Speedy and I like to run around the kitchen exuberantly dancing and singing. Everything from nursery rhymes and Christmas songs to the latest pop hits. We laugh about our ridiculous moves until the dogs perk up their ears and stare as they try to figure out what they’re missing. Sometimes this fun erupts into two-year-old tears, but usually it’s just silly, spontaneous playtime.
Our life can often feel chaotic. Our home features the above mentioned two-year-old, two big dogs, and two less-than-neat adults. It is also a busy dairy operating 365 days a year with farm employees, twice daily milk truck pickup, and feed/supply/service deliveries. I won’t lie; at times things feel overwhelming and I wonder how we can keep doing ALL THE THINGS. But I’m also good at intentionally finding the joy. That saves me. I love seeing Speedy smile and laugh – whether looking at new calves or dancing in the kitchen. We carve out little precious bits of family time because it’s a value we want to weave into the core of his life.
I also deeply value talking with JR over coffee on the mornings that aren’t too crazy. Or it’s good to get tasty takeout pizza and unwind and talk instead of cooking when we’ve had an especially long workday. We have to find time to talk and reflect and laugh. If life becomes nothing but work and stress about work then what are we really doing?
It’s no secret on this blog that I intentionally make time to run. I don’t always have to be racing or training, but I need those miles of cool morning solitude or those afternoons of happy chatter as I run with Speedy in the stroller. Mentally and emotionally it is so important for me to put in those miles, and I’ve finally realized I don’t need to apologize or explain why.
I enjoy my time volunteering to teach elementary kids at church each Wednesday afternoon, and I intentionally spend these hours because I feel and see the difference it makes. I also bring Speedy to worship as often as I can, and we focus on mealtime and bedtime prayers. Hearing his emphatic little “Amen” makes my heart swell. I certainly have a lot of stumbles and worries in my faith journey, and I see my own failings so much more clearly as a parent. But I pray for guidance and a joyful heart as I do my best to model values of love and acceptance and service. Speedy soaks up everything like a little sponge at this age, as I was eloquently reminded of by this post from The Art in Life called “Creating an Intentional Family Culture”.
I don’t keep up with many blogs at the moment, but this post popped up in my feed at just the right time to resonate. My son is only a few months older than the blog author, Hannah, and I think we’re both in the same place with a lot of parenting milestones – though our everyday lives are drastically different.
I’ve always had thoughts on being intentional about love and faith and care for my child, but parenting is more than even that. Over the past few months I have gotten better at having Speedy help me with household tasks like filling the washing machine or dryer and putting away dishes. Often the chores take longer, but that’s not the point. I hadn’t thought about it until I read this post, but it’s part of creating the family culture we want. We believe in teamwork, helping each other, and trying to offer a comfortable hospitality. I am far from a perfectionist about my house, but some things have to be done.
It’s more important for me to offer someone a hot cup of coffee and kind words than perfectly sanitized countertops, and that will probably always be my normal. Maybe Speedy will grow up to be neater than I, but that’s less important than the values that come through us working together. At age two it’s easy to assume I should do most things for my son, and then I’ll feel stressed that I’m not doing enough. If I have the courage and patience to start doing more hand-in-hand together he can take joy in the learning journey and in the result.
I don’t have everything figured out, and being intentional with my time, pursuits, and values is something I’ll always be working on. Reflecting and writing helps me, and sometimes priorities will indeed change. I am hopeful I will always make time to sing and dance in the kitchen with my kids joyfully leading the charge.