With the combination of our move this summer, the new semester starting, and continuing to contemplate the reality that, Lord willing, we will travel to China sometime in early 2013 to adopt Cai Qun, it’s perhaps inevitable that I’d be doing some reflection about our lives, our schedules and routines, and where my focus should be. It’s been hard for me really to look at everything I’ve been doing and evaluate my time usage, but it needed to be done. I like mentoring younger women and being available to meet with anyone who asks. I love taking classes through CCEF and getting the opportunity to do some lay counseling through our church. I enjoy chatting with friends over breakfast or tea or a walk. I like having things on my calendar, events to look forward to throughout the day.
But I’ve been realizing lately that trying to do all of these different things is not really working out all that well. True, nothing is falling apart – but we’re moving toward adding another little person to this family, and that is going to be chaotic, so it would really be ideal if we weren’t already one step away from disintegration before she even arrives. We’ve been sleeping in too late, which means we accomplish next to nothing during the morning (which is half over before we even get out of bed), none of us are ever getting in any exercise, Miranda’s naptime is pushed later and later, we’re rushing to make dinner and we still eat later than would be ideal, Miranda’s bedtime is also pushed later and later, and despite the fact that we’re wiped out and getting nothing done, Matt and I stay up super late, prompting us to sleep in too late again the next day, thus perpetuating the cycle.
So I decided all of that really needs to stop. I’ve been setting my alarm for 7:30 the past couple days and actually getting up when it goes off. I realize that (1) 7:30 is not that early and (2) getting up when your alarm goes off is a standard expectation for most people, but these are significant changes in our household.
And I’ve made myself a loose outline of a daily schedule. Miranda and I have had so few days that we’ve actually spent here at home lately that we haven’t needed a “what we do on a day at home” routine. Step one in developing an “at home” routine – actually spend enough days at home during the week that you could begin to establish some sort of consistent pattern! We’re working on that 🙂
I had a friend remind me a little over a year ago that it’s a lot easier to make gradual changes in what you’re doing with your life than to attempt a 180 degree turn when things finally get completely out of hand. And when I look at the vision I have for us and our family versus the lifestyle we’ve been living, two things stand out to me. First, in something like six months, we are, God willing, going to be arriving home with a little girl who doesn’t know us, doesn’t speak our language, and doesn’t have any idea what it’s like to live in a family. Other than investing in my relationship with God, my focus will need to be on caring for her (and Matt and Miranda). Second, we’d like to homeschool our children, and as early as next fall, Miranda will probably be ready to do some early preschool-type activities. The thing about homeschooling, though, is that it will require me to have dedicated time with my kids, often at home. I really need to start getting into a routine of setting aside time for that now. Even if we aren’t doing “school” right now, we can read books, do puzzles, and talk about life. Being a mom is what I feel called to do, and that’s the stuff of motherhood. And really, that’s what I love. What could be more wonderful than something like an afternoon snack with my little girl after her nap?
When I stop and think about the big picture, these motherhood moments are among the ones I most treasure. The people I most want to invest in are my children. It’s so easy, though, in my day-to-day life to say yes to that ministry about which I’m excited or that meeting to which someone wants me to come. And I don’t want to write off all of that entirely. I want my kids to learn that in our family, we serve God, and we serve other people. It’s not all about us, not even close. And I want them to learn about true, deep friendships and see what those look like. But I also want them to know that in my life, Jesus comes first, then Matt, and then them, and nothing else even comes close. I want to take the time to hear Miranda’s stories, to reassure her, to tickle her, to cook with her, to snuggle with her before she gets into bed.
Part of me does feel like I miss out on things when I don’t get to go to the conference that sounds so exciting or get together regularly with every single woman at church whom I’d love to get to know. It is hard for me to make choices about priorities, but I think these choices are good. If I’m allowing myself to be pulled in every direction, I can’t be giving much of myself to anyone anywhere, and that’s not who or what I want to be. What I do, I want to do well.
And these past few days have been good. We’ve spent a lot more time at home and had a lot more time to enjoy each other’s company and also get some of those important things I’ve kept putting off indefinitely accomplished. This morning Matt took Miranda out for a breakfast date, and I got some work done, and when they came home, she and I sat in the playroom and read books for 45 minutes, and she “cooked” some ice cream for me in her play kitchen. And this evening we worked on thank you notes for our amazing friends and family who have contributed financially toward the costs of our adoption.
And tonight when we called my brother to wish him a happy birthday, Miranda told him over and over again about how she had had a good day today. I had a good day, too, and I’m looking forward to many more 🙂