When I saw this photo my eyes were drawn to the children playing happily, but then I looked beyond at the dishes cluttering the side 😯. All I can say is that I thank God daily for my dishwasher!
Phil walked into the kitchen one day earlier this week, he snapped the above photo, he wanted to capture this moment whilst our younger children were all peacefully working together.
You see our house isn’t always harmonious, the day is punctuated with emotions, some joy felt and some portraying the hurt feelings bubbling over. Sometimes one sibling has frustrated another and often I pause to handle another dispute. Phil suggested I could finish my career working for the UN in a peace keeping position, as I have gained much practice in this discipline!
On this particular day though I had discovered the playdough which had been hidden at the back of the fridge and pulled out the shapes and cutters. Hours later, the children were still busy making ‘biscuits’ and other baked delights for their ‘shop’. The peace this new distraction brought was a welcome relief after the persistent requests of, ‘Mummy, what can I do next?’ I have often found the best way to keep children interested in toys is to hide them for a while, then when they are pulled out the novelty gives them a new lease of life; I hadn’t intentionally hidden the playdough though, it had just got buried beneath the other fridge items(my less than perfect housewife skills can sometimes swing in my favour 😉.)
I have that the found the intensity of lockdown life has been quite challenging. Although we have much to do here, the children still look to me as their entertainment director. Not a day goes by when I am not asked what we are doing, what’s for meals and what our plans are for tomorrow. This is often a guilt ridden experience as I realise that I have nothing new and exciting planned, but it drives me to creativity.
As home educators, our life was once filled with groups and clubs, but now the days blend and the only structure to our days is family church on a Sunday. We are trying to add in new activities for each day. So far we have gardening on a Friday and shopping on a Saturday, with the park on a Sunday afternoon. This still leaves me on a Monday wondering how I will fill the next four days and ring the changes to prevent lockdown boredom sinking in.
With the weather having improved this week we have been outside more and I have enjoyed watching the new buds appearing on the trees. As each new bud springs forth I am filled with a renewed hope that all things change and this is just a season.
I have been seeking this week to make the most of this season, to get our home in order. We hope, God willing, to have friends to stay in the Haybarn this summer and so I am working hard to get the house and garden in a better shape for any visitors. Doing anything with little ones is slow though, they do so love to ‘help’! With nowhere else to go though I am in no hurry, so I am learning to slow down and see the world with the same wonder as the smallest children, cherishing everything as a new discovery. Nature isn’t the only thing to bring them wonder though. The contents of our cupboards, unrolling toilet rolls and emptying cereal boxes seem to provide little ones with equal excitement, when my back is turned! Mummy finds the clearing up slightly less entertaining though🧹😬.
Maybe next week I’ll get something done, something solid I can tick off my list, something that goes beyond the daily tasks. Or maybe I will learn to just enjoy the day and be grateful for this calmer season with less activities to distract us and cause us to rush around. This season will pass, but God is using this season, these quieter days, to prepare us, in all ways, for the days ahead.