The first couple of days and weeks after Eli died I can remember a lot of feelings and emotions. One thing clearly stood out to me. Greg and I still talk about this nugget of wisdom that we acquired through this very hard experience. That is to be still; have time; just be with your children. Bedtime comes every single day for the kids. We have a list of expectations that we expect the kids to do before bed (pj’s, brush teeth, use the bathroom, get a drink of water, then stories and snuggles. I know that both Greg and I look forward to our time alone together and just alone period. We often rush this whole bedtime process beacause most likely we did not give ourselves enough time to begin with. Or maybe we just did not give enough time for the children who like to take a LONG time doing these steps.
Some nights I am just tired after a busy day with the kids. Maybe it was a lot of teaching and correction. Or it could have been a problem with the house itself; or the kids were crabby and not getting along. Whatever the case most nights I am ready to head to the couch. I am thinking about me, me, and me. Not about this precious time with the kids at the end of the day. I am thinking, “I hope they choose a short story tonight”. I am thinking, “how long does it take to go to the bathroom?” I confess that I am very “me” focused at this time at night.
I am really writing this blog right now as I have forgotten about the special time after Eli died. I am forgetting what is was like to have peace at 8:30 and night and wanting more time with my children. I can hear it already, “But Tiffany you homeschool, you are a stay at home mom, you are with your children all day, it is okay to want a break.” I even tell myself these things. I do agree that we have to still have time as a couple and some downtime, but should I crave my me time over snuggle time? My kids are ages 1,4, and 7. There will be a day when they will not want to cuddle with me anymore; I take that for granted right now.
Okay…back to the big lesson that I learned after Eli died. I wanted my kids close to me. I was so happy to just lay in their room or bed and just listen to what they had to say. I did not watch the clock, I did not lose my temper. I did not hurry them along. I was just there. I did not worry that they would get to bed 15 minutes later than I had planned; I was just there. I was happy to be there too. I was not thinking of the laundry to fold, the dishes to be cleaned up, the book I wanted to read. I did not want to be anywhere but with them. I knew how precious life is. We are not guaranteed a certain number of days to live. Death has a way of making it all clear and put into perspective. But since it has been 2 1/2 years since Eli has died I have forgetten this. I have forgotten how to just be with the children.
This time together was what my heart needed. My very body needed to be near the children. So what happened? I think I started to become selfish again. I think I forgot to remember how short our children are with us.
This time together was the kids’ favorite part of the day. They were so calm and really took cues from us how bedtime could be a joyous time of the day instead of a dreaded time of the day. Sometimes I feel like if I read an extra story one night they will want that every night. Or if I snuggle longer than the alloted time than I will never leave their room. Oh the lies I believe sometime! Who does not want me to spend close intimate time with my children? Satan sure does not. That is itself should tell me that I need to go agaisnt his plan for my family and stick with God’s master plan. God himself wants families to thrive. Satan does not. There really is spiritual warfare and I have to have on my armor for the battle. I must turn away from my self and wants; I must seek God’s wants and desires first.
Right now I am about 12 weeks along in my pregnancy. I am still feeling morning sickness and fatigue that the first trimester brings along. So in the evenings on most nights I am on the couch. I can still interact and do bedtime from the couch or on rare occasions I actually take the kids up and do it up there. But Greg has been taking a lot of bedtime duties during my sick time. But what is to say that I cannot devote this time in the morning or afternoon? Starting tomorrow I will! I will snuggle, read, and talk with the kids in the middle of the day when I am feeling my best. I will explain it is like bedtime fun earlier in the day! I know my body and limits right now. But I can still have that quiet, lovely, one on one time with my kids! It does not really matter what time of the day it has to happen!
Again I wrote this blog to remind me of the important things that I had forgotten. I wrote this to encourage you to “stop” and smell the roses! I wrote this to show that my life is not all together. That I really am not doing everything that I can do. I wrote this is remember that Satan does not want my family to thrive, and I should stand guard to make sure that with God’s help my family does thrive.
Trusting in Jesus,