I was walking around the pool cleaning up abandoned plates and re-lighting torches, I caught a glimpse of all the kids in the pool. They were having an absolute blast. Their shrieks and laughter were pure music to my ears. Focused on the multitude of details with hosting a team pool party I almost missed the fun. I couldn’t believe the party was almost over and I had not yet once looked out at the pool to watch and enjoy the children enjoying themselves.
How many times do we wonder “what’s it all for?” “Why are we doing all this?”
So many times, like that day, the answer is right in front of our faces and we’re too busy and consumed to notice. We need to stop and smell the roses - stop to watch our children having fun with their friends. Share the experience of an accomplishment they’re celebrating, or maybe a quiet conversation with your daughter as she tells you all about her first crush. But sadly we’re too busy scurrying around taking care of life’s details that perhaps can be delegated or can even just wait until later.
Before I knew it, the parents were saying good-bye. “Wait!” I thought. “I’m just now ready to enjoy the party.” I wasn’t ready for everyone to leave. I finally had everything taken care of and the party was over?
Looking back I could have delegated a few of the details and duties to the other parents who were more than willing to help. Who cares that they may have done it differently than I would have? I was just too busy being busy not taking time to ask for help so I could have enjoyed the party as well. I could have talked to a few parents more, gotten to know the coaches a little better and most of all taken the time to enjoy the children having a blast in the pool. Isn’t that why we had the party in the first place? I was saddened and felt I had wasted a perfect opportunity to build relationships, create some fun memories and simply enjoy myself.
A wise friend told me “the people who cry the loudest at funerals are the ones who have regrets”. Now I get what they were talking about. I could have felt satisfied at the end of the evening having enjoyed everyone at the party. But instead I was frustrated that I didn’t get to enjoy and experience the party like everyone else. I could have made different choices to make that happen, I could have delegated more, done less and enjoyed my own party.
When it’s time for our children to head off to forge their new lives we don’t want to cry “WAIT! I just got all the details taken care of and I’m finally ready to sit down and enjoy you”, only to learn that it’s too late.” Instead send them off with a warm hug knowing you did your best.
Sure you made lots of mistakes but you gave it and them your all and you DID YOUR BEST.
Take the time today to enjoy your children. Leave the laundry until later or get the kids to help you fold as you talk about the fun things you did that day or would like to do tomorrow. Vacuum later. Your children won’t look back on how well you kept a clean house and took care of all the details. They’re going to look back and smile and maybe even laugh with a warm feeling inside when they remember the times you played outside, baked a cake or made dinner together. They’re going to remember the conversations you had.
Don’t worry about what others think if they see the mess you left behind that day to go have fun with your kids. They just might look at your mess or your pile of laundry and then look at your children and the relationship you have with them and want to be just like you. And suddenly you became their inspiration.
Enjoy your family, your friends and your life now. Set quality time as a priority in your life and you will find the time - no matter how scarce it is. We are not promised tomorrow.
You’ve got this.
Michelle Weber is the owner of Family Enrichment Tools, LLC and the creator of the Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Cards. Her passion is helping families reconnect around the family dinner table while celebrating choices and character. Start your new family traditions today. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter
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