Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Worth It

We've been doing some "Spring cleaning" around here.  Yes, I know it's December - Christmas even, but whatever...

We're re-arranging a couple of rooms - from arrangements made for our kids many years ago to make room for all the paraphernalia that comes with active teenagers... bikes, drums, guitars, pianos - the big stuff.  Now we're setting up rooms the way we prefer with all that stuff gone.

This process has required a lot of furniture moving, re-organizing, cleaning -- good-for-the-soul stuff.  It's very therapeutic for this girl.

Anyway.... I keep coming across things like this:

and this...

(Please ignore dust bunnies, dead moths, etc...focus on the round objects, as they're the point of this blog post- some of this furniture hasn't been moved in a loooong time!)

Here's the story, followed by the point I want to make:

Many moons ago, we'd been enduring a looooong winter.  With boys.  Restless, bored, can't-go-outside-enough boys.  If you've got older boys, and you've lived through the winter, you know what this is like.  They really start driving you crazy.  My boys spent most of their waking play time with four other boys - two sets of brothers, right about the same age as mine - they were pretty much inseparable.  Sooo, six boys, between the ages of 10 and 13 - they were always, always, always searching for "boy things" to do (this typically involves dirt, risk, high rates of speed, sharp objects, fire, and lots of "what?! what could happen?!" from them).

One of these especially long winter days, they were all at our house.  It was getting long, and loud, and crazy.  Nerves were frayed (mostly mine).  But, I did have the smarts to realize that it was simply because they needed to get some of this "boyness" out of their systems.  So, in a fit of very uncharacteristic leniency, I decided, without their even asking, that they could play air soft gun wars --- in the house.  I went to my bedroom, shut the door, and let 'em have at it.

It was loud, there was lots of banging and shouting and running and shooting and laughing and...all the stuff that goes with boys being boys.  But I stayed in my room.

That was probably 8 or 9 years ago.  They still remember it.  I still remember it.  Anytime I do any deep cleaning, I still find air soft pellets - they seem to grow out of the woodwork - I just don't get it...places that I can not imagine how a pellet made its way there, they're there.

They had so much fun.  And it took nothing from me, except to relax a little.

Which brings me to my point.

One of the regrets I have with my kids is that I didn't have enough fun with them.  I'm a rule-follower.  I like structure and routine.  I like things to make sense and be predictable.  And I pretty much ran our family that way.

I don't think that's all bad.  Kids needs structure and predictability.  They need a sense of routine and familiarity.  But they also need spontaneity and fun.  I wasn't very good at that.  One of my dearest friends is SO good at this.  She'd let her kids bring dirt in the house - dump it on the dining room table - and play - just play!  (I couldn't even wrap my head around that one.)  Her house would be a war zone on snow days for letting them come in and out 6,000 times.  It was the fun house.  

Mine was not.  I could probably easily count on one hand the times that I was the "fun one".  (Now, Brian's a different story - they got their fun, just from him.)

But I did it that day.  I let go.  I have a few knicks in the woodwork, I've been picking up air soft pellets for 9 years.  But, who cares?

They remember the fun.

So... young moms?  This winter, when you're freaking out and cooped up and they're driving you crazy - every once in a while - loosen up, do something goofy that they'd never imagine you'd let them do.  

It's worth it.

I'm picking up air soft pellets when there aren't even any kids left in my house - 

and it's worth it. 

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