Tuesday, February 24, 2015

24 Hours

Six days out of school. Followed by a two-hour delay. Six days of pure, adulterated joy at being able to stay at home and go outside and play. No practices. No homework. No reminders. No responsibilities. No rush here, hurry up here, you only have X amount of minutes to do this before we have to be here or there or somewhere. Just play.

And when they left today for school, my heart followed them right out the door. I could see it trailing behind them, waves of love wafting back toward me.

College is going to be a nightmare.

After they left, I sat down at the computer to do my devotion, and my tab was still open to a website I had discovered only a day before. Lynn Cowell is devoted to leading teen girls to Christ, helping them find love and fulfillment in Him rather than the many distractions of this world.  Sometimes I think I could benefit from her books as much as a teen girl might.

When I saw the 10 conversation starters, I made a mental note to bring at least one of them up with my daughter, and maybe even my son. We could all improve our relationships on some level, no? And for me, the first thing to break down in my family is communication.

2015 Jan Conv day 1 SQUARE
So when we got in the car last night, I asked them both the same question: If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend it?


I mean, I don't think I was expecting some sort of revelation from either of them, but I was hoping to hear in their answers something that was important to them. So I tried to get the ball rolling.

"I think I might go horseback riding," I told them. 

"Oh," says the child from the backseat. "So it's your favorite things to do!"

"I don't know," says the child from the other backseat.


So I tried to explain that one might do things that they love, or things that are important to them, or spend time with people that they love the most, but they were totally stuck on the Favorite Things idea. Correction. MY Favorite Things idea.

"So all you'd do is go horseback riding? THAT'S the most important thing to you?" This from one of the BackSeat Children.


So I tried to explain again that one might forgive a grudge they'd been holding, or call up an old friend, or take a ride on a bull named Fu Manchu, like Tim. 

"I don't know." Again. From the BackSeat Twins. 

"Why 24 hours, mom? Why not 36 hours? Or 48 hours? Why 24?"

WHY? BackSeat Child? WHY?

Double sigh. Because when you're trying to start a conversation you hope will lead to something, and it's leading to why 24 hours to live, mom, one gets frustrated. And also incoherent, as one does not know what to say when her child asks why 24 hours, besides "OK, so 48. WHAT. WOULD. YOU. DO?"

"I don't know."

Followed by an entire conversation (everyone had a turn) asking questions using one syllable, and the two other responders could either say YES or NO (maybe was NOT an option, I was informed, but any parent will tell you that you never say yes or no to a question when you don't know what the question is, even if it is a hypothetical, one-syllable sentence), and then the question-asker would either say "you got it right!" or "hahahahaha mom, you said yes I could stay home from school FOREVER". This entertained some of us for the entire rest of our 17-minute trip to practice.

We are getting back in the swing of things--only thirty minutes before we have to leave! Do your homework! Eat a sandwich! Hurry, hurry, go, go! And it has occurred to me that yesterday's conversation wasn't a total bomb. So they didn't anwer exactly like I expected, but we had a blast--chatting and making nonsensical sentences and laughing--the entire time we were in the car. Directionally-pointed, intentional conversations are important and relevant, but so are silly, pointless, irrelevant, one-syllable, nonsensical ones. Both build up our relationship, strengthen our bond, and, as it were, make us sad to leave one another the next day. 

Sometimes when the hurry up part of life gives way to the soft, unscheduled part, it is all the sweeter to taste.

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