New Hands. That is what we used to say when we got a new setter during a volleyball game. It was a heads-up, that the game was changing, and hopefully, for the better.
Our daughter is now out of school for the summer and “new hands” feels like the change-up in my schedule. She is done with 5th grade and heading into 6th. I strongly sense that this is the last summer, that I’ll have with my “little girl.” She is changing so quickly and so are our lives.
She plans on signing up for Cross Country in the fall. Who knew that she would be asked–challenged–to run 200 miles this summer?! THAT’s going to take a chunk of MY time! She can’t just go out and run off by herself because she’s 11 and I won’t let her.
As I’ve thought through our summer schedule, I’ve been convicted that I need to continue to get up early, so that when she wakes up, I am available to her. Too often, in the past, we are fighting for the same scrap of time. We both vie to get our needs met or our tasks accomplished and our priorities collide. Mine, might be “work” while hers is getting my attention, somehow. Quality time is her love language.
This morning, as I walked into her room, she asked me to help her put up (in the high places, where she cannot yet reach) her glow-in-the-dark butterfly/flower garden adornments. Gladly, I did, until I began to think about the ticking clock and I thought about how I intended on spending MY time to study. Then that still quiet voice encouraged me to stay in the moment and finish well. I surrendered to the “job well done” and stayed until every last flower was placed. We talked about where to put them and how color moved around the space. These are the same walls, I painted my version of Vincent’s Starry Night, over 11 years ago. I didn’t know that she would be a she. Besides, stars and Vincent, are awesome, period.
Her creativity, layered over mine. A short time later, she is nestled on the couch reading, as am I. I find myself joyful and full. She sits quietly, in the same room, devouring a book. True “quiet time” in our home. Although I am suppose to be studying, I can’t help but recall the years, I tried to read or study, only to have her wake up and want me to play or need fed. Today, we shared silence and space, content to be together and read. It’s taken me so long to realize that when I give, I get. When I appropriately surrender my agenda to love her, she is content and then I get “my time.” Just now, we put up a fort in the basement. We are having a camp out and I am trying to cram this last bit in to get the post done. And, wake up early, so that I can accomplish the work I need, before she wakes for the day, then leave for meetings until after her bedtime.
Today, my “plan” worked. Hopefully, tomorrow will too. I thank God for the time with her and the joy that filled my heart. One day at a time, right?
Do you have anything you have learned parenting, on how to love your child well? What has worked for you?