Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beginning from the middle

Yesterday, I was browsing on Amazon (a favorite time-suck pastime of mine) and came across an intrguing book.  If you could see my bookshelves and never-ending Kindle library you might question whether or not I need another book.  Let me answer that for you, I do.  I always need another book. I plan to single-handedly keep both print books and digital books in business for as long as I am alive. But I digress...

The book in question is cleverly titled, Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve Month Experiment To Rid Her House of Youth Entitlement. And I have to tell you that I was initially more captivated by the primary title than the subtitle.  I'm a big fan of having a clean house.  I don't even mind cleaning house because the end result is so satisfying. What I am not as big a fan of is being reminded of all the ways I am failing as a mother, how spoiled my kids are, and that in spite of a loving, attentive homelife, quality education and a strong moral upbringing my kids are destined to live in our basement, addicted to video games and living on a diet of Cheetos and Red Bulls all because I don't insist they make their beds on a daily basis or have an elaborate chore chart taped to the refrigerator door.

But, you know what they say about the unexamined life, right? I mean it just might be possible that I could do more to elevate my children's responsibilty quotient and thus raise the chances that my husband and I might actually one day know the bittersweet pleasure of an empty nest. My firstborn is poised to take his first steps out into the semi-real-world (aka, college) one year from now and I'd have to be delusional not to admit that he might be lacking in a handful or two of basic life skills. It can be easy (or lazy) to throw up your hands and think, "Aaack! It's too late! What's done is done! He's on his own!" But I looked again at the title of this book and thought, Hey, this mom made a difference in her kid's lives in just 12 months. Isn't it worth a shot? Shouldn't I do all that I can to arm my child with as much knowledge of the true drudgery responsibility of home and life management?

And won't he be THRILLED!! (In fact, imagining the glee this new program will inspire in my children became incentive enough to get started right away!)

The only problem is... I haven't bought the book yet. 

But on further examination I decided that as I look ahead to my firstborn's last year living at home full-time (god willing) it isn't just about teaching him how to clean a toilet and plan a meal that inspires me.  It's about making a commitment to make this year count.  And then making all of the years that follow count because, after all, there are two more baby birds in this nest coming along behind him.  All joking aside, these kids...this family, has been the greatest gift of my life and our time together under one roof is limited.  I have never taken them for granted but I also haven't always approached every single day with a sense of purpose.  I want to infuse this next year with purpose.  Whether it be making sure my children possess the necessary life skills to take them beyond our basement, or regular family meals at the dinner table, or prayers at bedtime, or laughing together over shared family memories.  Every day, lived with intention.

This is it. There is no time like the present.  Maybe I could have done more in the last 17 years to prepare these little chicks to fly, but going backwards isn't an option.

We start today.  Buckle your seatbelts kids, Mom's got a plan! (they are so excited...)

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