I had kind of a revelation yesterday. You'll have to bear with me and listen to it, because these days, life is so busy that revelations just don't happen very often.
Matt had a commitment to help out at All-Star tryouts for Little League last night. In addition, we had tickets to watch the "almost pro" college summer baseball team here in town. The decision was made to grab some dinner together, leave Matt and Chance at the tryouts while Colton and I did some grocery shopping, and then meet up at the baseball game.
On a side note, those of you who remember my goal from one of my previous shopping trips - I did it!! I finally saved more than I spent - and by a HUGE margin, too. How cool is that? My Safeway receipt showed a balance owing of $37.63, and a total savings of $76.04. Now, for those of you skeptics (like Matt was) - I bought real stuff, I just made sure it was on sale plus a coupon - I got roasts, pizzas, milk, cereal, snacks, cookies, mac & cheese, + more! WOO HOO!!!!
Okay, back to my regularly scheduled post. Colton and I had a GREAT shopping trip. Matt was fully expecting to meet the tired, overworked, headache-laden, post-shopping mom at the baseball game - but I wasn't! Somehow, it was completely different just shopping with one kid. No fights, no competition, no whining. Just good conversation, lots of lessons (from the now self-crowned shopping queen), respectful requests, and a successful trip.
So then, I looked back to the spring, when Chance and I had the opportunity to have breakfast before school a couple of times. It was the same thing - a completely different restaurant experience with just one kid. No playing the silverware drums, no whining, no kicking the booth, etc. We just had some great morning talks, Chance politely ordered his own breakfast, we did the place mat puzzles together with dull crayons, and had a fabulous time.
I know I have spoken with many of my mommy friends regarding this phenomenon. That two kids doesn't just double the work - it is somehow magnified in exponential proportions. I guess, because along with their own demands, they bring the demands of interacting as well.
So, where does that leave us in the parenting dynamic? It is both unrealistic and unhealthy to have Matt and I split the kids up the majority of the time, if even for the sake of sanity. They need to learn to respectfully interact with each other. We need to learn to function peacefully as a family unit. At the same time, each child is obviously seeking some "alone time" with their parents - time when they know they are special, when their thoughts and ideas don't get interrupted, and they are attentive to the lessons you are trying to teach them.
I think God is saying the same thing (through my children, as He so often does). As His church on this earth, we need to worship in a corporate environment. His Word says that each part is essential - as is each part of your body. The church can do so many great things in this world, working together, each individual contributing their own special talents.
At the same time, we all so desperately need individual time with God. Time each day to talk with our Father uninterrupted, where we know we are special, and we are attentive to the lessons He is trying to teach us.
Lord, help me to find joy in both the corporate and the individual - in my family and in each member uniquely - in my church and in my personal time with You each morning. You are making me new each day . . .