music blasting. I dove right in with them and watched all their “cool tricks”. We laughed more than we have in awhile. I climbed out to warm up and as I soaked in their joy and innocence I suddenly felt grateful. Life with children is never predictable but it is always an adventure.
I’m still instituting quiet time, but my heart has changed. My daughter can jump off her bed all she wants – I’m still taking that hour for myself. And afterward, a fun afternoon is there for all of us to enjoy. It has shown me that so many things in life can be looked at in two ways. We can look at all we’ve lost or focus on what we’ve gained. Whatever we seek, we are sure to find. It’s not always as easy as flipping a switch in our minds but it is possible. Sometimes it’s just about making that decision.
Is there something changing in your life today that makes you feel out of control or frustrated? Look for the things you have gained. Trust that God has something better in mind.