We have entered “that stage” of parenthood. Depending on which way you look at things: it’s either a foreboding warning of things to come or a brief oasis just in time in a barren desert. That’s right, the kids are all gone this weekend!
Matthew and Greta took off this afternoon with their Pathfinder Club for the Bible Experience competition this weekend. Michael leaves early tomorrow morning for two days of choir performances. Their laundry is still here. Their places at the table are here, so it’s not a truly empty nest by any means, but Karl and I are home alone for the weekend!
Truthfully, we will both miss all three of the children, terribly. But equally true will be the welcome of the time alone together, no distractions and interruptions from the offspring. Schedules have been crazy with the kids lately, especially Michael as a senior this year, so some alone time to catch our breath will truly be a blessing.
I do plan to learn from the experience, however. If I find myself bored or not sure what to do, I need to start making a list of some of my hobbies and so forth that I have gladly set aside while raising children was top priority. It’s our first foray into all three children being gone on outings at the same time, without us. There is a little pain, actually, that this is an experience they will have that we won’t be a part of, but it is as it should be – some day. But not yet.
It doesn’t happen very often, but I saw my oldest son go through information overload this weekend. Perhaps it comes from being a senior in high school and having in less than two months time the following: SAT, ACT and semester final exams. The finals start tomorrow. I’m hoping Michael recovers from the ACT in time to switch gears to finals.
There comes a point where you’ve pushed yourself too much, too far, too fast and you have to disengage. We tried all sorts of things to help Michael relax from the test so he could get back to regular homework assignments due Monday morning, but it was laughter that finally eased the tension. As the wise man said, a merry heart is like a good dose of medicine!
Overload is easy to experience, especially around the holiday times. Before your natural instincts to shut down and disengage go into autopilot – make sure you take some time to laugh. Watch some kids playing at a playground. Read a corny joke book. Watch one of the “Thou Shalt Laugh” presentations or post a joke on social media and ask others to keep it going.
The people around you want to stay connected, so take a moment to laugh instead of having to disengage. Enjoy the holiday season. Laugh!!
My oldest son goes to a small Christian school, where he is a senior this year. The first Saturday night of each school year, there is a Junk Scramble. The four corners of the gym are stations for the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors respectively. There they set up camp, students bringing whatever they could find and whatever they think might be called for.
More than just the fun of seeing which class can be the first to bring “something reptile” to the center of the gym to the scrutiny of the awaiting judges, is the awareness of the classes getting to know each other better. In Michael’s class, I saw several times where seniors had the chance to do a little more preparation, and some of them just played basketball. In fact, it was quite obvious since each class wears a different color that night, that only seniors were messing around while all of the other classes were busy at their stations, organizing their junk and trying to be ready to quickly grab and run once the game began.
Michael reminded us that the junk scramble comes just before the election of class officers. I mentioned what I had seen and gave him some advice. Those seniors that were goofing off and messing around, don’t elect them to leadership positions. They didn’t show they were there to help and prepare. They didn’t take it seriously.a
I think the school is very wise to give the students such a fun and “ice breaker” type of activity at the beginning of the year to give students a chance to see what kind of personalities are in their classmates and who can they really count on. Perhaps more businesses and institutions should have junk scrambles for adults. Does a supervisor need to know who is up for a promotion? A junk scramble just might reveal who is working and who is not taking things seriously.