This morning, as we were leaving church after my fitness class, my three year old spotted the playground and excitedly asked, “Can I stay and play for a little while?”
Of course, my first inclination was to say no. I could think of a million things at home that needed to be done (laundry, sweeping, scrubbing, organizing, getting dinner in the crock pot, etc.).
But as I looked down at my bouncing girl with an eager smile spread across her face, I had another thought: Those things can wait.
Instead of bursting her bubble and crushing her three-year-old dreams, I answered, “Sure!”
With a squeal and a leap, she skipped the rest of the way to the playground, never letting go of my hand, dragging me along with her.
I sat on the bench and took out my cell phone. I asked her to take a quick pic with me so I could post about our morning activities on Facebook.
She obliged and quickly ran off to climb the metal ladders and slide down the plastic.
I posted our photo to my Facebook page and started checking my messages and notifications.
“Mom! Will you come swing me?”
Uggghhh. I’ve never been a fan of swings. My kids love them. I wouldn’t mind them so much if they didn’t require work out of me.
As bad as that sounds, I know I’m not the only mom who feels this way because I literally just had a convo with another mom who hates pushing her kid on the swing.
I put my phone away and headed to the swings.
I picked her up, got her situated, and began pushing.
Push. Push. Push.
As with any other time I push her on the swing, I reminded her, “Pump your legs. Up…now back…now up…now back…”
She was doing a pretty good job, but her timing was a bit off.
I decided to give her a visual aid.
I HOPPED ON THE SWING NEXT TO HER.
Little did I realize what an impact that decision would have on me.
I hadn’t been on a swing in…well, I don’t even know how long! Years. Many, many years. I think. I honestly can’t remember.
I just know it had been so long that I had forgotten how much fun it is!
I was just a-swinging, higher and higher, totally forgetting that I was supposed to be showing Ty how to pump her legs properly.
I was obviously pumping my legs much more effectively than her, because I looked over to her and she was dead still with her face frowning at the ground.
“I’m sorry baby! Do you need Mommy to give you another push?”
Her sad little eyes looked up at me and she shook her head yes.
I stopped pumping my legs to slow myself down.
I started dragging my feet too, but it was still taking what seemed like forever with my sad little girl waiting for me, so I did something crazy…
Thankfully, I landed on my feet and didn’t hurt anything, something I didn’t really think about until I was sailing through the air.
I made my way to Ty and began pushing her again, which I did for a few minutes until she grew tired of swinging and asked for me to stop her so she could go slide some more.
As I made my way back to the bench, she called for me to, “Come see this!”
She was sitting at a little picnic table under the playground.
“I found some shade!” she told me, looking so proud of herself.
I sat at the little picnic table and basked in her smile, all the while thinking, “I’m gonna miss this.”
I’m one of the few people I know who don’t send my kids to preschool. All 4 of my other children stayed home until they went to Pre-K when they were 4.
I have nothing wrong with preschool, it’s just never been practical for my family.
When Jules and Taylor were little, I couldn’t have afforded it, even if the hours would have been right. They both went to my sister’s house while Joe Daddy and I worked and went to college full-time.
While I could have squeezed it into our budget for Tristyn or Trinity, it would have been such a pain having to travel back and forth to drop everyone off and pick them up and different times.
To me, preschool equals more work. I have to worry about taking them, picking them up, making lunches, buying snacks, attending parties and special events, buying teacher gifts, volunteering, etc.
Sure, they’d go to school for 4 hours, but I’d only really get a little more than 3 hours to myself once you factor in commute time.
I’d have just enough time to go to the gym and either do some housework or a little shopping, but I’m able to do all of that now, without sending Ty away.
Would Ty love school? Definitely!
As content as she can be playing on her own at home, she enjoys going out and about and being around other people. She loves to learn and play and create.
Right now, she gets to go to child care at church when I go to the gym, several hours a week.
I try to make time to take her on play dates with our MOMS Club friends, and occasionally we have a friend over at the house.
She gets to hang out with her 2 year old cousin nearly every week.
She gets plenty of social interaction, while still spending the majority of her time at home with me.
She’s my baby. The last to leave the nest!
I can’t imagine letting her go yet. I just can’t.
But I can imagine enjoying this next year just a little more.
Playing with her a little more.
Letting some of the housework go a little more.
Swinging and jumping just a little more.
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