Tuesday, August 21, 2007

End of an Era

Well, it is finally upon me. The day has come when my son has made the choice I dread. Given the choice of "want to snuggle with mommy or get right in your crib?" His reply is "git in my kib." My days of rocking my son to sleep are very very limited. Now they will be based on his whims, and soon he will completely done with rocking.

I knew this day was coming. It came even earlier with my first snuggle bug. Jacob is going to be 3 on Saturday. Shannon was 2 when she began arching her back and pointing to her crib when I would sit down to rock her.

We always talk about how fast these days go, when our children are small. I have done my best to heed these words of wisdom and treasure every snuggle, every moment in a rocking chair with my child's head resting just below my shoulder. And still I find myself with tears in my eyes as I write this. In 9 days time my five year old daughter will be climbing on a school bus and going to all day Kindergarten.

I have always tried to keep a right perspective on raising children. It will occupy about 20 years of my life. If I live to be 80, that is only one quarter of my days spent focused upon raising my kids, and there are many other ways of living and being that God calls me to, in addition to being a parent. My true identity is found in Christ, and my identity as a mother is one aspect of who God has called me to be.

But no matter how much perspective I try to claim, there is no denying the special sacredness that comes with being a mother of young children.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Virtues of an Inflatable Pool

I have a confession to make: I am a swimming pool snob. I was raised in a planned community of dozens of housing developments, served by seven fabulous outdoor swimming pools. These were complete with concrete decks, chairs, bath houses, vending machines, and regular visits from the ice cream trucks. I spent my summers walking to one of the 2 pools nearest my home, and later bicycling to wherever my friends were meeting. I was playing in swimming pools that were all competitive length pools with diving boards, etc. One was even an Olympic length across. Later, as a teenager, I spent my summer life guarding and coaching a swim team.

I learned many valuable lessons from these summers and I have lots of very happy memories. I wouldn't change it.

But, this has also had a few negative consequences. One is that I have poor tolerance for a cloudy or poorly maintained swimming pool- public or private. The other is that I greatly prefer large, public sized pools to back yard pools, because in my mind, these are the only ones that are any fun. Isn't this awful? On top of this, I am serving in a county with no similar services. Even the YMCA has only an indoor pool.

So I have been adjusting to life without a swimming pool to which I am accustomed. And guess what I have discovered? The virtues of an inflatable back yard swimming pool.

As I write this, my children, ages 5 and 3, are playing happily and safely in an inflatable pool in my back yard. There are several advantages to this situation:
1. They can run all they want to and we don't have to tell them to stop
2. The water is nice and cold on a HOT summer day- it comes from our well and has not been sitting in the pool all summer
3. It is nice and clean- it 's easy to maintain without any chemicals!
4. I don't have to put on a bathing suit if I don't want to
5. If I do put on a suit, I don't have to be seen by anyone
6. The kids have fun jumping out of the pool, onto the swing set, and back again
7. The kids can leap and splash and not bother anyone else.
8. Inflatable = cheap (like $20 on sale cheap)
9. When the kids get tired, they can come right in, eat lunch, take a nap, whatever. And they get good and tired!
10. No real risk of drowning (slight, slight)... the adult on duty can do other things like hang out laundry or even sit in the AC and watch out the window.

So I say hooray for no access to a large swimming pool and the invention of the inflatable back yard pool. I think life really is a lot simpler than I let it be sometimes.