Monday, May 07, 2012

Let's Make a (I)Deal

Several years ago, I started taking the kids out on Friday to do a little "writing" time. We started it for two reasons: 1.) to further their creativity and enjoyment of writing; and 2.) to give us some supplemental time towards our Language Arts.

It was a perfect way to get us through the week...the proverbial "carrot."

It started off well.

We split our time between Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles, since both had wonderful cafes and the perfect writing environment (and, more important, good coffee for Mommy).

Fast forward a few months...and now I was pregnant with #3. It was still a good way to keep us (mostly) focused through our weekly schoolwork.

I began to look forward to the time as much as (or more than?) the kids.  But somehow #2 was getting bored with the idea; #1 found the environment at Barnes & Noble too distracting -- she would have rather been reading all those awesome-looking books.  So we tried to change the day...and time.

Still, it was hard.

Each week, I had the ideal writing time pictured in my brain. We would go with our notebooks and pens and get our drinks, and then we would dutifully spend an hour together writing from our souls.


Fast forward still another few months and #3 arrives. Of course, some changes were inevitable. For one thing, the newest guy had his own idea of what his schedule should be...and we had to help him work into our family/school schedule. Thankfully, he did beautifully.

But writing time still got shuffled around based on naptimes, feeding times, diaper-changing times, and basic tiredness-all-around times. We got out of practice for a little while.

Enter "Homebucks," our own little writing cafe, done at home with home-brewed drinks and yummy snacks.

Yeah, it worked for a little while -- and it ended up being a great backup for times when writing time just wouldn't work out otherwise.

Once #3 got old enough to miss the occasional mid-morning nap, we ventured back to our old haunts and tried to rekindle our tradition.

Hmmm...somehow it didn't fit the ideal of what we'd once had. An impatient #3 was not interested in sitting -- happily or unhappily -- while we wrote the latest installment of our characters' adventures.

Yet again, my ideal was smashed to pieces as I tried to figure out how to make it work. And yet again, the image of sitting around a cafe table, writing together whilst drinking our bistro drinks, flashed through my mind. Babies crying or throwing everything on the floor didn't fit into those visions.

I was ready to quit.

And then it happened. I realized that we -- more likely I -- had to be patient. My "ideal" needed to be an evolving concept, changing with the children and our moods and experiences during the week.

This past Friday, I sat back and looked at my kids, all enjoying this special time together, whether writing or playing with cars or drawing/coloring in a book, and I knew that I was already experiencing my ideal.

Sometimes, you have to be thankful for what you already have, instead of looking for more.

Thankful for that and a few dozen cookies, cars, and other bribes necessary to bring the moment some peace.

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