I titled this entry after a section of the same title in the book The Search for Significance: Seeing your true worth through God's eyes by Robert S. McGee.
This section comes near the end of the book, after you've been presented with all of the necessary information to make changes. The Trip In talks about what life might look like once you've actually started to implement those changes.
This post is about that, but not necessarily with relationship to the aforementioned book. It's about the myriad of life changes this family has experienced in the past years since I quit my job as a high school theatre/English teacher and set off on a new journey with new priorities and a different focus. It's come to a pinnacle now that Jonah is out of school.
Last night was so demonstrative of the changes in our family life that I felt the need to write.
Yesterday was relatively lazy. Mostly because Michael and I were up until midnight the night before catching up on Glee (don't judge!) and hanging out - catching up with each other. We've both been so busy that it feels like we just trade off children sometimes lately, and quality time wanes. It was worth the lack of sleep, but with my energy down, there was a lot more quiet activity in the house (barring a rousing game of full contact hide and seek and several games of "chase around the kitchen" and a brief wrestling match (2 kids vs. 1 mom). Before dinner, I returned several items to the library and paid off an unfortunately hefty fine, and Jonah watched a Pokemon film while Michael made green pasta for dinner. After dinner, Jonah and Maeryn began a Backyardigans marathon that was still going strong after Maeryn hit the sack and Michael and I were ready for bed. We told him to turn off the lights before he came up and to have a great night.
At 2:30 AM, Jonah knocked tentatively on our door and asked if Michael would please put him to bed. I looked at the clock in shock, and yes, I admit it, a little bit of horror. 2:30 AM!!!! My six year old was going to bed at 0230! I felt guilty for a moment. I must be a horrible parents, allowing my child to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Staying up until the hours of deepest darkness watching a television program...
And then I remembered... this is OKAY.
My trustworthy son did not require babysitting in the safety of our living room behind a locked door with us in the house in case of emergency. He got himself a snack of Craisins and cereal to keep his stomach from rumbling during his marathon and he drank copious amounts of water, refilling the same cup over and over to save on dishwashing. He was watching a great program including dancing, singing, classic literature, imaginative storytelling, historical figures, science experiments, and tons of other educational information. And when he was tired, and through with his activity, he turned everything off and came up to bed. It's 1050 now, and he's still sleeping. And that's OKAY. We have no planned events today. There is no where to which we must rush. There is NO REASON that he shouldn't be able to stay up as late as he likes to finish something that he wishes to finish. No reason other than someone somewhere decided that children should go to bed at a specific bedtime - perhaps so that parents could have more time to themselves.
Don't get me wrong. I think that children who attend school in a more traditional way need to go to bed at a specific time so that they can function. When you get up earlier, naturally you should go to bed earlier - but Jonah doesn't have that obligation.
Michael and I have set up a great entertainment center in our bedroom, consisting of Michael's old computer with huge monitor and his old speakers for sound, and when we want to veg and watch a movie or television program or talk, we go upstairs and do just that.
There is so much freedom when you stop thinking about what you SHOULD be doing and think through the reasoning for those "have to-s".
Yesterday the kids and I made a cake because we wanted to eat one. It ended up horrendously crumbly - so we ate it in bowls with gobs of icing and strawberries as topping. It was awesome. We ate that at 11:30. We ate lunch at 2:30.
I felt WEIRD about that.
And insane after realizing that I felt weird.
I felt like I was a bad mom because we didn't have lunch at 11:30, and instead we had cake.
But really? Who says you have to eat lunch around noon? Is that some rule? Perhaps a societal norm, but only for convenience sake. Why shouldn't we eat when we feel hungry? And why snacks at 10 and 3 and meals at 8 and noon?
I've started to be more in tune with my body. I don't really like icing all that much. I like cake. I like strawberries - but at 2 I didn't want cake again. I wanted a taco salad. We had it leftover from the night before. So I ate it. At 2. Not at noon. At 2. And that's OKAY.
My son just woke up. It's 11AM. He is SO happy. Well rested. Excited to be alive.
So WHAT if he was up until 0230. SO. WHAT.