“OOOUUUUUUTTT!!!! I have to get this page finished!! I have a deadline! Jason!!”
I just wanted a couple of hours to myself to get these pages done, they were due on Monday and with Clay coming in and out all the time it seemed like I was getting nothing done. I had the perfect photo, he was looking straight at the camera, laughing as he flew down the slide, everything was in focus. It captured our perfect little family, having a beautiful family day together.
Except it wasn’t. The clothes he was wearing were carefully chosen to match the perfectly chosen playground with the blue slide, that would look perfect matched with the new papers I had bought, all which would tie in perfectly to the little playground embellishments I had been giving to work with.
I was a scrapbooker. A pretty good one too. Had magazine features and everything. I spent hours pouring over photos, editing, printing, clipping, putting them together with just the right backgrounds and trinkets to display our perfect lives.
Awwwww! It’s gorgeous! Another memory successfully preserved. On to the next.
Noooooooo!!! Here he was again, in out in out, ack. I don’t have time for this, I need to put a lock on that door.
I cringe thinking about those times now, how heartbroken Clay would have been, coming in to see me, his Mummy, only to be told to get out because I had to cut and paste our lives together on a piece of paper.
Now don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of great times together, exploring different playgrounds, going for bush walks, discovering beautiful places, we’d play Lego and paint, make goop and build sandcastles. But how I wish I had spent just a bit more time living the moments rather than constantly trying to capture them.
I came to that realisation one day, when he was about 4, not long after he’d started kindy. It struck me like a ton of bricks. How much time I had put into preserving the memories, rather than authentically creating them.
So I quit.
My priorities changed. I suddenly saw how quickly he was growing, how in just a short amount of time he had gone from newborn to school boy.
The time we have with our children is an incredibly short window. When I think now, about my parents, I realise how much of our lives is spent without our children being a constant presence. When you’re in the thick of it, it can seem like such a long time, but it really isn’t.
Recently our priorities have shifted again. We have always wanted to do a trip around Australia with the kids. It’s always been a dream, something on our “some day” list.
Well, not any more. We’ve penned in a date on the calendar, we are going to go.
We bought a new house last year, after shifting from about an hour away to be closer to family and friends. We’ve found, however, that this house is far too big, far too expensive, and far too time consuming for us to keep it. We don’t want it anymore. So we’re going to sell, and find somewhere that wont impinge on our time together so much, somewhere where we can save for our trip and focus on reaching our goals.
I’m over stuff. I don’t want it. I want time. I want the time to play, the time to just be together.
But. In order to sell this house, we have to do a few renovations. Jason has been working on the bathrooms, while I have been painting. So here I am again. Telling my kids I can’t play, I can’t do this or that, I don’t have the time.
I hate this. I really do. My mind keeps wandering back to the scrapbooking days. I’m aware of it now, though, and so I’m doing my best to make time together a priority, even in the midst of all this paint. Take last Friday, for example, I could have spent the day painting, we didn’t have anything else on, but I chose instead to take the kids to the zoo.
It was a really nice day. I can honestly say, now, that I love nothing more than to spend time with my family. Life gets in the way sometimes, and my short term actions do need to align with my long term goals, but maintaining our connection through all it’s ups and downs is my absolute focus.
Now you’ll have to excuse me, I can hear my hubby playing with the kids, and I want to play too…