Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
It’s finally Memorial Day weekend. Growing up, that would mean the end of school. Start after Labor Day and finish around Memorial Day. Often it was a few days in June before the end of our year. We didn’t have virtual school or e-learning, so when we had to close due to weather, we had to make up those days at the end of the year. My kids wouldn’t have a clue what I’m talking about if I made them read that last sentence. They would probably give me the same look they give me when I try to explain why I can’t just tell the radio to play whatever song they want.
My husband and son are going camping with a few other dads and their sons this weekend. Normally they would go there earlier in the month, but the weather this year has been so temperamental that there really haven’t been many camping opportunities. My son is looking forward to this trip with the boys and my daughters are looking forward to spending time with their mother.
Sometimes we go out to eat or go to the movies. Once I took them for pedicures. It was a hoot to see my youngest trying not to laugh and kicking her technician in the face. Sometimes we’ll play a board game or do our hair or nails at home. No matter what they choose, it’s always a special moment.
When you have several children, it can be difficult to find time to do activities individually or even in small groups. By the time I get home at night or on weekends, I’m exhausted. I could curl up on the couch and watch a show, but it doesn’t take long before I really don’t want to hang out with anyone. Thus, the boys camping trip has become something we all look forward to. This is an opportunity for us to get to know our children better and to create memories.
Time flies so fast – so fast. The older I get, the more I see that every older person who told me this was 100% right. All of a sudden your kids are growing up, then they’re moving out, and you just have to hope you did a good job. Well, fortunately, it’s not that simple. There are things we can do to make sure the scales tip in our favor. Obviously children have personalities and agency and have a lot of control over what they ultimately become, but as parents we can help set the trajectory.
It looks different for every age and for every child, but it’s still important. For my son, it’s watching his favorite show or YouTube video and then talking to him about it afterwards. For my eldest daughter, it’s hiding with her in another room and letting her talk. My youngest still needs extra cuddles and kisses before bed and lots of show and tell time for the drawings she does.
Everyone needs my time. I know that because I’m there for them during the little things, they know I’ll be there for them during the big things. And while I don’t know what the future holds, it helps me feel better as a parent. On that note, I have to go – I have a date with my girls.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mother, coach and dream maker. His column appears every Saturday.