Thursday, September 18, 2014

Family Time

I was listening to the radio during my drive to work this morning as they were talking about different families’ routines for supper. Working in retail for most of the years since I was married and started a family, I have missed most of our family’s meals. It’s not something I have appreciated as I feel like I’m missing out on so much while my girls are growing in leaps and bounds. Sometimes it seems like we’re just passing each other at various points during the day. It seems that I only get a few minutes in the morning during the mad rush to get out the door for work, school, and daycare. After returning home from work there is another brief window between walking in the door to putting the girls to bed. This is a cycle that I am excited to say we will be breaking in the very near future.
I will be starting a new position with a different company in a little over a week. There are many things about this that have me quite excited. It has the thrill of being in an industry I have never worked in before while still working in a role (customer service) that I enjoy and have a lot of experience with. The company values are phenomenal as is the attitude of all the employees I have yet had the pleasure to meet. (Normally I would have been concerned that this seemed too good to be true, but I have had the benefit of knowing the company and some of its employees for a number of years now.) The best part about this job for me is the schedule. I will actually get to eat supper with my family every weeknight AND spend the weekend with them! I think it’s a great first step and enjoying family time.

The second step is that I'm going to make the most of the time we have together. I’d like to think we’ve been doing that all along, but it could be a little hard to see most mornings and evenings. When you’re in a time crunch in the morning (with tired, groggy kids….and often parents) or enduring the nighttime battle of going to bed (often also with over-tired kids….and sometimes parents), it’s sometimes hard to hear the love between the screaming and crying. (It’s not always just me crying either.) I’ve learned a lot about valuing time with family this past year. It’s something I have even joked about in the past, but never really “worried” about too much in reality.

The joking part comes from my last few years living in Texas before I was married. I was living in Dallas when my parents moved from the Dallas area out to East Texas lake country (about 90 miles away). I would drive out there nearly every weekend to stay at their house and fish the local lakes. The funny part is that I ended up moving out to East Texas myself (5 miles from them) and then only seemed to see them for an hour or two every Sunday morning at church…and the occasional lunch afterwards. (Mom was always able to draw me in with her cooking.) Proximity can often end up being inversely related to how much actual time you spend with family. The thought is that they are just down the road and you’ll see them tomorrow. Then it’s suddenly next week and next month…

After moving up to Minnesota and being 1000+ miles away from my folks, I found myself calling home a lot more just to chat. I would often call during my lunch break and talk with mom until my lunch hour was over. I never made an intentional effort to make these lunchtime phone calls. It just turned into a routine we had and I am very glad it did. My mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Thanksgiving this past year and then passed away about 7 weeks later. I am thankful for all those phone calls over the previous years because it made it that much easier to deal with, and be thankful for, her very brief battle with cancer. We didn’t have to worry about finding closure as we talked 2-3 times per week.

Speaking of closure, have you told your family how much you love and value them lately? That is one thing that I have taken for granted. If you have never been in the situation before, here is the mindset: Think of a family member. You have 10 minutes to talk to them right now and then you have to leave. You know that you will never speak to them again because they will die shortly after you leave. What would you say to them? I’ve always thought I would somehow know what to say or how to say it, but it proved to be much harder than anticipated. My suggestion is that you write a letter today as if you will never see them again. Even better is being able to have that conversation with them on your own time schedule rather than being too late.

Well, I didn’t really intend to get so deep in this post, but I just kept going with the flow…like I usually do. I think my main thought is still intact. Value your time with family and make the most of it whenever you can. I am excited that my new work schedule will make the time factor easier. Now I just have to work on better expressing my feelings to my family. Friends, you’ll have to wait until I tell my family first. Until next time….