BUSY IN BRISTOW: Taking Time with Each Child

| January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments | Busy in Bristow

busyinbristow-1Oldest Daughter and I just got back from our first ever Girl Scout Lock-In. Wake up was at 5 a.m., and after we ate a glazed donut and stuffed our sleeping bags back into their sleeves, we braved the 9-degree cold, coaxed the car into warming up, and drove home. My plan was to go back to bed – immediately – and I did just tuck my daughter in, but then I remembered today is Column Day. What better topic than Mother-Daughter time?

Because I have two girls, I find it a challenge to get alone time with each of them. Oldest Daughter showed an interest in Girl Scouts when she was 5, and another mom was starting up a troop, so I agreed to sign on as an extra pair of hands. From the beginning, I knew it was going to be “our time” together/alone.

Whether she needed help gluing yarn onto a glass jar or sewing her first stitches to make a hair bow, there was always something to do with Oldest Daughter in Girl Scouts. Since those early days, we’ve learned campfire songs together, taken a dozen local trips, and marched in five consecutive Christmas parades. She’s built friendships with other girls in the troop, and she’s learned leadership skills. And through it all, she and I have looked forward to events that were just for the two of us and not also for her younger sister, two brothers and father.

Until now.

Youngest Daughter wants to be a Girl Scout too, and this year I’m starting a Brownie level troop for her and her friends. The lock-in we just attended? Not just Juniors. I realized once we got there that I could have signed her sister up too. But wait just a minute. My girls and I do lots of things – the three of us – and I want to protect Oldest Daughter’s and my time together while starting a similar tradition with Youngest Daughter.

Spending quality time with just one of my children at a time feels luxurious … almost like I’m getting away with something. For years, other moms have advised me to build that time in – to have a day each week that’s just for me and one kid (and for Dad to do the same), but I admit – as the kids grow up and the minutia of their lives becomes increasingly difficult to control – I do a poor job of planning, well, anything.

Around here, it gets done if it has a deadline imposed by an outside party, or if not doing it renders us unable to function. Clean house? You betcha … when the guests are coming, the first ones to arrive find me finishing up the vacuuming and last minute bathroom scrub. Meals? They require thought in order to shop and prepare, so those usually get planned a day or two ahead of time. Likewise, we’ve gotten into a workable pattern with laundry, and one of us usually sees the gas needle dipping down and fills up the car, but these are the basic requirements of living in the modern world.

Spending quality time with each child one child at a time when you have four of them is a feat that we either stumble into or get as a byproduct of our children’s activities.

So, last night when I got my second wind and Oldest Daughter and I bounced a HUGE yoga ball back and forth before she joined her troop for some games on the other side of the gym, that was fun. Reading a chapter of Little House on the Prairie and snuggling on the air mattress before we settled in for our four hour of sleep? Priceless.

I realized that this morning when Youngest Daughter saw me share one last private moment with her older sister and said, “Good – you’re home.”

Immediately, I felt the anxiety of dividing myself into four again, and the lingering wonder of one on one time. This afternoon, it’ll be Youngest Daughter’s turn because she needs a haircut, and if I’m smart, I’ll take her for a treat afterwards so she and I can get some time together, alone.


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