Last year was the first year since I was 7 years old that I didn’t ski at all. The timing of my pregnancy was such that I was out for the entire season. I feel as though the Lord is being very kind to me right now, because that baby is so easy that we can work skiing around him. My daughter can push his stoller around the lodge while I teach his big brother, a sitter can happily keep him at home while I get in some runs of my own. It is a miraculous gift to have an easy baby. Today he even spent half the day in the Ergo while I walked up and down the beginner area coaching Jimmy through his turns.
Anyway, back to the topic, which is how this sabbatical is teaching me to prioritize JOY.
I had to be pretty willful about the things that we would miss while we are here. I couldn’t do this every year, but this year I have drawn a line and said that this is my highest priority. I am coming home 3 times, each for just a day, and to me that is really too many, but they cannot be avoided. Otherwise, I cancelled everything. That is one way to prioritize joy – we have to make room for it in our schedules! Swim practice and ballet and doctors appointments and returning emails all have their place, but I think it is actually really healthy to say, from time to time, I am on vacation and I am not doing that. You don’t even have to go away, you could just clear the family calendar for one week (one day!) and do the things around town that give you joy. Actually, I first learned this in the fall when, in the depths of a postpartum meltdown, I dropped everything and spent the day taking pictures of my children at the apple farm. Those pictures still recharge me.
Second, since I am in vacation mode, I am taking more joy in the everyday things. If you go to Disney World, even when you are giving your kids a bath in the hotel, you try to make it part of the fun, be present and joyful while doing it. That was how I treated bath time tonight. It was not a chore, it was a fun time to be with my little boys, scrub them up and listen to their silly games. Look how cute Teddy was in his towel after his bath! On vacation, I take pictures of everything, because I want to treasure all the little moments. I need to get back to doing that in life! Treasure the moments, be present, be fun, enjoy it!
Third, I am remembering that it is easier for me to be joyful (and patient) with the children because I am getting a little bit of what I need every day. When we get home, I hope to figure out the best way to make this happen. Maybe it is making time for a walk or bike ride in the park, sometimes with children along and sometimes alone. I need exercise and nature every day. When I have a sitter and I get errands or appointments done, that doesn’t lift my soul. When I have a sitter and I go to social stuff, that is fun but for me it is also kind of draining. Quiet time with nature charges me up so that I can be open to the grace of each day.