While doing the dinner dishes last night, I realized I had a choice: I could empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and load the dinner dishes, OR I could join Philip and the kids in the family room for some play time before bed. Before our Happiness Project, I probably would have opted for doing the dishes so that I could have a clean kitchen before bed. Last night, the new and improved me chose to leave the rinsed dishes in the sink and the clean dishes waiting to be unloaded until morning so that we could hang out as a family.
I brought the camera over and started capturing the moment. I said to Philip, "I'm gonna miss this."
"What?" he asked.
"This. Before we know it, we'll have kids in evening activities, kids staying up until 9 working on homework, and we won't have this time anymore. We won't get to just hang out as a family after dinner, and we won't have our hour of couple time before bed every night."
So, the dishes waited. And, you know what? It's mid-afternoon the next day, and the dishes are still waiting. It turned out the kids wanted to learn about numbers today.
There was great music, lots of dancing, sunglasses, headbands, a tutu, and some trains.
Harry slept through most of it, but he woke up happy and giggling to the show in front of him. (Those sweet little baby giggles are the best!)
In the midst of the dance party, I noticed that dust was collecting on the entertainment center, the sliding glass door was covered in our pup's nose prints, and the walls could use a good scrubbing. I know this sounds silly, but I was so proud of myself for allowing these things to accumulate. It meant I was learning to let a few things go in exchange for more quality time as a family. Things are still fairly tidy, but more often than not, I'm picking family over housework. The balance is increasing everyone's happiness. If I'm gonna miss this, I better keep choosing this.
To transition to sleepy time, Philip read Jane and Walt a few of their current favorites from the library.
Then, it was off to the dinner table for sharing what we are thankful for, our family decade of the rosary, and prayer time. My favorite part of this time is hearing what the kids have to say as we gather around the table. They don't know it, but the things that they say make Philip and I have to cover our faces in laughter or raise our eyebrows in surprise. The emotional pendulum swings from sentimental and sweet to absolutely hilarious every single night.
One of our November Happiness Project Resolutions is to share what we are thankful for each day. I record these items on looseleaf and store them in our family prayer binder. When Philip asked Jane what she was thankful for last night, Jane said, "Being loved by God." Hearing my little one say something like that in her sweetest, most sincere little voice instantly brought tears to my eyes.
Right on cue, the emotional pendulum swung from sentimental and sweet to hilarious. After everyone shared what they were thankful for, Philip announced that we were praying the 4th Sorrowful Mystery - The Carrying of the Cross, and he displayed our laminated image of the mystery. Jane looked at the picture of Jesus carrying the Cross, and she said, "Aw, poor Jesus. That looks like it is too hard. I think he needs more practice! Where is his friend, Simon?"
I'm gonna miss this.
The days are long, but the years are short.
If I'm gonna miss this, I need to keep choosing this.
I'm gonna miss this if I don't keep choosing this.
Copyright 2013 Catherine Boucher
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