Checking In, Not Checking Out

On Saturday, Millie and I made four pie crusts together and eleven dozen rolls. We froze it up in prep for Thanksgiving and the various festivals and feasts taking place this week. I took a big step on Saturday when I gave each of us our own bowls and we mixed up our own pie crusts at the same time. She mixed. She rolled. She fluted the edges. And it was beautiful. It was a significant lesson for me in allowing my kids to do things that are typically easier to just do myself. They never learn when I do that.

I have a default when I’m tired: Do it myself, and be by myself.

Am I alone there? Probably not. And for the introverted mother of four, there is value in being alone. I will go so far as to say I need the two days/week my kids are in school to just keep my mouth shut and be alone. It’s a good thing.

But sometimes I don’t get that luxury and I must be ON all the the time. Either I’m substitute teaching or volunteering somewhere or just doing something that engages me with other people. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does wear me down much faster than I otherwise would.

This is why the last time I substitute taught I choose to come home that evening, get everyone settled, and pick back up in reading James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small to the girls before bed. We started this book well over a year ago, but I will confess to taking several months off from it, for no real good reason at all.

That Tuesday night I was tired. I’d been on my feet all day. The girls had choir rehearsal after school and all of us were away from the house from 6:45am until 8:15pm. All I wanted to do when we got home was check out.

But we read. And we’ve been reading every night ever since. I actually like reading aloud to my kids at night, but sometimes I get so caught up in what I “need” I forget about what I really enjoy.

I’ve said before that May is the new December and August is the new May. Now November is the new August and…basically every month is crazy. Craig is going out of town tomorrow and we have another busy day knocking on our door. It was for this reason that when I was asked to mystery shop a local hotel tomorrow night I actually said I would. There is something about the excitement of packing up for a little overnight trip that changes defaults into delight. The girls and I will cram into the room with cable TV and we’ll watch some movies and we’ll play some games and we’ll eat the free breakfast and we’ll just be together. I won’t check out on them because you really can’t do that when you are in that small of a space for that long. It’s my version of indoor camping, if you will.

So tomorrow night we will check in in order to not check out. I’m looking forward to it.