There is magic in moments that succinctly summarize the broader context in which they occur.
These magical moments, in their rare occurrences, draw our heart’s attention to the beautiful, right-in-front-of-us details that may have been missed otherwise.
One such moment found my family earlier this month. Born out of the unintentional ordinary; sparked by a last-second call to create unified buy-in for the plan Kelvin and I had just pitched to the kids.
Honestly, it was less of a pitch and more of a “putting on notice”.
It went something like this:
“Now that it’s a new year, now that we are past the holidays, and Mom’s working her new full-time job at school, things are going to change around here, again.
That means we need your help, again.
We need you to take on more responsibilities this year so that we can make the most of the time when all five of us are together—
Yes, like how you’ve been helping with dinner dishes more this week…”
What followed was our first attempt to stake out the new territory that feels like family life wilderness now that, “Mom spent the last nine or so years dedicating herself to homemaking but those days are gone, and oh, let’s not forget we left all our friends and family behind when we moved across the country seven months ago so we are just beginning to build a new support network from scratch.”
We mapped out weekly rhythms: who is doing laundry on which day, when showers would take place, the expectations for daily chores, where they could find the answer to their favorite question (Want to know what’s for dinner? The meal plan is on the fridge!) and what we hoped would become a 2023 saving grace—a strategic plan to ensure each of them get one on one time with us every single day.
All during the span of a dinner conversation, bless it.
Perhaps it was ambitious, but 2022 was a long year. We have experienced unprecedented levels of impatience and crankiness. We were tired and a bit desperate to feel settled into a new normal, something we haven’t really experienced in, ahem, a few years. Mercifully, we had that New Year, New Us energy and we were going to take our shot.
Can we maximize the quality of our family time to offset how we’ve minimized the quantity?
Ask me in December.
The kids, thrilled by the thought of one on one time, barely remembered to clean up their dinner dishes before dashing upstairs to prepare. I couldn’t help but smile at their excited chatter about the potential for epic hide-and-seek games and their giggles at the mischievous plots to make the grown-ups don winter coats to play tag in the dark backyard.
Believing it’s true that if kids could wish for anything, it would be precisely this: the opportunity to play more with their parents; and knowing it’s true that pushing aside the worries of adulting in order to intentionally engage in such a sacred time can feel burdensome, but with a side of guilt; I closed my eyes, and breathed a quick prayer of gratitude followed by an appeal for help.
Enter, magical moment.
“Wait!” I called out, summoning the strength of my enneagram 8 wing 7 self, who rarely misses an opportunity to celebrate or rally. “We need a family cheer!”
With all five hands touching between us, we quickly collected the meaningful words among us and put them in an order that made sense; somehow we arrived at a ten word summary that both encapsulated the transitions we experienced in the last 12 months and named what we hoped to experience in the next 12 months.
Together we shouted, in the 6pm darkness of January 8th, 2023, “We can do it! We’ve got this! Family forever! Love!” and while there was no slowly dropping ball or champagne in sight, it was the most magical New Year celebration I have ever experienced.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Cheers!”.
I'm Jamie and you are welcome here, friend!
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Thank youy so much, Elizabeth! Delight is actually a goal I have for the words I put out into the world!