They got babysat by Scooby-Doo and the Wii Fit board as we spent countless hours painting our Michigan house bottom to top and getting it ready to put it up for sale, packing boxes, making plans, canceling utilities, researching schools and searching for a new place to live here in Georgia etc. etc. etc.
Moving day came and we said some of the most heart-breaking goodbyes we’ve ever had to say and started driving south to spend the “inbetween time” living at my parents’ house. There was a whole new rhythm to our day, a different set of rules to figure out living on someone else’s turf, and Dan traveling 3 out of the 4 weeks we were living there.
Then we moved the rest of the way here, and everything was topsy turvy as we attempted to unpack boxes and find super important things like clean underwear and pillowcases, handsoap, the coffee press and a hammer.
We scurried around like crazy getting the kids registered and ready for school as we literally moved into our house 10 days before the first day of school.
We were zombies–exhausted to the bone and displaced. The kids learned to robotically go where they were told to go and do what they were told to do, but I definitely think we lost some relational ground as we were trying to set up house and figure out our new “normal”.
Now that the dust has settled, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make sure I’m connecting with my kids on a regular basis and find out what they do all day from the time they get on the bus to the time they get off. So I ask a lot of questions at snacktime and dinner.
I have to admit that with 4 little peeps all trying to pipe in, it gets jumbled. I feel like I’m trying to watch 4 TV’s all on at the same time all at full volume but on different channels as I’m attempting to follow each storyline intently. I’m a great multi-tasker, but this is beyond my skills.
So I’ve started inviting each child to “take a walk around the loop” with me. We live on a circle, so there is a perfect little path to take a stroll around that isn’t too far for little legs, but is just long enough for me to ask 2-4 questions, depending on the child and the length of their answers. (Oh Liam, ye child of one word answers…I’ll wrangle more out of you yet!)
I’ve been trying to figure out the names of friends in my kids’ classes, things they like or dislike about school or the bus, how they are feeling emotionally, and (this is the hardest one) asking them if they have any questions for me. Trying to keep the lines of communication open any way I can.
These have been sweet times. They’re not easy for me to do because I am a completionist. I can barely stand to leave the kitchen until dinner has been cleaned up, dishes in the dishwasher, counter and table wiped and floor swept. But I’ve made myself stop and leave things amuck in order to spend time with the kiddos.
And in return, I’ve often found myself breathing a little deeper, misting up while listening to my kids talk or sharing my day with them, and my mood boosted as I spend some time outside with the little ones that all too soon will have traded in their roller blades, bikes and scooters for a different kind of wheels.