Growing up, I remember mostly entertaining myself all day long outside creating “soups” in various vessels, climbing my favorite tree, and otherwise exploring the great outdoors. I remember times playing Beanie Babies with my brother or the occasional play date with a friend. I remember enjoying that time by myself but also loving going to a friend’s house. I don’t remember being entertained by adults, parents or our day care providers.
I think part of the difference is that I’m naturally more inclined to want alone time, much more of an introvert and you simply are wired to crave people time every minute of your life, waking and sleeping. I love that about you! I love that you love people so much. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t find it clashing with my need for alone time and to otherwise not have to be hands on with you.
Now-a-days I’m face with the daily struggle, since all of our day care kids but one no longer needed my care, to find the balance between spending time with you and spending time getting my work done while you play by yourself.
I know that it’s unrealistic for you to expect me to entertain you all day and that it’s actually not healthy for me to dictate your activities all day every day. It’s during free play that creativity is born and nurtured. I firmly believe it’s so valuable for you to play by yourself, but I always feel guilty.
What I don’t know is if the childhood I’m offering you makes you feel equal parts wholly loved and cherished but also capable and creative. What I do know is that free play breeds creativity, that I love spending time with you and that I need to get photography work and chores done during the day.
As for time spent with you, I love it and I love that it’s so obvious that you love it. I love when you cook with me. I love coming up with something to bake, just the two of us. I love having you join me in the garden or helping me with laundry. It’s so amazing and special that you truly love spending that time doing even the most mundane of chores alongside me, being such a sweet helper. I love setting up a tea party for you or helping you with a craft, and largely because you love these things so much. Out of all the things we do together my two very favorites are play a game, card or board game, and to read books and snuggle at bedtime.
In this season with you and your sister being so dependent and mommy-oriented I often finding myself wishing there was a script to follow in our every day that somehow met all your needs and wants that will shape you into the best version of yourselves but would also allow my needs to be met for me to be at my best. So far, the best I have is to take mornings for work and chores, by and large unless we have library or some other plans, and then to spend my afternoons doing something special with you and Penny. Granted my mornings are still severely interrupted and often times you two are on my lap or next to me coloring or otherwise participating in “work” of your own at my desk, but it works most of the time. Maybe this strategy is good enough and means I have figured it out, that I do have a good, healthy normal, but why do I still feel guilty every time I’m working? Why do I feel guilty turning you down for play any time even if the thing I’m working on is for you?
I pray you feel loved and cherished but also challenged and like every day you grow into an even better little person.
I love you always and forever,