“Up, Up and Away” my kids cry as Daddy picks them up above his head to fly up the stairs for baths.
As I think about how quickly time flies, I am reminded that it is our job as parents to help our kids grow up, up and away. The time we have with them at home to explore the world together, learn about baby Jesus, curl up together reading books, have my nose chewed on by a baby, is so very short.
It can be hard in the constant hustle and demands of the day to relish these precious moments together. My kids will only want me to hold theirs hands or tell them a story for a short time. Laundry will always need to be washed and dust will never fail to accumulate but children are only this young and anxious for my time and undivided attention for a limited time.
Thomas Moore wrote that family is “the nest in which the soul is born, nurtured, and released into life.” This year as I reflect on the future flight of my little Birds, I am striving to make my nest a safe haven in which to nurture, guide and enjoy them as they grow.
I want to simplify our life so that we can focus on the things that are important. We are so blessed to be able to afford toys, clothes and activities for our children but more is not always a good thing. The more toys they have the less they enjoy playing. They get lost in the confusion of toys and pull everything out overwhelmed by choices. Then they take hours to clean up what should be a 15 minute job. I don't think kids are any happier with their hundreds of toys than kids were when they only had 2 or three toys.
Why is it so hard to pair down toys and clothes? I find myself holding onto everything "just in case" instead of purging so that what we do have can be enjoyed more. I am so tempted to get rid of 90% of all their toys and 50% of all their clothes. But why do I never do it?
I have started purges so many times. I go into their rooms with the intention of eliminating most of the oversupply. I usually manage to get rid of a few things but it is so hard to get rid of anything that they have enjoyed even if for only five minutes in the last 6 months. When I do pick something for the purge pile suddenly it become a FAVORITE toy. "OH PLEASE, I LOVE THAT nameless STUFFED ANIMAL"
I know if I could manage to eliminate everything but for 5 or 10 absolute favorites they would probably have a great time using their imagination with what they have, and we would all have an easier time with cleanup.
The same goes for my art supplies. Over the years I have had so many different creative projects I wanted to work on. I have dabbled in scrapbooking, quilting, crocheting, knitting, leather tooling, bookmaking, drawing, colored pencils, beadwork, cross stitch, and doll making to name a few. My studio still has most of the supplies for all of these different things. If I could get rid of everything except what I need for painting I would have so much more room both physically and mentally for the work I am currently doing. I could spend less time cleaning and more time creating.
Just like I need space in my studio to focus on what is important, I need more space in out lives to focus on what is important. All of the toys, activities, TV shows and clutter fill up our time and leave us with less time for each other.